Producing Quality Teams through Needs Based Motivational Philosophy

Featured

Many of us recall the 1993 movie Schindler’s List. Liam Neeson stars as the CEO who ends the movie in a harrowing scene when he movingly portrays a man full of regret that he couldn’t save even more Jews than he already had during the holocaust by providing jobs for them to perform. Neeson had went well beyond most of his contemporaries to protect the Jewish people from the gas chamber. Although the example is extreme, leaders can improve team member’s performance dramatically by employing Schindler’s real life attitude toward employees when combining it with the pioneering research done by Abraham Maslow.
Applying Maslow’s Needs-based Motivational Theory to Team Members

Typically, leaders seek to produce team members that identify with the team relationally. This produces cohesion on the team and makes for a productive work environment. Leaders also seek employees whose desire includes successfully competing in the marketplace in a way that meets their esteem needs. That way the team member is always seeking to better his performance which in turn also serves the company’s goals as well. The two issues we just discussed, belongingness needs and esteem needs, are actually needs listed in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs depicted in the image above.

Maslow taught that needs are usually met in a sequential order. In the triangle above these sequence reads from left to right and bottom to top in the following sequential order:

I. Security
II. Belongingness
III. Esteem
IV. Self-Actualization

The problem leaders often find themselves struggling with is trying to meet the team members esteem needs without considering security and belongingness needs.

Meeting Lower Order Needs First
In actuality, Maslow’s first need was that an individual must have met their physiological needs met first much like the real life Schindler was providing for the Jews he was harboring. Having omitted that need here for our purposes, Maslow’s first need of the provision of sustenance still serves to illustrate the concept of providing for lower needs first. It would be nonsensical to work with our employees on esteem needs while they haven’t been paid for three weeks and are coming to work hungry.

More practically speaking we often seek the employee’s best effort at the belongingness and esteem needs in the hierarchy before we address his or her need for security. While the employee is insecure about his duties or uncomfortable in his or her relationship with the other team members, we too often seek to employ interventions that are designed to pull the employee into meeting the higher order need of esteem first. By neglecting the lower needs that come before esteem needs we could be employing a strategy that creates a mismatch between the leaders motivation and the team member’s. This often results in a failure to communicate between the team leader and team member and equates to a poor result.

Meeting Security Needs First
By asking questions related to a team member’s comfort level you could assess whether or not the employee feels secure about their job duties or some other aspect related to the work they are doing. A new team member may be anxious about being accepted by the team while an employee with more seniority may be fretting about updating his skills or an upcoming restructuring and needs reassurance. Interventions can then be addressed to meeting these needs with the goal of leading them to the next level in Maslow’s hierarchy, belongingness.

Meeting Belongingness Needs Second
After a foundational base of personal trust has been established within the team member’s situational surroundings as evidenced by a consistent level of self-efficacy, belongingness needs can be assessed. These are basically social needs that represent varying degree of requirements by both the individual and the company. By proactively addressing these issues the leader can go a long way toward preventing struggles between team members that often devour a fair amount of productive time. At the same time the leader is developing an individual on his team to play a stronger role in his position by simply hearing her out and acting as a co-developer with the employee in developing strategies to deal the issues identified.

By helping the individual team member meet the needs of individual security and social belongingness, the team leader builds a much stronger position to address the team member on an ongoing basis to continue improving his or her performance. This stands in stark contrast to building on an otherwise faulty understanding of how to motivate a team member by assuming team member needs match the team leader’s.

References

Sandri, G., & Bowen, R. (2011). Meeting employee requirements: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is still a reliable guide to motivating staff. Industrial Engineer, 43(10), 44048. Retrieved from http://ehis.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.usf.edu

Schindler’s list. (n.d.). In IMDb. Retrieved October 27, 2012, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108052/

Matching Leadership Behaviours and Team Development

Featured

 

(Photo Credit : MC Mathew on GoPro by Stereovision India)

 

It’s hard to overestimate the impact team leaders have on their group. Not only are the team leaders responsible for running day-to-day operations that support the team, they must also facilitate the team’s emotional growth. Within their relational task, leaders are to facilitate functional relationships that promote the attainment of goals in a highly personal and often pressurized environment. To accomplish this feat successfully team leaders must act within the context of their team’s social development and apply management techniques according the stage of development the team finds themselves in.

