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Once & For All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work

Posts Tagged ‘Supervisory Skills’

Training Success Story – Positive Discipline

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Success in The WorkplaceThe Problem: A  healthcare facility with 3,300 employees was having a problem with “problem employees.” Supervisors needed powerful tools to provide more effective feedback and facilitate productive performance reviews, even when the going got tough.

The Solution: Positive Discipline— a workshop utilizing the CRM Learning video and accompanying materials –gave supervisors a solid foundation for formulating their own personalized, 30-day action plans for handling difficult situations and giving better performance evaluations.

The Success Story: Trainers wanted supervisors within the organization to be more confident in their abilities to conduct effective performance discussions and provide constructive discipline. The key was learning techniques to focus on the problem behaviors – not the personalities.

The hospital conducted 15 training sessions lasting three hours each. In the first phase, participants shared past stories of performance and discipline, and the characteristics of effective and not-so-effective feedback.

Then, the Positive Discipline video was shown. After a post-film debrief, each participant prepared for and conducted a performance discussion using techniques from the video. Finally, participants composed a 30-day action plan that detailed how each supervisor would put Positive Discipline techniques into action on the job. Students paired up with a buddy, who once the class was over and the 30-day plan enacted, would follow up to see how things were going.

“I’ve been involved in training for over 30 years and am very impressed with this film,’’ one training leader said. “It’s practical, up to date and very easy to follow. The accompanying role-playing activities make it easy for students to just ‘get it’ very quickly.’’

To learn more about Positive Discipline or watch the full program, visit: http://www.media-partners.com/performance_management/positive_discipline.htm

A Tricky Supervision Challenge

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

by: Laurie Weiss, Ph.D.

Many managers believe that treating their team members as responsible adults will assure excellent results. The truth is that while this usually is effective, some people need much firmer limits than others to perform their jobs.

Ellen, the manager of a rehabilitation hospital unit, was discussing her frustration in supervising one of her social workers. Ellen would much rather help Angelique be successful at her job than to fire her, but things have not been going well. “When I give her a direction, she says she understands, but then she acts as if she can do just as she pleases.” (more…)

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.

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.

Discussing Delegation – The Pros and Cons: Group Activity

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Let’s face it: some people hate to delegate and simply don’t trust others to get the work done. Rather than try to skip over these objections and teach people how to delegate, this activity acknowledges these fears and downsides of delegation and balances them against the vast benefits of delegation – to the delegator, the delegate AND the organization.

Objective: This group activity is a great way to uncover people’s fears about delegating while bringing to light its significant benefits. By seeing and discussing the pluses and minuses of delegation, participants open up to learning the right way to delegate (so they avoid the pitfalls).

1) Divide learners into two groups. Explain that each group will have a different assignment. Tell the learners that they need to reflect on their own delegation experiences in this activity. Ask them to identify one person in the group who will take notes and record the group’s comments.

2) Read these instructions to Group 1: “Please list the positive aspects of delegation—why it is important to you personally, the people you supervise, and to your organization. Be sure to look for benefits that can come from the delegation process.”

Read these instructions to Group 2: “Please list the negative aspects of delegation—why people are uncomfortable with delegating and being delegated to, potential risks and impacts for you and the organization, why results are sometimes unsuccessful, and the consequences of NOT delegating and trying to do it all yourself.”

3) Create a flipchart page that looks like this. (If you want, provide a few sample statements to get them started.)

Positive Aspects/Benefits of Delegation



You get more out of the people you hire.





Negative Aspects/Reasons for Disliking Delegation



It’s easier to do it myself.

4) Give the groups 10 minutes to complete their discussion. Have each group’s reporter come to the flipchart and list the aspects they identified.

5) Here are some of the answers you might see:

Positive Aspects of Delegation
• Employees and managers discover skills they were not aware of.
• Employees have a chance to succeed.
• You find staff who can take more of the workload in the future.
• People get to contribute.
• Presents an opportunity to share the credit.
• People learn by doing.
• Loyalty and trust are built

Negative Aspects of Delegation
• Micromanaging/hovering creates distrust.
• Employees can feel dumped on.
• Interferes with people’s ego—they don’t want to give up opportunities to receive accolades for completing tasks/ projects on their own.
• Creates situations where a person does all the work but has no authority.
• Other work needs to be put aside when person is delegated to; priorities get confused.

