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Once & For All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work

Posts Tagged ‘Management & Supervision’

Motivation Insights for Managers

Friday, March 9th, 2012

All managers want to do a good job for their teams and their organization. They want to feel like they are making a difference and have the sense that others respect the contribution they are making. It’s no different for the people who report to them.

At its core, human motivation revolves around two important factors:
1. How people feel about themselves.
2. How they see others as feeling about them.

Don’t Assume Your Managers Are Addressing Problem Behavior: Free Activity

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

For most supervisors and managers, having to discipline employees is the worst part of their jobs. It is an uncomfortable process they would rather avoid. And unfortunately, many do avoid it, to everyone’s disadvantage: theirs, the organization’s and the employee’s. Or, some managers act emotionally when disciplinary problems arise. But either reaction creates more problems than it solves. (more…)

Avoiding Delegation Disaster

Monday, April 19th, 2010

When delegation isn’t done properly, there can be high costs to both the organization and the individuals involved. Don’t let that happen to you!

Ensuring a successful delegation requires that you fully define/analyze the task ahead of time and think about what will be required of the person to whom it’s assigned. Each of the following should be considered before assigning anything to anyone.

1. What is the task?
-Be sure you can be specific about the task and have all the information you need to help your “delegatee” succeed at it.
-Know why this project needs to be done and why you want to delegate it.
-Know any issues that will have to be analyzed or resolved before the task can be delegated.

2.When is it due?
-Have a specific deadline, and know the consequences of missing it.
-Know how the task might be affected by outside factors, such as upstream tasks that may fall behind schedule.

3.What resources are available?
-Know what supporting resources are available – personnel, documents, etc.
-Be aware of any budgetary constraints on the task.

4. What is the outcome or deliverable?
-What are you looking for as a result – a report, a presentation?
-Figure out how you will measure success.

5. Who is the best person for this task?
-Think about the specific skills and experience that will be required.
-Consider the attitude that will be needed.
-Look at your team – whose skills fit the bill? Who has have the right attitude?
-Once you’ve picked the person, determine if they need any additional training.

Use of these questions will greatly eliminate misunderstandings and misconceptions about the task to be performed and the expected outcomes.

Excerpted from the CRM Learning program, A Leader’s Guide to Delegating.

Need more help in this area? For detailed information on this crucial step in the delegation process (along with several others) we recommend the entire A Leader’s Guide to Delegating program which introduces and illustrates a highly effective five-step delegation model.

Training Success Story: Being Prepared When Conflict Happens

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The Need: A major manufacturer of large vehicles and equipment with over 7500 employees was looking for a conflict management module to train their managers and leaders. The training department saw a need for conflict management skills to be taught in the event that conflicts were to arise in the company.

The Solution: After previewing different programs, the company chose CRM Learning’s What to Do When Conflict Happens and implemented it into their management/leadership course. The trainer felt the video program provided them with exactly what they were looking for as it addresses conflict from different perspectives, both in office environments and on the shop floor.

The Success Story: All manufacturing management and team leaders will be required to complete the training. To date 70% of management has attended. The training is being done in a classroom environment, with discussion before and after the video is viewed. Discussions center around the topic of workplace conflict and how to spot and handle situations that may arise.

The trainer wrote his own curriculum for the class and uses the video and materials as a centerpiece to show examples of conflict situations and how to work through them. The training module that was developed includes several practical simulations where the potential for conflict is present. During the exercises, participants work together as a team to dispel and solve the conflict. The C.A.L.M. Model from the video is utilized as a tool and a solution for dispelling and resolving conflict when it happens.

The C.A.L.M model is a four-step process of: Clarify the situation, Address the problem, Listen to both sides and Manage your way to resolution. When used in this order, the C.A.L.M. model gives a process that is easy for everyone to understand and use to work through their disagreements.

Handouts of the C.A.L.M model are distributed for future reference. The managers and team leaders can refer back to them when they see a conflict arising on the floor or in the office. Participants are also to develop their own plan of how they will manage conflict resolution, and to follow up with individuals after they have had to step into a conflict situation.

In all, after they have gone through the training, managers and team leaders are giving more thought to the subject of conflict, how it occurs, how it can escalate, and how they can play their role as leaders in solving conflict between their team members.

Watch the trailer, full-length preview or learn more about What To Do When Conflict Happens.

Avoiding Problem-Solving Landmines

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Changing regulations. New technologies.  Budget cuts.  Let’s face it. Challenges abound in today’s workplace! There is a tremendous need for leaders to address these types of situations quickly. But the last thing you need is to rush off and make mistakes that could have been avoided. Here are five pitfalls and tips for getting around them.

