Management Transition – How to Take Over Without Taking Over

ABSTRACT:

10 tips for new managers to make their transition to their new position easier.

Stuart Miles - Leadership

Someone Else’s Recruits Part II

When transitioning into a new management position, the first ninety days are crucial. As a new manager, it is your job to get in and take charge. But there is a catch. Delve in too quickly and you run the risk of alienating your team, thus crushing morale and stifling production. Have too light a hand and you will lose their respect. It is an intricate balancing act that you must do to maintain order and inspire and motivate your team to reach higher. It can be daunting and intimidating. However, there is hope. These tips can help your transition period run a little more smoothly and make your integration into your new team much easier.

1. Tread Softly – at least at first – Start Small

When you come into your new position, resist the urge to make a great deal of changes immediately. In fact, sit back and observe. You can implement a few minor changes such as break schedules or routine procedures, but, again, proceed with a soft step. But, one crucial mistake that new managers make is that they delegate the “grunt” jobs to their employees and take the easy tasks for themselves. Never ask your employees to do something that you would not do yourself.

2. Learn to Listen

Your employees are on the front line and the ones who hear your customers first hand. They have a feel for what works and what needs to be fixed. You would do yourself a great favor by asking your employees four little words: What do you think? Ask them what is working and what needs to be fixed. You can have formal staff meetings where you have your employees submit their comments and recommendations to you and then open the floor for discussion, or you can construct your own “comment box” for your employees to submit ideas any time that something comes to mind. Just make sure that you check the box often and seriously consider the comments and suggestions that are submitted to you.

3. Keep Open Communication

Your employees are not mind readers and if you are new, they don’t know you. Anticipate their concerns and address them before things get out of hand and you wind up with a disgruntled team. If there is any possible way for you to have a meeting prior to your starting working with your team, by all means, do it. If not, as soon as possible introduce yourself to your team, even if you have to take each member individually and chat with them briefly. You don’t have to go into anything lengthy, just get a feel for each team member and allow them to get a feel for you. Most of all, keep the lines of communication open. Be approachable and don’t let your emotions get the best of you. If you ask for honesty and a direct approach, be prepared to get just that. There is no room here for you to get your feelings hurt. Suck it up and approach your employees, ask them what is on their minds and take it into consideration.

4. Get to know Your Team

Meet with your team as a whole but also take time to meet with each individual member. Through your observations and conversations with them, you need to find their talents and abilities and find creative ways to use them to the team’s advantage. Also keep an eye open for talents that may yet be untapped by the members. For instance, you may see outstanding artistic ability in a team member, but they do not realize that they have that talent. Work with them and help them develop the talent in a way that it will benefit the team and your mission. As a leader it is your job to inspire and motivate your employees. You want to mentor your employees and mold them into leaders. They can be leaders within the team and they may even be promoted within your organization. By empowering them and keeping the lines of communication open, and knowing each team member you will create a team that is unstoppable. But they will also be loyal.

5. Be a Team Player

As “the boss” it may be tempting to delegate the grungy tasks to the employees and leave the nicer duties for yourself. But that won’t win you any points in the popularity department and it certainly is not the mark of a leader. Don’t ever ask your employees to do something that you won’t do yourself. When they see you working alongside them, working with them, scrubbing toilets and mopping floors – or whatever undesirable tasks may need to be done, they will develop respect for you. When they see that you don’t put yourself on a pedestal and that you work just as hard as – or harder than – they do they will be more inclined to respect you and be loyal to you. Help each team member develop individual goals as well as goals for the team. Encourage all of the members to reach higher and celebrate their successes.

6. Don’t Compare your Old Job to your New One – or your Employees

Your old job is your old job. Even if you are making a move within your company, realize that the landscape has changed. For one, your position has changed so you are viewed differently, but two, and this is most important, your new team is not your previous team. While some techniques and procedures may be maintained from your previous position, you can not approach your new team as if it was your old team. They will not act the same, perform the same and respond the same so don’t put them in the position of feeling that they have to live up to your old team or outperform them. When you begin comparing your new team to your old one, you will only serve to cause resentment in your new team.