 

By reconsidering the stages of group development by Tuckman (1965) alongside the project manager’s behavioral roles by Adams and Anantatmula (2010), this article will help you recognize the four stages of group development as well as the leadership behaviors necessary to apply the right interventions at the right time.

 Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing: An Overview

With practice and experience leaders are able to understand their team member’s behavior and tailor their interventions to individual situations. What is more difficult is adding another layer of analysis by managing the team member within the context of the group’s developmental stage. By understanding the stages below you will be one step closer to promoting behaviors of team members that better serve the team as a whole.

Forming is the first stage of Tuckman’s, (1965) model typified by polite conversation and low trust. The group also makes decisions about whether to accept or reject potential leaders who display negative behaviors. This is also known as the testing stage where foundations are being laid as to how the group will operate emotionally. This process leads into the storming stage.

The storming stage is marked by emerging leaders struggling for control while team members struggle with the ensuing conflicts. In the process, alliances will form that serve as a critical part of the group’s ongoing structure.

The norming stage is where the group begins operating as a team as some form of unity has been achieved during the storming stage.

The performing stage is active when group members are playing healthy roles and interdependently relying on one another to achieve goals. The unit has become more than a sum of its parts and is working at an optima level completing projects and meeting goals.

One of the differences between healthy groups and dysfunctional groups is that the healthy group has been led successfully through these stages. This does not happen by accident but through a contextual understanding of where the team is at developmentally. Then leaders can proceed with effective interventions with the entire team in mind.

Matching Leadership Behaviors With Team Stage

Adams and Anantatmula, (2010) demonstrate that the timing of appropriate interventions is the critical factor to keep teams moving though their developmental stages successfully. Below is a summary of these concepts that you can practice to keep your team advancing toward the performing stage.

During the forming stage the development of the individual group member is the key role of the leader. Expectations are communicated on a one on one basis and healthy boundaries are created. The leader is firm in setting social boundaries and behavioral rules. A highly directive approach is necessary.

The leader addresses negative behaviors during the storming stage that typically result from power struggles. They also watch for members who are withdrawing from the team due the turmoil and keep them actively engaged. Matching social skills with meaningful tasks that are appropriate according to a particular member’s skills is helpful during this stage. A highly directive approach is necessary.

In the norming stage the leader plays more of a support role as they encourage relationships among team members by promoting activities that draw people together. Negative emotions are frowned upon while positive people are rewarded. A supportive approach is the key ingredient here.

In the performing stage a team leader’s role should be more maintenance oriented than anything else. By tracking the team’s performance and keeping missional objectives at the forefront, the team leader can promote creativity and allow the team the freedom to continue developing without a lot of intervention. As the team becomes self-managed a highly supportive stance can be maintained.

By understanding the developmental context of the Tuckman’s four stages, leaders are able to tailor their management skills to not only a particular team member, but also for the team as a whole in a timely way (Adams and Anantatmula, 2010). Framing decisions about interventions within these contexts can prevent the team leader from apply the right interventions at the wrong time.

 

References

 

Adams, S., & Anantatmula, V. (2010). Social and behavioral influences on team process. Project Management Journal, 41(4), 89-98. doi:10.1002/pmj.20192

 

Tuckman, B. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63(6), 384-399. Retrieved from http://sfx.fcla.edu.ezproxy.lib.usf.edu/usf?url_ver=Z39.88-2004;url_ctx_fmt=infofi%2Ffmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Actx;ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8;ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004;rfr_id=info%3Asid%2Fsfxit.com%3Aazlist;s

 

 

 

Managing Motivation in Turbulent Times

Featured

Motivation -- that way

In these times of economic uncertainties, keeping employees motivated is a big challenge for both managers and HR professionals. Employee motivation has gained new significance in the current business scenarios of economic recession, layoffs and cost cutting.

UNDERSTANDING MOTIVATION

In an organizational context, employee motivation can be defined as the desire to accomplish organizational goals through optimal use of efforts and resources at hand. A highly motivated workforce is the biggest asset of an organization. They are perfectly committed to the organizational vision and use their full energy to achieve the same.

A successful manager is one who is able to inspire his team to perform effectively. Managers have to understand that the motivational need of each individual varies and they have to adopt a different approach for creating a fully energized team.

