“How to partake in Halloween at work when Halloween really is not your thing…” -The Imperfect Org

Halloween is a very versatile day for many people, for many different reasons.  As a result there are various comfort levels and it’s difficult to know how to capture and celebrate the holiday without offending someone within the workplace.
With that said please take a look at a few harmless ideas that I believe can be incorporated into a corporate/team atmosphere if going all “spooky” is not your thing.
Painting PumpkinsI found this lovely pic on Pinterest. It can be fun, creative, and a safe way to honor everyone’s belief without going too far.
pumpkin-paint-challenge2web1
Watch a Charlie Brown Halloween special as a groupI mean who doesn’t love Charlie Brown!
charlie-brown-halloween

Become a judge in the costume contest to avoid dressing up

costume-judgeZazzle.com

Bring Halloween candies or treats for your team
tissue-paper-pumpkin
Participate in team building games
bingo-halloween
Plan a Potluck! (For those who are not germophobe’s : )
potluck-sign-up-form-for-halloween
Have a team lunch outing to see others dressed up on Halloween
group-of-girls-on-halloween
And if all of these suggestions do not appeal to you, and causes you to think that doing any of them will have you more involved in Halloween than you care to be…
Take a vacation day and stay home from work for a movie day or night
popcorn-for-movie-night
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Happy Labor day from The Imperfect Org!

Happy Labor day everyone!  Today we celebrate the worker by… getting the day off!!  I hope everyone enjoys this time (if you are off today) with family and/or friends or maybe just hanging out by yourself!

In Organizational Development this would be the time for that transition time from the 3rd to 4th quarter sprint in which we would be analyzing data from special projects and tallying it for corporate consumption in order to gain approval for those projects in the following year.

As we stated before on the Fourth of July:

“Tomorrow is another day, another opportunity to come back and face all the issues that challenge us and our organization.”

Today is the day of the worker, the employee, and an established way to show appreciation to all the contributions given by workers on a daily basis. Something that is still forgotten by many organizations presently, however, we are lucky in The United States that the government was pushed to recognize the employee and create this holiday. Maybe from an Organization Development perspective, we can push organizations that we assist, maybe, to create a “Labor day” of their own, and take a day outside the regular calendar and organizational schedule  to show their employees how much they are appreciated. Good idea?

Well, anyway from everyone at The Imperfect organization… Happy Labor day!

If you want to know more about the true meaning of Labor day where is a site (from the Department of Labor/US government) that explains it more:

September 5th, The First Labor Day-Not just any ordinary day -The Imperfect Org

“The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day a year later, on September 5, 1883” (DOL, 2016, para. 7).

It’s amazing how I took this wonderful holiday that I took for granted for so long as a “recognized day off” for the America worker, for granted. But I never took the time to really take a look at the history behind it.

Well ladies, and gents, I did so. Why? Because I am curious like that, about things like that, especially since we all spend such an enormous amount of our time in the workplace. Whether we like it or not.

I was also so pleasantly surprised to see that my wonderful husband, whose birthday is today shares a piece of this history. Especially since everything about his make-up is in accordance with positive workplace experiences.

“In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country” (DOL, 2016, para. 8).
The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker (DOL, 2016, para. 11).
https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history

 

“Is a lack of Emotional Intelligence hurting your brand?”

Image Source

Are you losing customers because your employees lack “emotional intelligence”? Are your employees too aggressive, hurting your brand, or driving down your customer volume?

According to Psychology today, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your emotions and respond well to other’s emotions.

It is said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your emotions and cheering up or calming down others.

Emotional intelligence is said to begin in the spine.  From the spine, up to the limbic system (the emotional part of our brain) and then to the rational part of our brain.

The communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source of emotional intelligence. The pathway for emotional intelligence starts in the brain, at the spinal cord. Your primary senses enter here and must travel to the front of your brain before you can think rationally about your experience. However, first they travel through the limbic system, the place where emotions are generated. So, we have an emotional reaction to events before our rational mind is able to engage. Emotional intelligence requires effective communication between the rational and emotional centers of the brain.”

Learned Behavior

Emotional intelligence can be learned.  Once learned, over time the behavior will cause neuron connections that lend itself to habitual behavior.

No doubt employees may join an organization with plenty of emotional intelligence, but over the span of time, with failed policies and decreased morale, employees can completely abandon their emotional intelligence for the need to say or do whatever they please.  Rationalizing their behavior as deserved, by the organization. The limbic part of their brain appears to incite an emotion, and rational does not meet it with a positive response.