7. Realize that you have a Lot to learn – and Show It

Whether you have 1 year experience as a manager, 10 years or 25 years experience, you don’t know it all. If you are entering into your first management position, then realize that you have a lot to learn. Most of all, let your employees know that you are human. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and opinions of your team, but don’t come across as needy or whiney. Learn the difference and maintain that balance.

8. Play by the Rules

You are the boss and you can probably take certain liberties that your employees can not. Resist that urge. When you start breaking the rules just because you can, you are asking for trouble. Don’t put yourself on a pedestal, get in the trenches with the rest of your team and work alongside them. Play by the rules and your employees will respect you.

9. Learn to Listen

The first rule to being a great conversationalist is learn to listen. This is also the first rule in being a great leader. Listen to your employees and stay in tune with them, their moods and what they think would improve their work environment. Ask questions and genuinely listen to their responses. Keep the lines of communication open but always listen.

10. Don’t Hog the Credit

This is simple but is often overlooked by new managers. When an employee comes up with a great idea, it is very tempting to present it as your own to your superior. In a word: Don’t. If it is not your idea, give credit where credit is due. If you are commended for great performance, don’t keep the credit for yourself; remember to commend your team for their hard work and contributions. Even if you have an employee who outperforms you or who is a better salesperson or better at crunching numbers, make certain that credit is given where it is due. When your team sees that you give them the credit for good performance, they will work harder. If they see that you take the credit for yourself, you will most certainly see production plummet.

There are so many things to remember when you are trying to transition into a new management position, but if you keep your people in your focus, you will find that you have a loyal team that will help you propel all of you to greater heights. You can’t go it alone and if you alienate your team and find yourself on the outside, you will be in big trouble. It is tough to get a team back once you have violated their trust. Start off on the right foot and keep these strategies in mind as you work toward bringing your team to the next level.

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Mobbing and Workplace Abuse: Are You a Victim?

ABSTRACT:

Most attention has been directed to spousal abuse, but workplace abuse is rising in prevalence. As incidences of workplace abuse increase, it is important to learn to recognize the signs. Education is the first step to getting free.

iosphere - businessman stomped by boss

As the nation’s economy continues to decline, more people are losing their jobs and jobs are becoming more and more scarce. Some organizations are capitalizing on the situation by lowering their standards for the treatment of their employees. After all, they are the “only game in town” and it isn’t as if you can just walk out of one job and into another right now. These opportunists are leaving in their wake employees who are overworked, stressed out, psychologically battered and bullied on a regular basis.

The Workplace Abuse Trap

The tragedy of the situation is that these employees basically have to grin and bear it or find themselves in the unemployment line. To struggling families, single parents and other individuals who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths, it is a matter of choosing the lesser of the evils: suck it up and remain in the abusive situation, or lose their job, go deeper into debt, be unable to feed their families, lose their homes, the list goes on and on. Most choose to remain in the abusive situations for many of the same reasons that so many women choose to remain in abusive relationships:

1. They feel that they are not worth more or do not deserve more

2. They feel that they have no choice

3. They feel that the abuse is somehow their fault

4. They feel a certain sense of security with the job (a workplace form of Stockholm Syndrome)

5. They feel that they do not have the energy, the drive, the strength to get out of the abusive situation

Mobbing

Mobbing is a term that has been coined to describe emotional abuse in the workplace. Also known as psychological terror, bullying, hostile work environment, workplace trauma, incivility, psychological aggression and emotional violence, mobbing can wreak havoc on a person’s productivity at work as well as their personal psychological state. Over time, an employee who has been the victim of mobbing can develop post traumatic stress disorder. In the short term, mobbing can cause employees to seek therapy, anti depression medication and other treatments.

