Posts Tagged employee passion

3 Tips to Encourage Collaboration

Many of the people I know who work in the public sector were drawn to their jobs by a desire to serve, to make a difference in their community or the country. After landing that first desk job though, I have also seen them lose their drive. If you’ve ever done it, you know, sitting in a cubicle day after day, surrounded by endless paperwork and coworkers who checked out years ago is anything but fun.

Getting stuck in a routine is a hazard of many desk jobs. Being around complacency is often contagious. But you don’t have to catch it and you can help build an environment that is invigorating rather than draining.

  1. Spend time innovating – It will not always be successful but actively spending time thinking about how to improve a processes, offer a better experience to customers, or solve a problem is important. It is not only useful but can be invigorating. You won’t always find a solution but working on problems and processes will keep you and your team focused on a positive future.
  2. Make time to move around – Get up, take a walk, talk to neighbors, or go to someone else’s workspace to ask a question instead of calling. A change of scenery, however small is important. You never know what you’ll learn when you get out of your regular space.
  3. Remind your team to engage their customer – Even if the only customer is internal, make a point to check in and ask if there is anything they would like to see change. It’s easy to operate with blinders on; you can’t always see how others are impacted by your habits and processes. If you and your team make a habit of asking for and responding to feedback you will learn a lot about how others work and what they really need.

Being motivated about work is not about the financial reward but the emotional reward when you experience success and satisfaction from making a meaningful and positive impact. Mixing up the routine and interacting will help create a collaborative environment. Team members can draw on the unique experiences they have which makes everyone stronger. One of my favorite sayings around the office is: “None of us is as smart as all of us”. It is the theme of High Five by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles that explains “the magic of working together”.

How do you keep your team excited about their work?  Is there something you do regularly to remind yourself why you love your job?

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Dealing with a Bully at Work? Four Tips to Take Back the Power

bullyHave you ever been bullied? Have you supervised a team that included a bully? Though they sometimes go by other names, I have known my share of bullies and have struggled to deal with them at different times in my life. It doesn’t really matter if the bully is part of a little league soft ball team, a fellow student or a boss or co-worker. If you have a bully on your hands they probably will not just go away.

Repeated encounters with a bully can leave one feeling powerless, frustrated, and exhausted. At work, the consequences of dealing with a bully can include stolen credit for effort and ideas, loss of passion for the work or even a job. Government employees face an additional challenge because when someone does not fit into a team there are often limited alternatives.  No one likes to deal with a bully and while it is challenging, it is necessary to find a way to start a conversation and build a positive relationship.

The bully may be the aggressor but the target of a bully does have the power to make some changes:

  1. Draw up some solid boundaries to protect yourself. – We surround ourselves with family and friends who understand us best. We show them the closest version of our true self because we trust them. This is your inner circle and you should let them know you are struggling. Be honest and be sure they know that you may need a sympathetic ear but you should not expect them to solve your problem for you. You should rely on them to offer moral support. Ask them to remind you of your talents; build your confidence and you can wear it like armor.
  2. Recognize and own your feelings. – We each live in a reality that is uniquely ours. A combination of personality, past experience, emotional intelligence and learned behaviors make up our feelings and how we deal with them. I think of feelings as the layer of colored glass through which we each see the world. If you can separate your feelings from the situation, working toward a solution will become much easier.
  3. Open a dialogue that does not include accusations. – Sometimes a person who is behaving like a bully may not realize how they are being perceived or how they impact you. Remember, you want to find a way to work with the person, not around them; you want to solve the problem. It may feel like a big risk but if you don’t take the first step nothing can change. Talk about what you want from the relationship and how you would like to make a positive change in order to move forward.
  4. Don’t wait. – Bad news only spoils with age. Approaching someone to address a strained relationship will not get easier over time either. If you are not prepared to speak directly to the bully, approach your supervisor and ask for help as soon as you realize there is a problem.

Some people do not grow out of bullying behavior as adults. If you are impacted by their behavior and don’t let them know it, they may never get the chance to change. Addressing the issue can be difficult but the reward for taking that chance could be the working environment you have always wanted.

How have you dealt with bullies at your agency?

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Creating Positive Work Environments

This week marks the 27th year of celebrating Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). Although we should recognize our public service officials everyday of the year, this week gives everyone the opportunity to honor and celebrate those that give of themselves on our behalf. The goals of PSRW include educating citizens of the work going on within the government, enriching the perception and morale of all public servants, and encouraging the next generation of government employees. Celebrations and other appreciation ideas include employee recognition activities, community and education outreach, private sector partnerships, media events, and other online resources.

The idea of a recognition week is not a new one. There are numerous programs that recognize individuals both on and off the job. Incentives like Employee of the Month, top producer awards, and sales incentive trips provide employees with a sense of motivation knowing that the work they do and efforts they make are appreciated by the organization. Culture is also a key factor in providing an empowering environment for people. Organizational culture makes up the values, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and practices of the company.