MOTIVATIONAL THEORIES IN PRACTICE

Though there are several motivational theories but for the purpose of our discussion we will focus on two of those – McClelland Theory of Needs and Vroom’s Expectancy Theory. Further reading will help you understand each of these theories and how they are applied in the workplace.

McClelland Theory of Needs states that there are three needs which motivate a person. These are the needs for achievement, affiliation and power. Affiliation is the need to be liked and accepted by the team members. The individuals who need affiliation work best in team with high interpersonal interactions. Achievement is the need to excel and achieve the set goals. The individual with achievement need are motivated by challenging work assignments. They are best to deliver on hard goals which make them struggle to an extent. Power is the desire to be influential and in control of others. Such individuals are best motivated by being given a position where they can lead others.

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory emphasize on outcomes rather than needs of individuals. According to this theory, motivation is linked to efforts and performance. This theory proposes that motivation is based upon three variables – valence, expectancy and instrumentality. Valence is defined as the value an employee attaches to the outcome or rewards of his efforts. These rewards can be either intrinsic or extrinsic.  Extrinsic rewards include money, promotion, appreciation and perks/benefits. Expectancy is defined as the belief of a person whether he will be able to attain the desired performance. Instrumentality is defined as the perception of employees whether they will actually receive the promised rewards. Following are the implications of this theory:

  • Ø The Reward & Recognition (R&R) program should be closely tied to the performance metric
  • Ø Employees should be provided requisite training to enhance their capabilities and skills
  • Ø The R&R program should be perceived as fair and transparent

SEVEN EFFECTIVE MOTIVATIONAL TECHNIQUES

  1. Monetary benefits and financial gains are believed to be the biggest motivator. However many managers presume it to be the only source of motivation. Monetary benefits should be used as a motivating tool coupled with any of the below techniques to deliver significant results.
  2. Recognition and few words of appreciation have the power to deliver motivation which thousands of dollars might not be able to do.
  3. Constant communication with the team members is a key enabler for driving higher motivation levels. Keeping employees informed about any changes, newer strategies and processes ensures that they feel themselves to be a part of larger group.
  4. Higher engagement levels through one-to-one meetings, individualized feedbacks and shared decision making,  in a team help to make employees appreciate their role in the team and also improve opportunities for peer learning, which can definitely act as a big motivator.
  5. Training and learning opportunities help in keeping employees skills set updated and frequent action on their individual development needs. This certainly leads to more productive and committed workforce
  6. Clear career development plans and visibility on what ones manager has planned for the employee’s career progression makes them to strive for better results and putting in extra efforts. Upward mobility and promotions are more important as compared to financial rewards for some individuals.
  7. Challenging assignments, cross-functional responsibilities and leadership roles have been found to be big motivators for career-oriented people in the organization.

 

None of the above techniques would be effective if it is driven merely as a HR focus area. Line managers need to work in tandem with HR function to ensure high motivation levels for the team. While the onus for delivering results lies with the employees, providing a stimulating environment is the responsibility of the manager. The line manager needs to observe, assimilate and identify each individual’s sources of motivations and accordingly work towards driving higher motivation levels in the team.  A highly motivated team acts like a fuel to accelerate organization’s growth by ensuring employee retention, enhanced productivity and willingness to go the extra mile.

Fostering Team Creativity

Creativity

The fast changing business environment is forcing organizations to continuously evolve and innovate. Cutting costs and lean management are no longer the solution to stay ahead of competition. Something different and fresh is the need of the hour – Fostering Team Creativity. The aim of this article is to provide practical insights into the much desired but lesser known topic of creativity.

WHAT IS CREATIVITY?

Creativity is defined as the ability to generate new ideas that challenge status quo and aid problem solving or open up new possibilities. Team creativity, also known as group or collective creativity, is not just the aggregate sum of individual creativity of the team members but it is a synergized result of their interactions and shared commitments. Individual creativity acts as the raw material which is processed and molded by the team climate into collective creativity.

CREATIVITY VS INNOVATION

According to Theodore Levitt, creativity is thinking up new things while innovation is doing new things. Simply put, Creativity = Idea, and, Innovation = Idea + Action.

This means that every creative thought or idea cannot be innovative. Only an idea that can be put to a meaningful use is called innovative. But all successful innovations stem from a creative idea.