When employees reach this state of mind while working in an organization, more than likely, it won’t be long before the change takes place with that employee (for better or worst).

Image Source

Profit-loss--taishaaccountingservices.com.ng-preparation-profit-loss-account

The bottom-line

Either some change will take place and cause the employee to alter their behavior and learn socially appropriate behavior (this is not always the emotional response from the employee).  Or the rage from their emotions can override their rational and what the customer experiences are nothing close to pleasant.  Unfortunately, this can be at the expense of the customer. Many incidents like this have taken place with organizations and have been splattered all over the news.

So the question that now stands is how do companies identify these demoralized employees who are sowing these “death seeds” to the organization. Perhaps there’s a way of revitalizing them instead of throwing them back into the rat race, jaded (just to be recycled as another disgruntled ex-employee).

Bradberry, T. (2014). Emotional Intelligence – EQ. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2014/01/09/emotional-intelligence/#2527abe71ac0

Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/united-passenger-dragging-incident-more-horrifying-than-when-he-fled-vietnam/2017/04/13/7941ccdc-206f-11e7-be2a-3a1fb24d4671_story.html?utm_term=.beb52e785e8e

“Tips on encouraging complainers to become part of the solution”

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I wonder how many in leadership cringe on the inside, (during meetings) when employees complain of a breakdown in communication and systems, but fail to offer a solution?

I mention this with empathy for leadership who are “expected” to lead and provide a resolution to all systemic issues.

Having experienced my share of working with disgruntled employees (those who are quick to speak out on injustices), I see the need for ideas or resolutions after the feedback is provided.

I am sure a great deal of employees are waiting for their employer or upper management to offer resolution, after all they are the ones in a leadership position, right?, However a company culture that seeks resolution from the frontline employee is in my eyes, wisdom.

Frontline employees speak directly with customers, and since they are the ones that are more likely to discover a trend that is hurting the organization, they should also receive the opportunity to work on a resolution.

Therefore there should be an ongoing and spoken rule that states “if you speak up in meetings to state a problem, you must in the same breath offer a solution”.

In no way is this designed to punish those who present problems, but it sets the tone for problem solving or resolution without creating an atmosphere that lends itself to constant criticism.

Team Work in the making

irysec.vic.edu-- problem solving

Image source

Management and frontline workers receive the opportunity to work together as a team to bring about resolution as opposed to waiting for leaders who are often stopping other organizational wide problems to provide all of the answers.

This also allows for upper management to remain in tune with the feelings and thoughts of its employees and customers (as they will hear firsthand from frontline workers what the organization is up against, while at the same time learning of frequent consumer complaints).

Application in the making

You may wonder, “What is the most efficient way to endorse this sort of change?”

  1. Speak with the employees in meetings and set the expectation – if a problem is mentioned, it must be closely followed by a solution (from that particular employee).
  2. After the problem at hand is mentioned (with a possible resolution), if indeed that resolution is manageable and cost effective, place the employee on a team that is designed to conquer that problem.
  3. The employee is now expected to collect data to confirm that indeed the problem is a new or reoccurring trend.
  4. Once the employee collects the data, that particular employee will now be expected to relay this information back to the team and management for further plans to rectify the issue.

It may not be the answer to solve all organization wide problems but it’s a damn good way to get the conversation started.

The next step will be for management to trust the expertise of frontline employees to activate resolution.  This has the opportunity to provide more fulfillment for the front-line employee, while retaining satisfied customers.

What tips do you have to offer to bridge the gap between frontline employees and management?

Can passive aggressive behavior in the workplace = Psychological Bullying”?

Image Source: Divorcedmoms.com

Can passive aggressive behavior in the workplace = Psychological Bullying”?

The Definition of Bully “to frighten, hurt, or threaten a small or weaker person clarifies how an individual can prey on the vulnerable or weak.

But what if an individual does not know he is being hurt or threatened?

Or, what if this scenario is happening in the workplace, to you, by a close coworker without your knowledge?  Yes, there is no recognizable threat now, but as the truth unfolds, there is a possibility that you’ll realize that the motives of some whom you have trusted are not pure.

Unfortunately, this form of workplace bullying has the potential to damage your emotional and psychological state (as you cannot face the fact that this deception has happened to you).

Bullying is not always physical or verbal abuse

Officespace

On more occasions than I care to admit, I have witnessed individuals manipulate others (sometimes unknowingly to the victim) to obtain information, to pile on excessive work (as in clever movies like “Office Space”), to rise above in the ranks, or to coast through without having to do much work. Just because bullying does not contain overt verbal or physical abuse does not mean that mental and emotional abuse is not happening as an effect of bullying.

