Boost Productivity in Tough Times By Getting Connected to Your People

“Watch your words: they become your thoughts.
Watch your thoughts: they become your actions.
Watch your actions: they become your habits.
Watch your habits: they become your destiny.”

Frank Outlaw

Personality tests not only help when hiring, they just might be a manager’s best tool to connect with employees.

You can manage the hard way or the easy way, the choice is up to you.  The hard way is to be the “my way or the highway” type of boss.  You know the kind, always forcing workers to do things in a way that isn’t natural for them. Wouldn’t it be better to use your understanding of personality traits to tap into the natural flow so you can get the best out of your people? Of course, knowing your employees, understanding their concerns, and developing connected relationships with them should be the normal procedure for all managers.

What is the payoff to a manager for developing connected relationships with employees using personality assessments? Here are three good benefits. First, it enables the manager to better anticipate what roadblocks might occur with a worker, and what to try to reduce this resistance. Second, understanding where employees are coming from will help you plan out how much participation you need from them, and will give some clues as to how change should be communicated to them. Third, building connected relationships builds commitment and loyalty.

Take The Connected Leader Test

How connected are you as a manager?  To find out, we asked our colleague Dr. Bruce Heller, an industrial psychologist with 20 years experience, to help us design a quick connected leader self test.  Once you answer the questions, we will provide you with specific tips and ideas that you can begin to implement immediately.  For most managers, leadership does not come naturally.  The tips we share will help you to become a better listener and a more connected leader.  Employee buy-in comes when a manager is able to listen attentively, understand their needs and concerns, and to lead using your natural style.

To read more about this topic and how to use in-depth work style and personality assessments during your selection process as well as gathering mentoring and coaching ideas, you can order our book, Cracking The Personality Code by visiting www.crackingthepersonalitycode.com.

To begin taking the connected leadership test, please click here.

To sum up, we all want to be understood. Employee buy-in comes when a manager is able to listen attentively, understand them as people and to lead naturally.

Dana Borowka

P.S. Discover the importance of personal style and fit when trying to hire top talent by taking our Hiring Methodology Assessment. After determining that the candidate can achieve the required results, you can then determine how you'll get along with them and whether they'll be a fit in your culture. Style and fit are two important elements to measure for a successful hire. Take the assessment and discover whether you're effectively measuring these two elements.

Making Successful Changes – Part 2

As we mentioned in part one of this article, change is very difficult no matter what we want to change. Now we will look at other components for making successful changes in our lives.

Taking small steps to change

Consider taking one small step that you can take to begin the change process. An old Chinese proverb says, “The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” Change is much easier and less scary when it is done in small steps. For example, to work on shyness, one might begin by saying hi to the neighbors or to the cashier at the supermarket and then work up to small, light conversations with others. They could then possibly build up to joining a club and participating in activities or committees. The key is taking small steps in change, rather than overwhelming, sweeping changes. A good example of small changes is when I wanted to get back into doing artwork, but froze when I sat down in front of the blank canvas. So, I started out with using crayons and letter-sized paper, and just making shapes and using different colors together. I told myself that the end result doesn’t matter (lessening expectations and self-judgment), and what was important was the experience of creation (refocusing on the true need). This made the process less intimidating so I could get back to something I loved so much. From those small steps, I moved on to using different materials and techniques while feeling more confident in my artistic abilities.

Slow change creates significant progress

Once you have discovered a good small step – put it into action. Depending on the severity of the problem, one may need to start out very slowly with the first step and repeat it a few times for significant progress to be made. For example, if one is very shy, the first step might be repeated once or twice a week, and work up to doing it daily until one feels more comfortable to move onto the second step.

Celebrate and record your progress

After each step, celebrate your small step even if you feel the result was not as you expected. Remember that when you first started learning something new, like riding a bike, you probably didn’t do it perfectly. It took patience, practice and perseverance. Celebrate your courage, the experience of change, and your desire to take care of yourself. It is important to celebrate and appreciate yourself when you are in the change process. Record your progress and achievements. This can instill a sense of accomplishment as well as help to identify any further trouble spots in your progress.