FACTORS THAT PROMOTE TEAM CREATIVITY

Just as both soil and seed play important role in the growth of a plant, similarly, both intra-individual and organizational climate factors influence the creativity levels of the team. Some of the factors that promote creativity are listed below:

  • Competent Team Members: Each individual in the team should have the relevant domain expertise, creative thinking skills and intrinsic task motivation. Therefore when selecting the members for a team one should focus on these qualities. A high-tech engineer in the field of genetics should have technical expertise in gene splicing, using computer simulation and latest technology to conduct research effectively as well as functional knowledge to understand the genetics. This has to be supplemented with cognitive skills that favor exploration of alternatives and taking newer perspectives. The creative thinking skill manifests itself as problem solving, managing ambiguity, perseverance and self-discipline. The engineer might be intrinsically motivated to drive a project of his own interest but would not feel detached for the one given to him by his boss.

 

  • Inspiring Vision: A simple ambitious objective that is shared by the team helps to outline the spirit and to set the direction. For example 3M’s vision of developing – technology that advance every company, products that enhance every home and innovation that improves life, goes a long way in giving a sustainable purpose to each employee of the organization.

 

  • Team Conflict: Research studies indicate that moderate level of disagreement among the team members during formative stages of team development enhances the creativity and performance of the team. A moderate degree of cognitive conflict stimulates divergent thinking and brings forth the different perspectives challenging the old ways of doing things.

 

  • Trust: Each individual should be confident of sharing his ideas and opinions without the fear of being laughed at or criticized by others. This promotes participation in decision making.

 

  • Idea Time: When there is long list of tasks to be completed each day, it leaves little room to think outside the structured routine. Therefore some relax or quiet time should be given to each member to generate new ideas or critically evaluate the existing ones – answering what we can do better? For example, Google’s ‘Twenty Percent Time program’ encourages its employees to devote 20% of their total work time on any project of personal interest. This has to led to the creation of newer services like Gmail, Orkut and Google News.

 

  • Risk Taking: The saying ‘No risk, no gains’ holds true to promote creativity. The team leader should let people take calculated risk and fail. Failure should be accepted as part of the process of creativity, learning made and the team should move on. At no point failure should be criticized or punished as that would make people fear taking newer initiatives.

DIFFERENT CREATIVITY STYLES BASED ON COGNITIVE SKILLS

Let us take a step back and understand the way our brain thinks. Physiologically our brain is divided into 2 parts – Left and Right Hemispheres. Left brain is associated with rational and logical method of reasoning; this is called Convergent cognitive skills while right brain relies on intuition or what we call gut-feel to arrive at a solution to the problem; this is called Divergent cognitive skills.

Based on these cognitive skills, Dr. Michael Kirton classified two different dimensions of creativity styles – adaptive and innovative

  • Adaptive Style is dominant on convergent thinking skills. Those with adaptive creativity style, also known as adaptors organize information to look for logical train of ideas to find solution to the problem. They prefer to work in a structured environment and follow carefully planned decision making. Adaptors are disciplined, stable and predictable. They mostly look at finding solutions within the existing framework of assumptions. They are described as ‘doing things better. Their working style is most effective in stable and structured situations.
  • Innovative Style is more dominant on divergent thinking skills. Those with innovative creativity style, also known as innovators seek decision by looking at the problem holistically with more spontaneous or flash decision making. They are more productive in informal work environment with participatory and horizontal hierarchies. They are imaginative and question the assumptions. They focus on radical ways of doing things and cut across boundaries to find a solution. They generally cause chaos in the team and are thus not readily accepted within the team. They are described as ‘doing things differently.’ They are more effective in times when breakthrough changes are required.

Adaptors and Innovators view each other with some amount of skepticism. Adaptors view innovators as unreliable and disruptors while innovators perceive adaptors as bureaucratic and dull. This causes conflict and tensions in the team. But to achieve high level of team creativity both adaptors and innovators are required because idea generation requires innovators and idea evaluation and improvement requires adaptors.

