Can I Be More Proactive Instead Of Reactive?

Question:

I work in a Data Center that is going to a Lights Out Data Center, meaning they won’t need as many people. Also it means we need to move into other areas of the contract. That requires training or else. While some are finding new positions, I am reluctant to want do anything, after 15-20 years in the same area basically doing the same thing. The boss’ view is he wants people to be in the fast lane, going around, over, under any and all hurdles. He encourages college classes, on the job training, etc. but basically his bottom line is: if we don’t move, we’ll get left behind. I know I need to upgrade some my job skills to stay competitive, but I still feel like I don’t know what I want to do. Time is of the essence. Management is pushing us to come up with career plan and to move in on it, and go from there. My problem is I don’t know what area or areas to concentrate on and I don’t have a career plan. I have I communicated this to the boss, but, but he still said it’s up to me where I will end up. What do you think? I’ll appreciate your response.

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Training About Duty To Warn

Question:

I am in the social services field. I was asked to train staff on the importance of keeping people safe, and their duty to warn about potential abuse/neglect situations, even if the person is a friend. I am aware of my state and the federal laws regarding “duty to warn”. My question is; how can I successfully get across to people that no matter what, they are to report abuse/neglect, even if they are close to the person?

Also, how do I successfully train people to see the difference between reporting potential abuse/neglect and mis-reporting situations that may not be abuse/neglect, but rather using abuse/neglect as a way to punish people they do not like? Are there any websites to use as reference when I am asked to come up with new training ideas? Thank you.

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Cross Training?

Question:

I am looking for some information on cross-training in the work place. Pro’s, con’s, strategies, etc. Thank you

Signed,

In Training

Answer:

Dear In Training:

There are a number of advantages to cross-training in the workplace: –It provides more variety and challenge to workers (many employees complain about non-challenging jobs and lack of variety in their work). –It puts their job into the context of the entire organization. This allows them to understand the “bigger picture” and how their job fits in. –It helps workers be more sympathetic to other workers and departments and helps them better meet the needs of their “internal customers”. –It fosters creativity and new and better ways of doing things by bringing new ideas into a department. Longtime workers in any area sometimes develop tunneled vision and the status quo can become too comfortable and improvement seen as not necessary or desired. –It provides for better coverage when employees are off or when the demands in certain areas increase or decrease. –The cross training can be seen as personal development and can improve employee opportunities for promotions and transfers (it needs to be sincerely presented in this manner and results need to be demonstrated to employees with resulting promotions and transfers when appropriate). –It provides employees with better employability within the organization as well as outside of the organization. –It increases flexibility and creativity within the organization as employees are exposed to different jobs and ways of doing things. Important factors to consider: 1. Some employees will resist cross-training and doing other jobs. 2. Make it clear to all employees why the organization is doing this and what the advantages and disadvantages are. 3. Consider how the cross-training time will impact on employee’s regular jobs. If handled well, openly and honestly, cross-training can provide an organization and its workers with many advantages and increases in productivity, morale, and quality. Guest Respondent Performance Consultant/Trainer Kolman Rosenberg & Associates 9270 Wyant Drive Mentor, OH 44060 440-255-7663 P.S. The current newsletter of Winning Workplaces describes the training of the Reston, Viginia based High Performance Technologies (HPTi). If interested log on http://www.winningworkplaces.org/library/success/high_aspirations_key_to_h.php

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Effective Communication

Question:

WHY IS EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATON IMPORTANT?

Signed,

Why

Answer:

Dear Why:

Please explain WHY you ask. Our site has hundreds of answers to individuals who need to express their needs. This should illustrate why communication must be effective. If you have a specific problem that is not answered by those questions answered in our archives, please describe it in detail and we’ll do our best to respond.

William Gorden

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Is My Co-worker Jealous?

Question:

I currently started working in an office where a girl who always undermines my intelligence has trained me. I have over 5 years experience in a legal office environment and as such have acquired a great deal of office skills. I sometimes think it is because it bothers her that I am intelligent and she wants me to fail so she tries to get me in trouble.