Support is a necessity

Most of all, support is crucial during change. Seek support and feedback from understanding friends and others. Find a friend who shares your goals so you can help each other in making changes. Recognize that change is very hard and scary. As I said previously, we are very demanding on ourselves. We expect ourselves to be perfect and handle everything with ease. In actuality, we are human. It is OK to struggle and to be afraid, as long as we don’t allow the fear or obstacles to block our progress. Give yourself support by challenging self-criticism, and telling yourself nurturing statements daily. Some examples of a nurturing statement are, “I appreciate myself for who I am” and “It’s OK to be imperfect.”

Fear of failure

Finally, a big obstacle for change is our natural fear of failure. There are two quotes that can give us perspective on failure. The first is, “Failure is never final! The only time you can’t afford to fail is the very last time you try. Failure does not mean we should give up; it just means we have a reason to start over.” (Don Shelby) The second, by Samuel Johnson, “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” We may get frustrated or disappointed, and yet, we need to venture on in spite of these obstacles. Change comes through with patience and determination to overcome the challenge that has confronted us.

Check to see if  your hiring methodology is in the zone of attracting top performers. Download our FREE Hiring Methodology Assessment Scorecard. CLICK HERE to get yours.

When was the last time you and your team assessed your culture? Take our Culture Quiz and see if all of your team describes your culture the same way. CLICK HERE to download the quiz.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for hiring top talent. Join our Hire and Retain Top Talent Group. There is a wealth of articles and discussions for you there. CLICK HERE to join.

 

Have you ever assessed the full and true costs of a bad hire? Few companies take the time to conduct this assessment. I think it could be that they are afraid of the results. If you can handle it, download our Cost Of A Bad Hire Worksheet. CLICK HERE and be sitting down when you complete the worksheet.  Having a respirator nearby is recommended.

 

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2010 The information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Author's Bio:

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, COO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC have over 25 years experience in the area of business and human behavioral consulting. They have been helping organizations both nationally and internationally in raising the hiring bar through using in-depth work style assessments.  They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They have built a well recognized organization that provides expert interpretation of in-depth work style assessments during the hiring process, providing a variety of workshops and assisting those with communication challenges. They are authors of the book, “Cracking the Personality Code”. To order the book, please go to www.crackingthepersonalitycode.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA  90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, workshops, and executive & employee coaching.

Making Successful Changes – Part 1

I’m sure you’ve had times in your life when making a change becomes a big challenge. Perhaps you want to change how you deal with certain situations or a part of your lifestyle like your diet with supplements from patriot power greens or exercise. Change is very difficult no matter what we want to change. We start out with good intentions then for one reason or another; we go back to the way we’ve always done something. So, how do we make changes that stick?

What is blocking change?

Well, the first piece of the puzzle is looking at what is blocking the change. Sometimes, we just want a problem to disappear, so we make changes as a “fix-it” solution. Fix-its are rarely good changes as they are usually based on unrealistic or unreasonable expectations of a situation or ourselves. Like those times, when we may have stopped eating altogether to lose some weight or took a vacation to fix a troubled relationship. First, it helps to take a realistic view of the situation to be changed and have an understanding of the limitations and strengths involved.

Understanding our limitations

For example, if you want to change a troubled relationship, whether family or work, one should have realistic expectations of both one’s self and those involved. It would be frustrating and unhealthy to expect to be able to change another person or control the relationship to make everyone happy. We can only change our own behavior and ourselves. It’s important to have a balanced perspective of the situation. We can’t expect to make magical changes or to ‘save’ those around us. At the same time, we should not try to underestimate our strengths and abilities. If you have trouble evaluating the situation, then be sure to get feedback from unbiased and supportive friends, counselors or clergy.

Finding our focus

Sometimes, we want to change something that is so big that we feel overwhelmed. So, we end up either trying to put band-aids on this big problem or give up altogether. It’s helpful to focus only on parts of the problem and take one piece at a time. For example, let’s say an individual doesn’t feel good about him or her self. If that person would try to change everything at once, he or she would probably give up. An alternative would be to pick one thing to change, like shyness, and focus on that first. However, whenever making changes in one’s self, please get a realistic viewpoint from others. We are often very demanding of ourselves and may try to change what doesn’t need changing at all. This violates our true self – our style and sense of being, because we deny who we are. Sometimes, the change we have to make is appreciating who we are and that is a big change!

What are my motives for change?