Therefore it is important for teams and managers to use psychological measures to understand their own creativity style as well as that of the others. This helps to determine self awareness and promote inter-personal harmony in the team. Most effective of these measures is Kirton’s Adaptor-Innovator Inventory (KAI) which states that any individual’s cognitive style can be placed on a continuum ranging from adaptive to innovative style. The inventory consists of 32 question statements which are based on three factors – Efficiency (E), Rule/Group Conformity (R/C) and Originality (O) described below:

  • Efficiency refers to attention to details and supportive data set. Adaptors focus on methodical data management to reach solution to the problem whereas innovators enjoy starting from scratch and re-inventing the wheel.
  • Rule/Group Conformity refers to the regard for existing framework of team rules and procedures. Adaptors emphasize on team consensus and cohesion and hence focus on problem solving within the rules. Innovators often break rules to create ideas, with little conformity to the group.
  • Originality refers to the manner in which individuals handle ideas. Adaptors prefer to produce fewer ideas most of which would be useful and actionable. Innovators prefer to produce large number of radical ideas which would be risky to action upon.

The KAI score range from 32 to 160 with a score of 60-90 representing adaptive and 110-140 representing innovative cognitive style. Managers can use this score to build a diverse team with individuals possessing both cognitive styles, adopt different approaches to manage each style and make both work effectively to realize the vision.

CONCLUSION

In order to drive profits and stay ahead of change, organizations have to encourage creativity. With teamwork being the norm, it is much more important to focus on ways to enhance team creativity rather than looking at creativity at individual levels. In these times of diversity and change, managers are advised to utilize KAI assessment tool to help the team members realize their creativity style, understand differences in creativity tendencies of each other and thus create more collaborative and cohesive teams.

 

Stress Management – Go the Outdoor Way !

Featured

Turkey-Shaped Foam Stress Reliever

 

In a life of constant pressure and cut-throat competition the youth and working class of metropolitan cities face a constant threat of health issues related to stress. In a world-wide poll of over 105 countries by Gallup, only 20% of people reported that they were not stressed.  According to estimates by PPC Worldwide, a global provider of employee assistance programmes (EAP), more than 62% of health concerns in India Inc in the year to October 2012 were due to work stress.

So what then are we going to do to solve this problem that only seems to be getting more serious by the day? What do we understand about stress and its effects?

When talking about stress people generally refer to two phenomena, an event or a reaction. When we associate stress with an event, that event is called a stressor. Stress is our reaction to an event or stressor. The classic stress response is the “fight or flight” reaction in which your body activates a number of physical and behavioral defense mechanisms to deal with an impending threat. It is often this physical and psychological sensations associated with these mechanisms that we are detecting when we say that we ‘feel stressed’. The ill effects or negative effects of stress are felt when the body goes through an adrenalin rush after detecting threat or stressor and there is no physical activity or “release” for the bodily changes. People report having body aches, catches, headaches, palpitation etc. which is generally the result of this.

How do we deal with stress?

Stress occurs and will only occur if we perceive a situation or stimulus as stressful or threatening.  Thus it is very important to have clarity of perspective and clear evaluation of situations to be able to distinguish real threat from general inconvenient situations. Today if we take a look at our lifestyles our demands from things around have increased and our tolerance for frustration and inconvenience has reduced tremendously. Hence coping skills have reduced. A day without a washing machine or microwave can cause stress to the modern metropolitan individual.  We of course also have the real threats of increasing finances, job competition, traveling, work life balance, time management etc. for these real stressors it is important to find healthy ways of re perceiving the intensity of the threat.

Spending time in recreation outdoor activities:

There are numerous ways of dealing with stress.  Yoga, meditation, exercises and of course thought reforming or changing faulty perceptions.  Recently corporates have been taking special initiatives to provide recreation and exercise solutions within the office premises. Games like football, pool, table tennis, gyms etc. have been introduced in many offices.  Outbound trips and recreation events have become a major part of corporate initiatives. These events serve many purposes, not only are they great stress busters but a solid ground for training and team bonding. Spending time in sports and outdoor activities gives people a change from routine and also physical exercise helps majorly as a way to deal with pent up stress.

Games That Prepare You for Real Life!

Featured

Future events marker for video games

We have all heard hazard stories and ill effects on video games. In addition to understanding the many real concerns that today’s parents have with video games; it is also worth considering the benefits and positive aspects that contemporary interactive learning provides.

One of the most common criticisms of video games are that they allegedly increase violent tendencies among youth (Anderson & Bushman, 2001; Funk, Hagan, Schimming, Bullock, Buchman & Myers, 2002; Gentile & Anderson, 2003). However, from my personal experience with gaming and watching others, my friends, family members, young kids at gaming zones etc., I couldn’t help but think that it is also important to recognise and discuss the benefits and learning that this medium can have.