The psychological pressure that comes from this type of abuse can lead to other health issues such as a compromised immune system (more incidences of colds, flu, etc.), migraines, high blood pressure and in extreme cases, even heart attack and stroke. Unfortunately, mobbing creates a destructive circle that will ultimately lead to the employee either taking leave, filing a worker’s compensation claim, quitting or getting fired.

While companies that employ this practice attempt to justify it by saying they are “tightening the reins” or “cracking the whip” to increase productivity or “straighten out” employee behavior, they are ultimately undermining their own efforts. As employees are battered more and more psychologically, their production suffers. This may not be immediately apparent, but over time there will be a decrease in production whether in quantity or quality.

Mobbing is a real problem in the workplace because many employees will try to “buddy up” to their supervisors or those they view as superior in rank in an effort to try to deflect some of the psychological blows and reduce the abuse and trauma. They will tell those in authority whatever they think they want to hear out of fear of losing their jobs, getting demoted or sustaining further, more vicious abuse.

The abusers thrive on this fear and use it to “divide and conquer” workplace teams. In an effort to separate the stronger, more confident employees (the ones who could potentially “cause problems” because they will not roll over and accept the abuse) from the fearful employees who are afraid of losing their jobs supervisors will try a variety of tactics to infuse the entire team with mistrust and suspicion. Imagine what would happen if the stronger employees were not separated from the employees who cow tow to the supervisors? The fearful employees would find support and become empowered!

This is one of the first things that an abuser does to his or her victim. They strive to separate the victim from their support system. They cause rifts in relationships, relocate them (in the workplace that would mean moving them to another location, firing outspoken employees, etc) or forbid them to communicate. Abusive spouses do it to their victims every day. By separating the victim from their support system, the victim is forced to rely solely on the abuser.

Mobbing is also used to describe a situation where co-workers, subordinates or superiors “gang up” on someone in an effort to force them to quit, to force them out of the workplace. This is done through behaviors that can be very blatant or quite subtle. They may do this through rumor, intimidation, humiliation, innuendo, isolation or discrediting. In short, they simply harass the person until they finally quit.

However, at the heart of it all, mobbing is malicious, general harassment that is neither racial nor sexual. It slips under the legal radar and walks some fuzzy ethical lines because it does not fall under the neat label that the law provides for workplace harassment. It is sneaky and underhanded and its perpetrators are cruel, narcissistic control freaks who thrive on their perceived feeling of power. They revel in the spoils that come from the abuse they inflict. As they see their victims cower and become more and more beaten down, they feel more and more powerful and in control.

Mobbing is a serious workplace health and safety issue that should be addressed. It is just coming onto the radar and support organizations are springing up in response. The adverse effects of mobbing and other workplace trauma impact the employee on a personal level. Their physical wellness, emotional wellness, health and safety are all affected as a result. When a person is distracted by the trauma that they are experiencing on a daily basis, they can not pay full attention to the tasks require it. This impacts the organization, but unfortunately, the narcissistic employer can not see that they are the cause of the problem so they simply release the employee and find another victim to terrorize.

Corporate Aggression

A relative to mobbing, corporate aggression is on a larger scale, but just as detrimental. Taken from the website www.worktrauma.org, it is described in this manner:

Corporate Aggression refers to all situations where the majority of employees or any minority group feel subjected to unilateral conscious, calculated or planned negative actions, attitudes, rules and/or policies imposed by the employer to serve the employer’s interests, in a situation where these employees feel that they are collectively unable to defend themselves and/or approach and/or reason with the source of aggression and/or effect any changes. (Steinman, 2002)

When employees are made to feel humiliated, disrespected, undermined through malicious, cruel, vindictive means, they are not in a healthy work environment. What’s more, they will usually feel that due to psychological pressure, intimidation, harassment, threats, manipulation, extortion, coercion, hostile behavior and conspiracies, that they have not recourse and must “play the game.” They may even feel that they have no where to turn so they never voice their discontent or unhappiness. Often, they do just the opposite by telling their employer and supervisor that they are happy and have no problems. This is the intimidation and psychological pressure doing its magic. The employees are so intimidated that they feel they have no voice so they just tell their employer what they want to hear in hopes that the abuse will lessen.