Chris Edmonds and Lisa Zigarmi, authors of #Positivity at Work, understand the importance of a positive work environment. In their book, they share how positive workplaces drive employee work passion, which drives customer devotion, which drives organizational success and vitality. If organizations focus mainly on profit, they miss the opportunity to provide employees with the means to achieve well-being. Enabling positivity, incentives, and empowerment is not simple. Healthy work cultures happen by design, not default. Each member of the organization is responsible for creating a positive environment. After all, we spend more time weekly with co-workers than with our family and friends. Positive workplaces enable life-long service, joy, and success.

How are you influencing the positive environment in your workplace?

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A Light at the End of the SES Tunnel

Senior Executive Service employees have had several changes take place regarding their roles and responsibilities over the past year but a recent memo delivered to the organization may be music to some folk’s ears. Senior Executives have been tasked with identifying poor –performing programs, eliminate some of the reporting requirements placed on agencies and maintain new requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act, all while seeing smaller pay raises. A recent study by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) found SES members received an average 2.7 percent increase in pay, the lowest in the five years since a pay-for performance system began.

When people are empowered, their organizations benefit.

All this may push someone to throw in the towel. However, good news came in the form of a memo to SES members on Friday from Jeff Zients, Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director for Management and John Berry, Office of Personnel Management Director outlining proposals developed by the President’s Management Council to streamline the performance appraisal process and certification system, boost recruitment for SES jobs and improve executive engagement and career development opportunities.

Key initiatives include:

• Stronger links between employee appraisal systems and agency performance goals, as well as improved personnel performance planning, assessment and recognition.

• More engagement of senior agency leaders in SES issues through coordination with the PMC, the Chief Human Capital Officers Council and the Performance Improvement Council, along with agency-specific SES forums.

• Additional opportunities for SES career development, including a one-year onboarding program for new executives; government wide leadership development curricula and events; networking programs; and a pilot project offering rotational opportunities for upper-level GS employees.

• Improved recruitment for SES jobs through a resume-based hiring pilot project, external talent searches and a cross-agency effort to market and recruit for open positions.

Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executive Association was very happy with the efforts of the organization to collaborate with the government on improving opportunities for SES employees. Such opportunities can increase employee passion and dedication to the organization. Scott Blanchard and Drea Zigarmi of the Ken Blanchard Companies conducted a study on what kind of leadership has the greatest impact on performance. The team discovered that employee success included things like employee satisfaction, employee loyalty, employee productivity, perceptions of one’s relationship with his or her manger and the team environment, and more tangible measures, like absenteeism, tardiness, and vandalism.

What are other positive results that can be created from this opportunity?

Find out what Blanchard believes are the 8 factors that lead to employee passion.

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Stand By Your Agency

I just read an interesting discussion string on GovLoop about government employees’ thoughts about what their agency can do to help offset the pay freeze.  Last month, Obama announced a freeze on pay increases for the next two years.  This pay freeze will apply to all civilian workers including Defense Department employees, excluding military personnel.  The topic spurred some excellent responses about the pay freeze.  A few suggestions that were made include telework, tuition reimbursement, flexible work schedules, and permitting federal employees to work a second job to bring in extra income.

Praising is the most powerful activity a manager can do.

An event such as this is never easy on employees whether it is in the public or private sector.   However, after living through a pay cut and pay freeze at my own company, I now understand and appreciate why adjustments in pay must take place from time to time.  Don’t get me wrong, I was not very understanding from the get-go.  My thoughts and feelings solely revolved around myself and how I was going to cope with the looming pay cut.  It was when executives in the company opened up and shared with us truly why the changes needed to take place that I had a change of heart and stood behind the decision.  It didn’t come without some adjustments in my budget but I figured it out and made it work.

A decrease in morale usually comes along with a decrease in pay. Agencies can help maintain and boost morale by offering other incentives that don’t hit the budget.  Alan Weiss, president of Summit Consulting Group, Inc., rewards his employees’ efforts as well as their successes. “Even if their ideas sometimes fail, you want employees to keep producing them,” says Weiss.  “When I consulted with the CEO of Calgon, we created an annual award for ‘the best idea that didn’t work’ and presented a loving cup at the annual awards dinner.  This stimulated innovation as positive behavior, not ‘winning.’”

Although compensation is very important to most people, surprisingly money is not always the biggest motivator.  In fact, research from Daniel Pink as well as employee passion research from The Ken Blanchard Companies shows that intrinsic motivation is actually more important than compensation.  Why people want to do a good job, why they chose their line of work, how they feel connected to a greater purpose – these are all part of what defines intrinsic motivation for people.  

To help tap into the intrinsic motivation of people, stay connected and know what’s in their hearts and minds.  Make sure they know that you see them doing a good job.  That is the message in the book, The One Minute Manager, written by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.  Blanchard believes that if you catch people doing something right and immediately praise or reward them for it, they will feel good about themselves and they will do even more things right.  This action will lead to people feeling good about the organization and the people they work with.  They will want to company to succeed because they know in turn, they will succeed.

What thoughts or ideas do you have on how management can boost and maintain morale during a pay freeze?

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