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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Management Should Know Thyself before Managing Others

One of the most important outcomes of my Organizational Behavior class is the self analysis each student completes during the course.  There are several assessments covering topics such as personality, leadership, decision making, and more.  This coupled with a semester long look at how individual, group, and organizational behavior affects the results (good or bad) of a company leaves each student with their own impression of what it takes to be a good leader or manger.  The following is a brief summary of just how one of my A students Galen F. Schneider views the world as it relates to the topic in the Title above:   

      Five big traits every good manager needs to possess in order to succeed not only in the business world, but also as a manager, are:

1.       A high motivation to manage
2.       A moderately high to high self-monitoring tendency
3.       Be organized
4.       Have an extroverted personality
5.       And an ability to handle stress with precision

First, every manager needs to have a aspiration to manage. This seems to be obvious to most, but believe it or not there are people in management positions that really have no desire to be in their position. This often leads to a poor job performance and a severe lack of job happiness with the manager and often times the manager’s employees.

Second, a good manager needs to have moderately high to high self-monitoring tendencies. This is not so obvious to most managers, but luckily, having a high self-monitoring personality comes pretty naturally to most people. What this roughly means is having the ability to adapt your personality to other people’s personalities when managing them. Let me explain, when you are managing employees, you need to be the type of person they want you to be. If you are dealing with an employee that is sad because of a loss in the family, your employee will want you to be sympathetic to his or her loss. That is why you need a high self-monitoring personality.

Third, being organized is a critical skill for all managers. Again, this trait should be pretty obvious, but some people are just naturally messy. Being organized can mean the difference between a promotion and constantly struggling to find the right documents at the right time. I have seen a manager get passed up for a higher promotion because that manager was completely disorganized and therefore their job performance was severely lacking. It’s not that the manager was bad at his job, he was just disorganized. On the other hand, if you are organized and well prepared, it shows initiative, drive, and that you are a hard worker. So be organized, it might take some work, but it will help you in the long run.

Fourth, have an extroverted personality. I can’t stress this enough. Being extroverted means that you like being around other people. Being around other people gets you energized and makes you happy. This is extremely important for managers because you will be around your employees constantly. If you are an introvert (one who likes to be alone), you will have a much tougher time being a manager.

Lastly, a manager needs to have an ability to handle stress with precision. This is essentially stress management. When the time comes that your workload starts picking up and the paperwork becomes too unbearable, this is when a good manager shows his/her colors. A good manager will pick up the pace, and do the job he/she was hired to do, and do it with precision and a calm candor.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Compensation: Numbers or a Head Game?

Is compensation a numbers or a head game?  I think it is a little bit of both, and here is why.  My story with comp starts when I was just in high school and college.  I really wanted to go into accounting because I thought that numbers were fascinating.  I had taken every single business class in high school and had intended to earn a Business Administration degree because I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life back then.  My dream was to be business women wearing suits, making decisions, and managing people.  What that actually looked like in terms of industry of specific field in business, I had no idea.

While in college I had to take intermediate accounting, statistics and calculus as well as higher level classes.  Intermediate Accounting was just not fun and I ended up stopping at that point and changing my major.  I had finished my statistics class and my calculus but I didn’t move on to the higher level math courses because at that point I thought, “I can’t stand anymore math”.
After college I went on with my career in Human Resources and about ten years into my HR career I was offered the position of managing the compensation department, at that point I already had the employment department and the company policy and procedures department so I thought compensation, which sounds interesting and exciting.  This job would be a promotion, but unfortunately I hated math to the point that I was afraid to take the position.  So I went into talk to my boss about my concerns.  I told him I was flattered that he was looking at me for this position but at the same point I am very nervous about managing a compensation department. 

In this particular company the compensation department actually had the entire payroll process and had compensation analysts that looked at pay.  I then told my boss I don’t know what I’m going to do?  That is when I was told don’t worry about it you’ll be fine, your managing the department, you’re not going to be doing the work.  I said, how can I manage the department of something I don’t feel comfortable doing?  He said I’ll teach you, don’t worry about it. I heeded his advice and took the position, which was a great basis for my career as I proceeded into owning my own business and am now am doing compensation studies for clients on a regular basis and love it.