Mistake 1) For the sake of speed and efficiency, take the “I’ll do it myself” approach to identifying a solution.  (Here’s where you tell yourself that involving a lot of people will just cause confusion or possibly create a scenario where people will get hurt because their input isn’t acted upon.)

Yes, when facilitated improperly, collaborative group sessions can end in chaos and hurt feelings. But, when you don’t involve others, you are missing an opportunity to engage your team, collect ideas from those closest to the problem and present team members with an opportunity to align themselves with organizational objectives. The key is to learn how to properly facilitate a collaborative session.  Remember, as a leader, it’s not your job to have all the answers, but it IS your job to develop and utilize the knowledge and talent of your team.

Mistake 2) Focus on who or what caused the problem so you can solve it once and for all.
  (This is when you act from the belief that the best way to make progress on solving a problem is to first go backward.)

Identifying the root-cause of a problem is sometimes necessary to solving it.  But most of the time it’s best not to stay mired in the past looking for who/what to blame.  Switching your team to a future focus can instantly change the tone of a meeting from cautious to cooperative.  As much as you can, avoid fixating on the things that aren’t working and use the group’s energy to identify things that are going well (…there is always something positive to build on, if you look hard enough).

Mistake 3) Assume that everyone shares the same understanding of what needs to be accomplished.  (Sad but true…group members often think they have the same destination in mind, but they end up arriving at different places.)

It is critically important to clarify the group’s goal by asking “what is our objective?”. Your team likely has people in different positions with vastly different perspectives on the situation. (For example, finance may think the objective is strictly to reduce expenses while fulfillment thinks it is to control costs while ensuring a sufficient inventory level.)  The diverse opinions and experiences of your team will work to your advantage only if you make sure everyone is using the same definition of success when it comes to the desired outcome.

Mistake 4) Get buy-in to the solution by reminding people what will happen if nothing is done.  (Okay, this isn’t a bad thing in and of itself; it’s only a mistake if you don’t ALSO cover the myriad benefits of finding a solution.)

When people don’t connect value to the achievement of a goal, motivation and execution suffer.  For maximum buy-in, have the group consider the benefits that will be realized by all stakeholders—customers, ownership, the organization as a whole, internal teams and departments and, lastly, the individuals themselves.

Mistake 5) Leave out the “accountability” piece.  (Don’t bother figuring out who’s doing what …just wing it!)

The best way to make sure people are truly part of the solution is to make sure they leave the meeting having committed to doing something. Detailed discussions should be had around questions like these: What steps must we take to reach the objective? Who will be doing what, and by when? How will we measure our progress?

For more on this topic: Preview 5 Questions Every Leader Must Ask, a video-based training program from CRM Learning. Based on the book “Leadership Made Simple” by Ed Oakley and Doug Krug, the program teaches a simple framework for facilitating a collaborative session and successfully engaging your team to address any workplace challenge (be it a problem or a new project). For more information on “Leadership Made Simple”, visit Enlightened Leadership Solutions.

Pygmalion Effect Training Activity

Monday, August 24th, 2009

It is a scientific fact that people perform, to a large degree, according to the expectations others have for them*. If deep down, a manager believes his or her subordinates are incompetent and irresponsible, the chances are good that the employees will act that way.  Conversely, if a manager treats employees as competent and responsible, the employees will generally live up to those expectations.

This exercise will give trainees an opportunity to explore various scenarios that might occur within a work environment.  Each scenario involves a manager and one or more employees.  Have the group divide into groups of two or three.  Each group should read some or all of the scenarios and explore the following issues relative to each one.

1)   Is the manager communicating high or low expectations to the employee by his/her behavior?
2)   How do you think the employee(s) will react to the manager’s behavior?  Choose several adjectives
that you believe describe this reaction (e.g., angry, motivated).
3)   If low expectations are being communicated by the manager in the scenario, answer this question:
If you were the manager in this scenario and wanted your employee(s) to respond in a positive
manner, what would you have done differently?
4)   If high expectations are being communicated by the manager in the scenario, discuss what
benefits might result. For the sake of contrast, pretend the manager in the scenario held low
expectations for the employee(s); what might that low-expectation manager have done in these
scenarios and what would the result be?

Scenario 1)
Jim is the production floor manager at Acme Cabinets.  He supervises over 100 assemblers who work on the company’s day shift assembling audio-visual cabinets.  He has noted a recent decline in productivity and an increase in error rate.  In order to improve performance, Jim has posted a chart in the lunchroom.  This chart contains the names of all the employees as well as their daily performance (by number of cabinets assembled) and their error rate (by number of mistakes).