6) Engage the group in a comparison of the responses on the positive and negative sides of the flipchart. Ask some or all of the following questions.
• What impact does delegation have on relationships in the workplace?
• How are you affected as a leader? Are you overworked because you are afraid to delegate?
• How can you delegate smaller tasks without it looking like “dumping?”
• How are your people affected by delegation? Do they have opportunities to reach their potential? Are they developing skills and experience?
• Look at the negative statements—what would it be like to work in an environment where these behaviors and emotions are being expressed?
• How important is trust to the delegation process?

Following the activity, give participants tips on what it takes to be a successful delegator, lead them through a class on the topic or encourage them to do self-study in this area.

This material excerpted from the Facilitator’s Guide to the video program, A Leader’s Guide to Delegating.

Listening and Leadership

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Jim is six months into his job in a new division. To his surprise, he’s having difficulty leading his new group. He can’t pinpoint the reason for the friction between himself and several of his direct reports, and he’s frustrated that his group hasn’t jelled. Working with a coach, Jim learns that much of his trouble is tied to poor listening skills.

Many managers, like Jim, take for granted their ability to listen to others. Leaders are often surprised to find out that their peers, direct reports or bosses think they don’t listen. They are shocked when they learn that others see them as impatient, judgmental, arrogant or unaware. If not corrected, poor listening skills will translate into poor relationships and poor performance.

The impact of not listening well is far-reaching, according to Michael Hoppe, author of the recently-released guidebook Active Listening, from the Center for Creative Leadership. Assessments of thousands of leaders in CCL’s database indicate that many leaders fall short on abilities that directly relate to their listening skills, including:

  • Dealing with people’s feelings.
  • Accepting criticism well.
  • Trying to understand what other people think before making judgments about them.
  • Encouraging direct reports to share.
  • Using feedback to make necessary changes in their behavior.
  • Being open to the input of others.
  • Taking another’s perspective; imagining someone else’s point of view.

Colleagues, direct reports and others often describe poor listeners in unflattering ways: “He’s not really interested in what I have to say.” “She’s already made up her mind; why does she bother to ask our opinion?” “She doesn’t pay attention to what’s going on beneath the surface.” “He’s just really hard to talk to.”

Signs that a leader’s listening skills aren’t up to par include:
Driven to distraction. Multi-tasking is a liability when you need to listen and concentrate on what another person is trying to say. Do you sit behind your desk, accept phone calls, shuffle papers or otherwise communicate by your activities or gestures that you are not fully attentive?

Moving on. Whether pressed for time or just accustomed to moving through issues quickly, many leaders have a hard time concentrating on what is being said. Often they mentally shift to what comes next. How often do you think about your response rather than focusing on what the other person is saying?

Problem solving. Many leaders feel compelled to be the expert and offer a solution to a problem right away. Poor listeners give advice too soon. Do you suggest what should be done before the other person has fully explained his or her perspective?

Downplays feelings. Emotions are part of people’s work experience. Poor listeners dismiss other people’s feelings. They also miss out on important insights into what is going on among their employees. Do you tell people not to feel the way they do? Are you at a loss when another person expresses emotions?

Shuns silence. Many leaders make it a point to fill any silences, or they feel obligated to respond to every comment. These reactions cut short the other person’s time to think and react. Do you talk significantly more than the other person talks?

The Impact of Active Listening
Active listening is a set of techniques that help leaders to become more effective in working with direct reports, peers, customers, bosses, stakeholders and others. Leaders can use active listening techniques to:
• Hear accurately
• Understand
• Gather information
• Show respect
• Connect to others
• Question assumptions
• Find answers
• Weigh options
• Change perspectives
• Show appreciation
• Soothe or heal
• Set the stage for something else
• Build relationships

This article is adapted from Active Listening by Michael Hoppe (Center for Creative Leadership, 2006).


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