Signed,

Troubled

Answer:

Dear Troubled:

Unfortunately, it seems some people boost them selves up by putting other’s down. That is not the way the world should work. On the other hand, when we are criticized the natural tendency is to think that that person has it in for us or is jealous. In your case, both of those things may be occurring. So the question is how to cope? 1. The place to start is to reflect on how you come across? Review what happened that might have provoked the put down. Don’t obsess about it. Just see what might have caused it. Guard against attributing ill will to this woman who trained you. She may be well intentioned and really want the best for you, but simply have a habit of seeing other’s mistakes, even when they are simply different. 2. Next list the specific ways that your trainer has undermined your intelligence; for what, when, and why. 3. Take time to jot down the dos and don’ts of how you would like to communicate with her. She may still be in the trainer mode and reacts as a dog trainer might when her dog doesn’t heel fast enough. 4. Schedule a time out session with her to discuss how you might make each other’s work more effective, pleasant, and easier. 5. During this time out meeting, ask for her opinion of how well you are working at your job and as partners in your work group. Politely but firmly tell her how you feel about what to you have been put-downs. 6. Propose that you collaborate on do and don’t rules that would make your work in the same are effective, pleasant, and easier. 7. Agree on a time each week to talk about what you and she have done well and what you might do more effectively. Does this make sense? If not, possibly it will prompt you to a think of how to go about it differently. Ego is important to our self-esteem. WEGO is even more so.

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My Client Was Deceived!

Question:

As an avid reader of your site, comparing the problems you exemplify with employment relationship problems here in New Zealand, I am interested in your views on a situation I have dealt with as a Lay Advocate.

My client saw a very attractive advertisement for a position as a Contracts Manager with a company boasting 17 years experience, market leadership, advanced technology, employee benefits and profit share possibilities. The business deals in short term contracts quite often being a case of quote, acceptance, deposit paid, completion and payment, in 3 days. There was even an opportunity, for my client, to earn extra money as an agent doing sales for commission. I will use the pseudonym “Bloggs Ltd” (BL) because the matter has been settled confidentially, by mediation.

When my client received his employment agreement it was under the heading Bloggs Management Ltd (BML). My client asked the MD who BML was he was told that the full name of the company was BML but for ease of marketing they use the shortened title and even when answering the telephone simply use the title Bloggs.

My client was a top line performer and at nights and weekends performed sales agent duties building up a sizeable commission in earnings. Management came up with all sorts of excuses for not paying my client his commission and spasmodically direct credited his bank account with only his salary payments. There were other concerns my client had with the business in that his record of company sales was not registered on the monthly figures. There was clear evidence that a number of cash jobs were being done and that management was soliciting cash payments to avoid Goods & Services Tax obligations. My client came to me for advice and I suggested he formulate a document of issues and make an appointment with the MD to discuss this relationship problem. This strategy is the statutory requirement of NZ Employment Law under the Employment Relations Act 2000.

My client made his appointment scheduled for the Monday. In the course of a sales and contractors meeting the Friday prior, my client was subjected to a raft of abuse and baiting by the MD. The next day, Saturday, my clients petrol card was dishonoured. On the Monday the MD rescheduled the meeting for Tuesday morning, then Tuesday afternoon and finally noon Wednesday. At 11am prior to the meeting my client was issued with a disciplinary notice, claiming that my client was commencing a company in conflict with his employer and was recruiting staff and contractors of his employer to join the venture. My client invoked all the appropriate legislated statutory obligations and called for a disciplinary meeting, with my representation, the following week. In response my client was summarily dismissed.

The matter ended up in the Employment Court and was resolved by mediation prior. Our investigation found that BML was actually a facade and had only been incorporated days prior to my client signing his employment agreement. My client was the only employee of BML. BML was a tax dodge operating as a loss adjusted write off to enable cash to be withdrawn in the guise of a 10 year rental contract for the premises.

BL was the only business with whom any of the contracts, clients, staff, contractors and creditors, conducted business. Because the fraud was internal only the IRD were able to take exemplary action while the Employment Court is unable to punish fraud under statute. Ultimately my client accepted a settlement in which he did forsake tens of thousands of dollars in commissions which were due from BL the entity with whom he had no legal contract. BML was liquidated as an insolvent company with no assets. NZ law does not allow my client to sue for defamation and any and all employment issues are the domain only of the Employment Court. The matter was extensively investigated and my client was beyond reproach in his evidence and performance as an employee. The MD was found to be a rogue with a high turnover of staff and an extensive case history of employment problems, adverse judgments and payouts. Simply, with the average payout from the Employment Court being $4500.00, this rogue employer plays the odds of weak employment legislation saving him hundreds of thousands in contracted staff commitments. Personally he is protected by family trusts, which are unable to be accessed for compensation and of course BL is still trading.

How would this matter have been dealt with in your neck of the woods?

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How Can I Be A Better Mentor?

Question:

First, thank you for providing such an invaluable resource. One of the first things I had to learn was to share your sight with others, rather than keeping it to myself. Here is my question. I have about eleven years experience in my industry, with about eight years experience in my specialized field. In addition, my educational background supports the field that I am currently in.