Characteristics of Workplace Trauma

Some characteristics of workplace trauma include (definitions taken from Work Trauma Foundation www.worktrauma.org.):

Abuse
Behavior that humiliates, degrades or otherwise indicates a lack of respect for the dignity and worth of an individual.

Bullying or Mobbing
Repeated and overtime offensive behavior through vindictive, cruel or malicious attempts to humiliate, disrespect or undermine an individual or groups of employees and includes, but is not limited to psychological pressure, harassment, intimidation, threats, conspiracies, manipulation, extortion, coercion and hostile behavior which could impact on the worth, dignity and well-being of the individual or groups.

Harassment
Any conduct based on age, disability, HIV status, domestic circumstances, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, race, color, language, religion, political, trade union or other opinion or belief, national or social origin, association with a minority, property, birth or other status that is unreciprocated or unwanted and which affects the dignity of men and women at work.

Sexual Harassment
Any unwanted, unreciprocated and unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is offensive to the person involved, and causes that person to be threatened, humiliated, degraded or embarrassed.

Racial Harassment
Any implicit or explicit threatening conduct that is based on race, colour, language, national origin, religion, association with a minority, birth or other status that is unreciprocated or unwanted and which affects the dignity of women and men at work.

Threat
Any implicit or explicit promised use of physical force or power (i.e. psychological force, blackmail or stalking), resulting in fear of physical, sexual, psychological harm or other negative consequences to the targeted individuals or groups.

Structural Violence
The intentional use of power and/or organisational systems and structures or laws against an individual or entity (employer, management, shareholders, employee, group of employees, client, government, unions) to carry out a covert or unethical agenda, enforce change or indulge in unfair practices to the disadvantage of the affected individual or entity.

Includes but not limited to the disrespectful handling of changes in the organization, unrealistic redistribution of workload, intimidation, policies, procedures, regulations, manipulation, coercion to act in a certain way and so on, exercised by an individual or entity.

Psychological Violence
Intentional use of power, including threat of physical force, against another person or group, that can result in harm to family life, livelihood, physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. Includes verbal abuse, bullying/mobbing, harassment, intimidation and threats.

Assault/Attack
Intentional behaviour that harms another person or group physically, including sexual assault (i.e. rape).

Physical Violence
The use of physical force against another person or group that results in physical, sexual or psychological harm.

Includes beating, kicking, slapping, stabbing, shooting, pushing, biting, pinching, strangling, among others.

For clarification purposes, definitions were included that extend beyond those that describe mobbing and workplace trauma. However, all forms of workplace abuse, whether clearly defined by law or simply unethical and waking shady legal lines, are still abuse and still leave destruction and chaos in their wake.

Torture, the Core of Mobbing

Interestingly, Amnesty International has listed several criteria that are inherent of the word torture. It is strongly recommended that these criteria be incorporated in any definition that comprehensively describes torture. The process of torture ensures the torturer that their victim will have limited or no choices and will remain trapped in a certain situation that causes stress which is manipulated to induce thwarted attempts by the victim to sustain consistent, learned personal behaviour patterns by which their own self image is valued. In short, their self worth, self identity and valuation as a person are all withheld and destroyed. The criteria defining torture include:

1. At least two people are involved

2. There is acute pain and suffering inflicted

3. It breaks the victim’s will or is an attempt to break the victim’s will

4. It follows a process that is systematic

5. To the torturer, its purpose is rational and reasonable

Mobbing, psychological violence and other types of abuse and harassment in the workplace are, unfortunately, a reality. What’s more, the incidence of this type of abuse is growing. While there are virtually no laws designed to handle this type of debilitating workplace abuse, there are organizations that are cropping up and are attempting to address the problem. If you feel that you are a victim of workplace abuse or mobbing, visit the links listed here. These sites have great information and a wealth of resources. Educating yourself, learning to identify abuse, and building your support system are the first steps to getting free from abuse.

Marketing Quote of the Day

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