The point behind this is, first of all I was managing a department and not actually doing the work, although I learned to do the work, which is really different, and the point about compensation is that it is numbers but not entirely.  Going back to the title of this post, yes maybe it is a numbers game but it really has a great deal to do with psychology (Industrial Psychology [IO] as my peers would say). The more I worked with everything that ran through our compensation department, the more I learned.  I even took a couple of classes by the organization, at the time, called American Compensation Association, which is now World at Work.  

The most intriguing thing about compensation was that it is kind of a head game.  There is a lot of psychology in the numbers when you really look at them and you really analyze what’s going on in the organization.  So at that point I was an executive in a larger organization that had over 1500 employee’s total and we had to do compensation studies and consider the compensation triangle. We looked at internal equity, external equity and job performance.  As I was looking at these numbers I could tell, after doing the research, there was a story behind the numbers.

So let’s say you ended up having an employee who had been with the company for 20 years, another employee who has been there for ten years and another who has been there for two years.  The two year salary was higher than the other two people but the 20 year salary was higher than the ten year person.  What story are the numbers actually telling?  Basically, “Okay we need to look at the research here”, because if you look at a normal compensation grid there is a graph which makes actual logical sense.   In this case logic is not a factor and you have to investigate why.  One possibility is to review performance evaluations.  Sometimes the numbers game and the head games match and sometimes they don’t and when the numbers and head games don’t match then that is usually when there is a possible issue.  The department that uses to freak me out now is one of my favorite to work in because most of it is about problem solving, investigation, and research.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Resume Building for the Next Level

On Tuesday of next week I will be speaking at the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies (IACAA) conference.  This is the third year I have been invited and paid to speak at this event.  I am looking forward to sharing everything I know on building a solid resume.  Not just the document itself but all the KSAs you need to have in your pocket to put on your Linked In profile or an old fashioned paper resume.  The following is a glimpse at the advice I plan to share:

The session will explore KSA's necessary for an Emerging Leader and identify an action plan to get there. We will also take it to the next level by building an ideal resume that can sell in this era of social recruiting. Learn the latest sites where you can share the KSAs you have. 

Who Are The Emerging Leaders?
Corporate leaders typically look to the top-rated 3 percent to 5 percent of their employees as candidates for fast-tracking. The June 2010 Harvard Business Review, researchers Jay Conger, Douglas Ready and Linda Hill describe these individuals who "consistently and significantly outperform their peer groups in a variety of settings and circumstances. … They exhibit behaviors that reflect their companies' culture and values in an exemplary manner. Moreover, they show a strong capacity to grow and succeed throughout their careers within an organization—more quickly and effectively than their peer groups do."

Begin with the End in Mind/Sharpen the Saw/Set Goals
  • ·        The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey
  • ·        How to Figure out What you Want:
Discover Your Strengths
  • ·        Strengths Finder 2.0, Tom Rath
  • ·        Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath & Barry Conchie
Network & Learn on Social Media
  • ·        Online Twitter Chats: #JobChat; HFChat
  • ·        Online Twitter Streams:  #Jobs; , #CareerAdvice, #CareerMinded, #LinkedIn, #JobSeeker
Read from the Recruiters Perspective:
  • ·        Developing Leadership Talent: A Guide to Succession Planning & Leadership Development --
  • ·        Inspirational Leadership: A Foundation Paper --
Expand Your Horizons
  • ·        Take positions outside of your specialty
  • ·        Increase your education
Develop a Winning Resume
  • ·        Even for Internal Postings
  • ·        Not everyone in the company knows your history
  • ·        Pinterest Resumes
  • ·        Linked In Resume
Resume Template Resources
  • ·        Word (File, New, Resumes)
  • ·        MSWord Template Website