Scenario 2)
Lynn is the director of a nonprofit organization that works with local children and teachers to build their arts education programs.  She has recently hired several individuals who previously worked as classroom teacher aides.  Her intent was to have them do clerical tasks for her professional staff.  However, one of the aides has shown an exceptional talent for painting and sculpture. Lynn has asked this aide to design a program that would introduce pre-school children to art and, in order to help train the aide, has enrolled her in a child development class at a local college.

Scenario 3)
Gina is the newly appointed Manager of Marketing Communications for a large corporation.  She is responsible for the activities of seven employees, all of whom have been with the company for several years and are experienced, creative and competent at their jobs.  In an effort to appear strong and managerial, Gina has “laid down the law” in her new department.  She has asked everyone to account for their time by project and to submit a weekly report of their activities.  In addition, she has installed a sign in/out board to keep track of employee breaks and lunch hours.

Scenario 4)
Jill recently returned to her job as Executive Assistant after two months of maternity leave.  Her boss, Susan, is thrilled to have Jill back because the temp assigned to cover for Jill left a lot to be desired.  However, in the past week, Susan has noticed that Jill is very tired and is spending a lot of time on personal calls.  While Jill’s work is getting done, and the quality hasn’t suffered, Susan voices her concerns.  Jill confesses that her babysitter isn’t working out and that the baby is keeping her up at night.  Susan explains that while she is sympathetic, it is important that Jill reduce the number of personal calls she is making and be more alert on the job.  She also asks Jill to take on the added responsibility of a special research project because “no one else in the company is capable of finishing it on time”.

*The “Pygmalion Effect” is a scientifically documented phenomenon explored in numerous studies, books and articles. For more information, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_Effect

Need help in this area? The Pygmalion Effect, one of CRM’s bestselling programs, provides an outstanding overview of self-fulfilling prophecies and teaches strategies for bringing out the best in people by communicating high expectations.

Ten Tips for Customer Service Supervisors

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

1.  Share stories of great service within your company, agency or location. Use bulletin boards, email or meetings—whatever you’ve got at your disposal.


2. Ask customers what they want! You can use surveys or focus groups to get feedback from customers directly OR ask employees what they’ve been hearing from customers in the way of wants, needs and desires.


3.  Look! Listen! Learn! Have employees actively check out what other organizations are doing –both good and  bad. (It’s especially great when you can have them observe what the competition is doing.)  Recognize or reward them when they bring forth observations your team can use to improve its service level.


4.  Regularly reward employees for giving great service. Small and inexpensive rewards can work well.  For example: movie tickets, coupons to leave work a half-hour early, a pass to park in the boss’s space for a week, etc.


5.  Post key customer service concepts in prominent places.  Add visuals and snappy phrases.  Post in the break room, cafeteria or on entry/exit doors.


6.  Ask employees to keep a lightbulb list nearby so they can jot down new ideas to improve customer service as they occur.  Reward and recognize employees whose ideas are implemented.


7.  Train employees by: providing brown bag lunch learning sessions where you bring in a guest speaker or motivational video; sending them offsite for a community college training course  or paying for them to take a course online; maintaining a lending library of self-study audio CDs, DVDs, books and periodicals.


8.  Job Rotation Day.  Designate one day a month when a number of employees cross-train and learn a little bit about somebody else’s job.  Draw names randomly so everyone gets a chance to do this over time.  This gives employees a chance to see the big picture of the workplace and gives employees who don’t typically interact with customers an opportunity to do so.


9.  Revolving Brainstorm Bulletin Board.  Set up a webpage or suggestion box for employees to bring forth customer service problems (anonymous is usually best). Post the problems and provide methods for other employees to propose possible solutions.


10.  Have fun at work!  Studies show happy employees are healthier and they give better service. Here are just a few ideas:


·         Awards – Create a rotating award relevant to your organization.  The awards can be funny or serious.  Once a month, give the award to a team member.

·         Decorate – Decorate the workplace for holidays or seasons.

·         No Reason Parties – Throw a little party for no reason at all.

·         Ice Cream Social – Walk around and hand out a selection of ice cream treats.  If your employees work on a retail floor, put them in the freezer for everyone to have on their break.

This material excerpted from the Leader’s Guides to the video programs Remember Me and Fun is Good.

Need more help in this area? CRM’s new video program, WAYMISH (Why Are You Making It So Hard…for me to give you my money), comes with a special video just for supervisors.  Find out why WAYMISH was voted a “Best Product 2009” by Training Media Review.

Leading Virtually – And Leading Virtual Teams

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Challenges abound for teams who are scattered across the globe – think how difficult it is to get together with teammates on a large corporate campus, for example, and then multiply that exponentially. Virtual teams include cultural, technological and interpersonal challenges that are unique, but not impossible to work around. From the leadingvirtually.com blog, this article focuses on the challenge of a virtual team with several sub-teams.


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