Games, act as simulations for life. They give you the safe environment to learn where decision making and risk-taking has no real threat.  You have room to make mistakes, experiment and learn from trial an error and the only cost is losing a game.

Ian Bogost, associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and founder of software maker Persuasive Games emphasizes  an important point “Look at ‘World of Warcraft’: You’ve got 11-year-olds who are learning to delegate responsibility, promote teamwork and steer groups of people towards a common goal.” Youth who are actively involved in gaming learn skills that could have been very difficult for them to have learned otherwise in a safe non- threatening environment.  While playing, they are required to think on their feet, deal with threat from opposition, use creative ideas to tackle problems, compete, think strategy and problem solve. It also enhances goal setting and perseverance in goal achievement. Strategy and war games emphasize strategic, tactical, and logistical challenges.

Reeves et al (2008) go so far as to say that World of Warcraft provides an excellent training ground for effective leadership strategies, in large part because it teaches an understanding of the types of environments that facilitate adaptive decision-making. Games create situations where players not only must make decisions, they must make them quickly and they must continually adapt to changing circumstances and rules. These circumstances encourage cognitive flexibility, the tolerance of ambiguity and comfort with decision-making without full information—excellent skills for dealing with real world situations on a daily basis at work, at school and at home (Reeves, Malone, & O’Driscoll, 2008). Research underway by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) indicates that video games can help adults process information much faster and improve their fundamental abilities to reason and solve problems in novel contexts. In fact, results from the ONR study show that video game players perform 10 %to 20 % higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than non-game players.

Similarly many new researchers have found tremendous benefits and advantages of gaming. I believe that serious games and virtual environments are a strong medium of education and must be considered as seriously as any other medium.

Work-Life Balance – Is it Affecting You?

Featured

English: An artist's depiction of the rat race...

English: An artist’s depiction of the rat race in reference to the work and life balance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Work-life balance has become a subject of concern for business leaders, human resource managers, healthcare professionals as well as employees in global organisations today. With rising inflation, there is pressure to recover cost of education along with the ambition to be “successful”. The increasingly competent young workforce now faces an ever growing challenge of separating career ambitions and other aspects of life. Steven L. Sauter, chief of the Applied Psychology and Ergonomics Branch of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati, Ohio, says, “the workplace has become the single greatest source of stress.”

Work–life balance is defined as proper prioritizing and balance between work career, achievement and ambition, lifestyle, health, pleasure, leisure, family and enjoyment. Due to enhanced competition, hard work and striving to be the best has become a perceived necessity for ‘success’. This has reduced the number of tasks and activities people engage in just for enjoyment or fun. There is an enormous pressure to excel at everything and to continuously think in terms of achievement.

According to Ma Foi Randstad Workmonitor Survey 2012 Wave 1, there is a definite challenge for employees in India in handling work-life balance. . “Technology has increased work efficiency to a large extent, but the downside is that it has also simultaneously created a 24/7 intrusion in the private lives of employees,” Ma Foi Randstad MD and CEO E Balaji said. Moreover, 79 per cent of employees said that they receive work-related phone calls/e-mail while on holiday and similar proportion (80 per cent) said they receive work-related phone calls/e-mails after office hours.

Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor’s career and workplace expert who ran global HR departments at Electronic Arts and PepsiCo before co-authoring Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business says “Companies that make sincere efforts to recognize employees’ lives outside of the office will often see the pay off when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent.”  Gassdoor.com, a social jobs and careers community, just released its second-annual list of the Top 25 Companies for Work-Life Balance. The report is based entirely on feedback shared by employees within the past year. Companies with high Work Life Balance offer a range of perks: flexible hours, telecommuting options, compressed work weeks and family friendly work environments. “In addition, we see many of the companies offering ease of access to food and fitness amenities,” says Samantha Zupan, a Glassdoor spokesperson. “What also stood out about several companies on the list was senior leadership’s support of work-life balance.”

The significance and implications of such HR interventions are many. Research findings suggest that Work Life Balance Programs (WLBPs) not only help employees better manage their work and family roles (Thomas & Ganster, 1995), but also affect employee attitude and behaviors such as organisational commitment (Grover & Crooker, 1995), job satisfaction (Kossek & Ozeki, 1998) and intention to quit (Lobel & Kossek, 1996).