Once you have focused on to a specific and manageable problem, ask yourself some questions about it. Why do you want to change it? What about the situation do you want changed and why? What are you expecting to get out of this change? At this point, motives for the change need to be examined in depth to see if they are healthy reasons. For example, if you want to lose weight to please others or because you don’t like yourself, then there may be bigger issues at stake. Look at what is underneath the problem and ask yourself, “What is really bothering me about this situation?” These issues need to be looked at. Otherwise, the change would only be at the surface, and surface changes do not last very long nor solve the real problem.

Next week we will look at ways to make those changes we desire in our lives.

Check and see if  your hiring methodology is in the zone of attracting top performers. Download our FREE Hiring Methodology Assessment Scorecard. CLICK HERE to get yours.

When was the last time you and your team assessed your culture. Take our Culture Quiz and see if your team all describe the culture the same way. CLICK HERE to download the quiz.

LinkedIN is a powerful tool for hiring top talent. Join our Hire and Retain Top Talent Group. There is a wealth of articles and discussions for you there. CLICK HERE to join.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2010  This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Author's Bio:

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, COO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC have over 25 years experience in the area of business and human behavioral consulting. They have been helping organizations both nationally and internationally in raising the hiring bar through using in-depth work style assessments.  They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They have built a well recognized organization that provides expert interpretation of in-depth work style assessments during the hiring process, providing a variety of workshops and assisting those with communication challenges. They are authors of the book, “Cracking the Personality Code”. To order the book, please go to www.crackingthepersonalitycode.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA  90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, workshops, and executive & employee coaching.

Preparing Your Organization Now For The Recovery: How to Tap into Your Best Resource Part 2

“The glory of great men should always be measured by the means they have used to acquire it.” La Rochefoucauld

In part one, we focused on issues that come up with communication and we will delve further into this complex subject. We knew one organization that placed a very high performing accounting coordinator into a sales role. This person was very unhappy and ended up leaving the company. If they would have simply recognized the skills and desires of the individual, they would not have lost a top performer. If someone is a troubleshooter, let them troubleshoot. If someone is in need of a process then strive to provide that for them. If someone is very creative then tap into it; otherwise, they could feel unchallenged and bored. When we strive to understand people’s strengths and manage accordingly, we then set them up for success. Use the information you gathered during the interview process, reference checking, and an in-depth work style and personality assessment to gain deeper insight for how to effectively work together.

A Success Story

One final story. An organization with a customer service department was not meeting the volume level they had set for inbound calls. The manager blamed the reps and identified them as “C” players. Later, this manager was placed in a different department and a new manager was brought in. This person sat down with each individual and then with the whole group. The manager utilized information collected from in-depth work style and personality assessments of the team to understand the team members.

As a team, they discovered that within twenty-four hours of delivery, calls were coming in to inquire about the time of the delivery and additional questions about the product. The team brainstormed ideas of how to reduce the inbound questions so that they could take new order calls. Together they came up with a simple idea of providing updates to the customer regarding the delivery as well as creating an information page for the typical product/delivery questions. The call volume changed dramatically. The team members were later asked why these ideas had not been suggested in the past. The response was very simple—no one had ever asked them. They had been reprimanded for lack of performance rather then asking for their input in order to solve the problem. The results were improved productivity, performance, and job satisfaction, since they now had an environment that invited participation and teamwork.

Discover Your Leadership Style

To find out what your leadership style is, you can take a quick leadership assessment by clicking on this link:

http://www.crackingthepersonalitycode.com/LeadershipTest.php

It is a very helpful tool for managers, supervisors and team members to complete and discuss with their team.

Action Items

The following are some action items to consider:

  1. Contact Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to learn how you can use an in-depth work style and personality assessment for the hiring process, staff development, and personal growth (www.lighthouseconsulting.com).
  2. Utilize the information gathered from in-depth work style and personality assessments to manage more effectively. This will in turn reduce the learning curve for on-boarding and help to better understand the individuals that you work with.
  3. Place yourself and others in positions that take advantage of strengths to ensure success.
  4. Be clear with expectations, listen carefully and paraphrase when something seems to be an obstacle for the person.
  5. Take the time to mentor people to succeed through empathic understanding of how they might approach an opportunity or challenge, and work together to build a common bridge. You can learn more about in-depth work style and personality assessments and how to incorporate them into a hiring and staff development process for your organization by visiting our website, www.lighthouseconsulting.com. There you can sign up for our Keeping on Track publication that provides monthly proactive articles.