Manifestation of the Passive aggressive mask

Passiveaggressive apple face

Passive aggressive behavior manifests as polite comments and gestures and inferior body language, although the individual can be thinking the direct opposite.  It’s all a part of a game of manipulation to allow a person to believe that they are maintaining one relationship with a co-worker or management when this fake relationship is being conquered up only for gain. Behavior’s that emulates passive aggressiveness are used to get closer, gain ground, with one’s motives going unnoticed.

Due to the non-threatening attributes of passive aggressive behavior, it can be used as a tool or weapon to deceive other co-workers.  Their demeanor and actions fail to impact with the same intensity as an aggressive physical bully, so it is often overlooked, or even questioned (with non-sustainable proof).  As a result, many do not see passive aggressive individuals as someone that can cause harm.  In fact, they never see them coming. “Passive aggressive” individual’s wear masks.

Merriam-Webster’s definition

Merriam-Webster states that passive aggressive behavior is “of or denoting a type of behavior or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation, as in procrastinating, pouting, or misplacing important materials.”

It is in this nonaggressive behavior that individuals feel “safe” to state and do as they please.  In their eyes, it is not a terrible thing, because their behavior and actions are non-confrontational.

“Oh, I’m sorry, would you like to take the lead on this project Alice? (knowing that they are offering just so that Alice can offer it back to them, “thanks for offering Linda! If you will like to take the lead on this project, that is no problem, but if not, I can take it!” (Alice has hopes you will decline, she’s just too shy to admit it), “Thanks, Alice, I think I will take it!” (Just like that Alice lost out). Linda received the lead and did not have to display any aggressive behavior to get it.  Her deceptive behavior allowed Alice to offer it.

As Webster’s definitions denote, procrastination is another way a crafty individual can prey on the weak.  Management has been known to enlist the ideas of others as if they are going to use the feedback to make changes.

After receiving loads on top of loads of valuable feedback (generally from face to face feedback sessions) nothing comes of the situation.  Various employees ask about its progress just to realize that this particular manager either drags their feet or never does anything with the information at all.

Now employees are left with the sour taste that they have been lied to or used. Morale takes another hit.  Employees were transparent in hopes for the greater good, but they have gained nothing in return.  In fact, these individuals often use that information that they elicited to rise to another position.  The knowledge given to these particular managers by frontline workers allows them to sound “in touch” with the plight of the frontline employees and customers.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Have you encountered this in the workplace? If you are not sure, begin to watch those with their pleasantries after more times than not, an offense has taken place.

How can you protect yourself from such behavior?

Begin to watch the consistency of another’s actions.  Do not rely on what’s verbal cues; it is that easy. Watch their behavior.  Over and over again, it is their behavior that will tell the tale. Watching carefully for such behavior can help you avoid much corporate heartbreak that can ultimately be damaging to your psychological state or career.

Fandango MovieClips (1999). Office Space.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsLUidiYm0w

Office Space (1999). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjJCdCXFslY

Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2017). Retrieved from https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=webster+definition+of+bullying&*&spf=1

“E-learning tools for effective communication and grammar”

Hello, I am a contributor to the ImperfectOrg, from the blog “Organizational Clarity” where we share tips, opinions, and where to find free tools to make the practitioner or student of organizational development lives easier.

One place we like to go for free tools is from the CommLab India community which is dedicated to increasing a professional’s knowledge of E-Learning, giving out free tips and free resources on how to implement E-Learning in the workplace or how to easily find cheap solutions to organizational needs.

I usually receive a link to various articles and tools (free downloads) that help make my life easier and can elevate any presentation or assignment. This week I saw an article called: “Grammar Check for Effective E-Learning” by Sushmitha Kolagani.

This is article is a great point by point checklist about grammar checking your E learning presentation to ensure the credibility of the program. This article is free to the public and is great for the Instructional design specialist.

Some of the points this article briefly discusses are:

  • Overlooking Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Excessive Use of Passive Voice
  • Verbosity
  • Unnecessary Usage of Articles
  • Usage of Complex Words and Lengthy Sentences

These are some great tips if you are using Microsoft grammar check, but you cannot spend the money on a program like Grammarly. If you can afford the program and are having the issues with Grammar that is discussed in this article I would recommend going ahead and spending the money on Grammarly.

Just click on the link here to learn more: http://blog.commlabindia.com/elearning-design/grammar-check-for-elearning