It is however very important to establish that maintaining healthy work and personal life balance is not only the responsibility of employers and HR staff. Employees themselves have a major role in the work culture and stress patterns they establish for themselves in the lives. As Bowswell and Olson-Buchanan stated, “increasingly sophisticated and affordable technologies have made it more feasible for employees to keep contact with work.” Researchers have found that employees who consider their work roles to be an important component of their identities will be more likely to apply these communication technologies to work while in their non-work domain. Also proper time management, prioritising and assertiveness are skills that go a long way in ensuring higher probability of work life balance.

Here are a few steps that employees can consider to enhance work life Balance:

  • Consider all the things that compete for your time, and prioritise.
  • Learn how to say no. Assertiveness plays a major role in helping establish health working patterns with seniors and colleagues. Prioritise the importance of a task. It is important to consider the time you have in hand while making delivery commitments. You also can consider saying no when certain requests or orders are beyond work hours or capacity.
  • If your firm allows staffers to telecommute, consider working from home a few days a week. When discussing this option with your boss, approach it from a position of strength. Describe how the flexibility could ultimately help your company.
  • Technology is a good servant, but a bad master. Remember that BlackBerrys, iPhones and other devices exist to make your life easier, not to rule it.
  • Remember not all activities have to be about achievement and excelling. While out of work trying doing activities like exercise reading yoga etc. that don’t have relations with work performance.
  • Make sure to understand the importance of rest and play in enhanced performance.

 

From Contributor to Leader: A CEO’s Advice on Successfully Navigating Critical Transitions – Chuck Hyde

Featured

Leadership

Leadership (Photo credit: glennharper)

Adaptation to change has been an integral part of the human race in all eras. However, when it comes to managing transitions within the fast changing business environment, very few people are able to master the skills required to become successful in the new roles. Most of them struggle to accept the fact that their contribution to the organsation which has played a key role in getting them the new role- would no longer be relevant. They would be required to acquire new skills to manage the transition.

 

A few years ago, on a trip to Pennsylvania, I stumbled across Fort Necessity National Battlefield where a brash lieutenant colonel once lost a battle that helped start the French-Indian War. Young George had picked a fight while scouting the Ohio Valley and paid the price, ultimately in surrendering this colonial outpost. It wouldn’t be his last battle lost, but as historian Alan Axelrod captured, the Blooding at Great Meadows would indeed be the battle that shaped the man.

The experiences George Washington gathered and how he effectively managed his career transitions to become the Father of Our Country are not unlike the transitions through which leaders from all time and contexts go. For centuries, pages became squires and squires became knights, with each transition carrying its own unique elements. Still today, at each progressive career stage, leaders must develop new skills because those they’ve mastered are no longer sufficient to be successful in their new roles (read The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith). Understanding this phenomenon and working to manage transitions is one of the hardest things leaders do along their journey.

Check out the original article : From Contributor to Leader: A CEO’s Advice on Successfully Navigating Critical Transitions | Leadership | Training Industry.

Leadership Secret Three: Two Skills Great Leaders Master – Tony Robbins

Featured

Time Mastery and Relationship Mastery are essentially the most important skills for effective leaders according to Tony Robbins. Focusing your energies in the right direction towards targeted results and ‘cutting through the clutter’ is essential. In this process, building of deeper relationships on a personal level would prove beneficial in the long run.

Leaders have the quality of emotional mastery, which gives you the strength and flexibility to tackle any challenge, even when all hell is breaking loose, as we covered in the previous blog post in this series. Now we’ll look at two other core qualities extraordinary leaders possess, RELATIONSHIP MASTERY and TIME MASTERY.

RELATIONSHIP MASTERY

Ultimately the quality of your life is the quality of your relationships. How many times have you heard, “business is relationship?”  It’s one of those clichés that never escapes us. But one reason we hear clichés again and again is because they are true. Ultimately our capacity to connect, not on a surface level, but on a very deep and personal level, is what allows us to break through the limitations that stop ourselves or any individual or group we are looking to lead to a new level.

Relationships are built not just by practicing rapport skills, but by truly understanding and appreciating where people are coming from—wanting to step in their shoes, understanding their point of view and finding a way to help them meet their needs while they meet the needs of the team and the organization. Facebook and Twitter are great tools, but if your idea of friendship is your Facebook or Twitter circles, perhaps it’s time to look deeper.