I was hired to a company as one of five members of a specialized division. The division had some previous problems with one member leaving voluntarily, three members being terminated, and the remaining person was the one with the least experience of the group. This person, who had been with the company, was placed in the senior position. After about a year, I was promoted to the same level as the “senior person.” Then, nine months later a new position was created for me as a team leader. I became the technical guide for all five other team members, including the person that was in the senior position. Three of the other members were then promoted to the same level as the previous senior person.

I am the youngest of the group, with other members of the team much older and with more time in the industry (but not in our specialized area). I have been in this new role for about 6 months. During the most recent review, my manager explained that the other team members (or some of them) do not feel I am a good mentor. Honestly, I do not know if I am good or not. I help the other members whenever possible and share the resources that I have developed in the last eight years. I work with them on their assignments to achieve the best results, but I give them the credit for completing the assignment or achieving the results on it. I don’t know what I am missing. My old boss indicated that there appears to be some jealousy by the other members because of my age and their experience in the industry. My former boss felt some of the comments might have been said to make me look bad out of spite for creating the position for me. She went so far as saying she thought I had good mentoring and leadership skills, which is why the position was created.

I have two questions. How do I improve my mentoring skills to a level where my co-workers respect what I bring to the table? If the team members are just making statements out of jealousy, how do I curb the comments and show them that I worked hard for the promotions I have received.

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Annoyed When I Suggested More Training!

Question:

I work in a high stress environment which involves emergency response

In the last few months, when I have time away from the workplace, I have gotten several calls a day regarding non-emergency matters. A co-worker took extreme offense when I mentioned it in a staff meeting that I would prefer if the matter could wait until I returned to the office, to please not call me unless it was an emergency situation. I phrased it in the terms of “what training would make you more comfortable with dealing with these situations” rather than as a personal attack.

The co-worker explained that she would continue to call for any matter she sees fit, that I was expected to take care of anything within my department, although we are all cross-trained in the basics of each area. The matter was not that I was asking for others to do the work I should do, simply that if it could wait until my return, to please respect the time I had away from the office. Since then I have been the object of her fury, with several snide comments made to me and to others regarding my lack of responsibility towards my job.

My position in one that does require after office hours work, however in a stressful job environment, I do not see the harm in asking others to respect my personal time and to ask to set some parameters. Apparently, this co-worker has taken offense to the situation and now is adding to the stress in the office. Do you have any advice? I work in a very small office of 6 individuals, so avoidance is not an option. I prefer to find an option that will avoid making everyone’s work lives insufferable due to a conflict.

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Negative Effects Of Poor Communication?

Question:

Could you please tell me how the quality of communication in a workplace can impact on individual self-esteem and on staff morale in general? I am particularly interested in the possible negative effects of poor communication. I am asking because I work in a recently merged educational environment and we are undertaking action research on the effects that communication (interpersonal and systems) can have on workplace morale and individual self-esteem. I am looking for established research results, not anecdotal evidence. Do you have any suggestions?

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Should Myers-Briggs Be Required?

Question:

What is you opinion of using the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator as a mandatory employee test and using the profile?

Signed,

Should It Be?

Answer:

Dear Should It Be?:

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has been proven reliable and valid and is the most widely used psychological assessment in the world. It looks at normal personality and is not an indicator of any abnormal behavior. The MBTI is an indicator of preferences and as such it helps us understand “how we prefer to be.” Any reputable MBTI practitioner will tell you that there are no “right or wrong” answers or “ways to be” as indicated by the instrument, so in effect it is not a test, but rather a self assessment instrument. As a self-assessment instrument, the results belong to the individual being assessed and should only be shared with others at the discretion of the individual. Because of these facts, the MBTI should never be made mandatory or used for making personnel decisions. You can think of “preferences” in the same way we think about being right handed or left-handed. We are born with this preference but we can learn to be just as skilled with our non-preferred hand as with our preferred hand. It just takes practice! We are also born with our personality preferences (although environment can have some impact on it) and many times we do learn to develop our non-preferred “way of being.” Often this takes place at work where we adapt to work expectations that cause us to develop other skills that we may not initially be comfortable with. In short, the MBTI is a great indicator of how someone “prefers to be”, but it does not indicate someone’s skills at behaving in any certain way. If individuals decide to share their MBTI results, which they often do if the environment is non-threatening, much can be learned about one another and how a work group functions together and why they function in that way. It is often used in teambuilding, leadership development, personal development and career counseling, but as always, the results belong to the individual to use for his or her own benefit.

“It’s a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”

– Albert Einstein

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