Is your hiring methodology designed to attract top talent. If you want to assess the quality of your hiring process download a free copy of our 8 Point Hiring Methodology Assessment Scorecard. CLICK HERE to download.

You should also join our Hiring and Retaining Top Talent group on Linkedin. There are many great articles and discussions on  hiring. CLICK HERE to join.

Author's Bio

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, COO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC have over 25 years experience in the area of business and human behavioral consulting. They have been helping organizations both nationally and internationally in raising the hiring bar through using in-depth work style assessments.  They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They have built a well recognized organization that provides expert interpretation of in-depth work style assessments during the hiring process, providing a variety of workshops and assisting those with communication challenges. They are authors of the book, “Cracking the Personality Code”. To order the book, please go to www.crackingthepersonalitycode.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA  90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth personality assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, conflict management, workshops, and executive & employee coaching.

Preparing Your Organization Now For The Recovery: How to Tap into Your Best Resource Part 1

“The glory of great men should always be measured by the means they have used to acquire it.” La Rochefoucauld

Communication has come so far over the years. In less than a split second, we can send emails to thirty different people around the world and everyone will receive the same data. Yet the most difficult challenge that can cost organizations thousands if not millions of dollars is still miscommunication in interpersonal exchanges. It’s amazing that this one area has not changed in thousands of years. One could say to a group, “Think of a whale.” Everyone in the room will have a different vision of a whale in their mind’s eye. Similarly, the occasion for a misunderstanding can occur easily when someone is sharing an idea or giving an assignment.

A lack of loyalty and connection to an organization can develop if people feel misunderstood or not valued. This can result in turnover and the loss of top talent. We are often contacted by individuals who have graduated from top schools, have a good job history, and are looking for career guidance. When they are asked why they are looking to leave their current position, we usually hear that they do not feel valued, engaged, or appreciated. They are typically high-level performers, and the loss to their employers is costly. If organizations take time to simply manage individuals according to their needs rather than just treating them like a mechanical part, then these star performers probably would not have the need to look for other opportunities.

Each of us is a valuable part of the whole, and we need to develop an empathic company culture in order to open lines of communication for creative contribution. That leads to engagement of ideas and respect so individuals feel that they can participate in a vision. Developing a supportive environment that encourages mentoring will create opportunities for knowledge to be shared with the various generations. Additionally, this provides a creative foundation for new and exciting processes, products, and services.

Cracking the Interpersonal Communication Code

But where to begin? How do we crack the interpersonal communication code? First, include others on your team or in your department in the discussion and ask the following questions:

  • What is an area of your interpersonal communication that is not working as well as you would like?
  • Have you seen this come up before? Give an example.
  • What would the ideal outcome look like?
  • What are you doing that is not working?
  • What are you doing that is working?

Next, analyze the answers and look for patterns. Now you can start to develop an action plan. Be sure to utilize information from an in-depth work style and personality assessment as described in Chapter 5 that provides the eight ways to gain true insight into personality. This knowledge will illuminate a more effective way to communicate, encourage greater engagement of individuals, and contribute to creating respect, loyalty, and appreciation. The end results: enhanced retention, performance, and positive word of mouth for attracting top talent.

Over the next 10 to 30 years, finding qualified people is going to get more difficult with a predominantly maturing population. Retention of top people will be more important than ever, and positioning your organization for recruitment purposes is vital. People talk and reputations get developed very quickly through the Internet and word of mouth. How your organization communicates within itself is a good indication of how it communicates to the outside world. Putting people in the “right” position will lead to greater job satisfaction and success.

Is your hiring methodology designed to attract top talent. If you want to assess the quality of your hiring process download a free copy of our 8 Point Hiring Methodology Assessment Scorecard. CLICK HERE to download.

You should also join our Hiring and Retaining Top Talent group on Linkedin. There are many great articles and discussions on  hiring. CLICK HERE to join.

 

Author's Bio

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, COO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC have over 25 years experience in the area of business and human behavioral consulting. They have been helping organizations both nationally and internationally in raising the hiring bar through using in-depth work style assessments.  They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They have built a well recognized organization that provides expert interpretation of in-depth work style assessments during the hiring process, providing a variety of workshops and assisting those with communication challenges. They are authors of the book, “Cracking the Personality Code”. To order the book, please go to www.crackingthepersonalitycode.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA  90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth personality assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, conflict management, workshops, and executive & employee coaching.