How well would you rate your own capacity to go deep in relationships, to penetrate beyond the surface of what people tell you to find out what’s really going on so that you can help people and yourself take things to a new level as a leader?……

Check out the original article : Leadership Secret Three: Two Skills Great Leaders Master | LinkedIn.

What if I told you the Self Esteem is a Myth?

Featured

Self-esteem is probably the greatest emotional disturbance known to the human race, if we understand self-esteem in the way in which it is usually defined. Albert Ellis: founder of Rational Emotive behavior therapy and one of the most influential people in Psychology in the 20th century according to American Psychology Association, discusses the concept of self esteem and has a rather radical view on what the commonly held belief and perception of Self Esteem is. In his book the Myth of Self Esteem he discuss the philosophy and view of self worth and self esteem by various renowned religious teachers, philosophers, and psychologists, including Lao Tsu, Jesus, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Buber, Heidegger, Sartre, Tillich, DT Suzuki, the Dalai Lama, Carl Rogers, and Nathaniel Branden, among others.

What exactly is self-esteem? Most people, as well as many psychologists and educators, believe we need it, that it’s good for our emotional well-being, and that it makes us more successful. There are tons of self help books and inspirational speakers that give solutions to low self esteem, increasing self esteem etc. but really is estimating self logically accurate?. I would disagree.

World-renowned psychologist Albert Ellis says,” It’s all a myth”. Human beings cannot legitimately be given a single global rating.

When human beings say that I have high self esteem or low self esteem it usually involves the person giving himself or herself a single global rating. Indeed, the concept of self-esteem frequently advocated by the majority of counselors and psychotherapists is based on this same principle. Low self-esteem involves the assignment of a single negative global rating to a person, and high self-esteem involves the assignment of a single positive global rating to the person.

Albert Ellis after researching and contemplating on views of various philosophers and great thinkers argues that it is not possible to give a person a single global rating whether negative or positive. This is best shown if we define clearly the terms self and esteem.

First, let’s take the term self. Paul Hauck (1991) has provided a very simple but profound definition of the self. He says that the self is “every conceivable thing about you that can be rated” .This means that all your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, belief systems, achievements and bodily parts are part of your self,. Everything that belongs to you from the beginning of your life to the moment just before your death has to be included in your self.

Now let’s consider the term esteem. This term is derived from the verb to estimate, which means to give something a rating, value or estimation. The question then arises: Can we give the self a single legitimate rating, estimation, or value that completely accounts for its complexity? The answer is clearly no. As Hauck notes, it is possible to rate different aspects of one’s self, but a person is far too complex to warrant a single legitimate global rating.

To give a person a single global rating-one would need to create a tool so powerful that it could analyze the millions upon millions of data produced by that person. and logically it would become immediately redundant since we are constantly changing and produce new data . Therefore as mentioned in his book  Practisce of Rational Emotive Behavior Theraphy ,Ellis quotes ” A person is an ongoing, ever-changing process and thus defies the ascription of a single static global judgment” (Ellis & Harper, 1994c, 1996a; Ellis & Harper, 1961a, 1997).

In addition to give a universal single rating one would have to average out the rating of various aspects of self, which would be equivalent to averaging out 2 bananas 14 apples and 3 Mercedes Benz Cars. To summarize, it is not possible, in any legitimate sense, to give one’s self a single global rating because (a) you are too complex to merit such an evaluation and (b) you are an ongoing ever-changing process that defies being statically rated.

Self-esteem results in each of us praising ourselves when what we do is approved by others however, we also damn ourselves when we don’t do well enough and others disapprove of us. What we need more than self-esteem, Ellis maintains, is self-acceptance!

It is justified to rate ourselves on certain aspects or have a comparative view of aspects of self to that of others. This would be essential for growth and development of skills and potential. However one must refrain from universally downing or praising self on the basis of performance or achievements in individual areas.  It is important to understand that my performance is not me. It is an aspect of me and if I sing poorly or am a bad public speaker for e.g. it would only mean that I sing poorly or speak poorly and would have nothing to do with self esteem or self worth.

 

 

 

References:

Ellis, Albert (2005). The Myth of Self-Esteem. New York: Prometheus books.

Ellis, A., & Dryden, W. (2007). The practice of rational emotive behavior therapy (2nd ed.). New York: Springer.