Working for moody managers

Any employee would have come across a situation of having to work for a moody manager, or if he already has not, is sure to at some point of time in his or her career. So, who is a moody manager, and how does it feel to work with him?

Unpredictable

As we all know, moody people are those whose moods are not always stable or predictable. Such people are not easy to get along with, because although they are not necessarily violent or nitpicky; they are prone to be erratic in their reactions to any given situation. Just when you think you are going to get a pat on the back for a job, you could find out that he could pick up what you thought was a negligible error. If you are lucky, you could escape a dressing down when you thought you had it. This hide-and-seek obviously cannot go on forever, and some method has to be devised to make sure that you know what to expect of him.

Study your boss well

Some people are moody no doubt; but it doesn’t mean that they do not have their likes and dislikes. Take your time and study that person well.  If you have noticed that a certain way of presenting a problem will not irritate him; you could start that way the next time you have to make a presentation. Of course, this does not mean that you have to be servile. Presenting yourself in a way that is not likely to trigger a reaction in your boss is not the same as being a toady. You can always get back to where you want the conversation to get after you have made the first impression.

Write down points

When you make points of a meeting, it is difficult for your moody boss to hold you accountable for not doing something he did not assign you. You will have direct proof of the work that was assigned to you, so that takes another reason off your boss to blow his top.

Allow the manager to cool off

Most people who are moody are not generally known to carry grudges. They get moody one moment and get normal the next. When your manager starts to blast off for some or another reason (or no reason, too), the ideal thing to do is to remain silent at that time. If you start reacting, the conversation will grow into becoming a futile argument and a total waste of time. Once the person blows his top off, he is bound to come back to normal. Just allow that to happen and start afresh. And on your part; don’t think of getting back at every moody outburst. In fact, moody people are a good thing to come across because they inadvertently help us sharpen our people skills!

 

References:

http://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-a-Moody-Boss

http://ramblingsouthernmonkey.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/moody-managers/

 

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http://www.trainhr.com
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What is the ideal number of working hours for the IT industry?

One of the big debates of our times, in this information age, is about the ideal number of working hours. Graduating from a campestral worker to an industrial worker to the information age worker; man has come a long way. The most important component that spurs this debate is the Internet, which has bridged the distance between continents, but is yet to substitute our presence in the office.

The myth of longer working hours being more productive

Working for more hours and churning out more in terms of productivity was a dictum that was very well suited for the industrial era. Factory workers would be involved in doing manual work on machines that were cast. So, if a factory worker wanted to double production of unit A, the only mechanism of doing this was to work double the time. This was simple and logical, because there was no way a machine could do in 1-1/2 hours what it was doing in two, because the machine was designed to give a level of output with given inputs over a fixed period of time with the same level of effort.

IT is the new paradigm

That has changed with information technology. Are we in the same age where we have to stand for ten hours a day to whip a product out of a die cast? Information age work is all about being cerebral. It is all about creativity. There is nothing like more working hours meaning more results. In fact, quite the contrary is true. It is well known –any IT worker will vouch for this fact –that energy levels cannot be sustained at the same level for the entire duration of the working day. It keeps fluctuating, and the best productive work is when the energy level is high. Once it drops, all the creative juices dry up, and it takes quite a while to replenish them.

Flexible working hours, the solution

Given this scenario, to get the best out of information age employees, the organization should ideally permit flexible working hours. IT organizations can ask their employees to take breaks when their energy or creative levels drop and ask them to work when they feel rejuvenated. This sounds too theoretical, but if IT businesses show towards working hours the same flexibility and openness they have showed in embracing technology; their own productivity soars.

Needed –flexibility of outlook

It is not easy to synchronize the best spell of the working day of the various employees, but over time, the business can work out a way of getting the best out of its people with flexible working hours. It is worth the effort, because if they are forced to spend nine hours at the cubicle, most of this time is spent doing unnecessary work.This is all the most possible in a scenario where the web is the factory and the Internet is the die cast.

Contact Details

TrainHR
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http://www.trainhr.com
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Is there such a thing as strategic HR?

Strategic management, we all know, is all about making far-reaching decisions that impact the organization in a big way, and in the long term. Strategic decisions are what take the organization forward, in that they are well-thought out, deliberate and accountable. A shoe company that is in business for a couple of decades may decide to expand. That is a strategic decision, because expansion cannot happen in a void. It has to be backed by investing important resources, and strategic decisions impact the business’ bottom line.

HR’s role

So, where does HR come in? In order to answer this question, we have to understand that any strategic decision or change an organization brings about is predicated on its people. People are any organization’s most important resource, even if it is a purely non-service oriented organization or a product-oriented one.  In the case of a technology-oriented organization, for instance, technology is not plucked out of nature. It has to be developed entirely by people. The same goes for other products, too. So, since it is people that constitute the organization’s core; human resources should be the department facilitating and reinforcing the centrality of people to the organization.

How does HR do this?

If HR has to be a strategic partner in an organization; which it actually is, it has to be on the same page as the top management. HR should be with the top management when it takes crucial decisions. When strategic decisions are taken; they revolve round people. A decision to diversify business, for instance, has to be taken in consultation with HR, because it takes people to do this. The top management should assess the strength its people bring into the diversification activity. This is where HR can help. It should have a clear understanding of what is needed; how to go about it; how many people are needed; the experience level needed from these people; how long the activity could take, among many other such decisions.

HR has to be on its toes

For this to happen; HR has to be smart and completely in tune with the organization’s vision and strengths. An out-of-sync HR that is mired with mere formalities will be a major impediment to the whole process. On the other hand, when HR is dapper and takes intuitive, smart and quick decisions, it can be a great strategic partner in the organization’s growth.

References:

http://www.oup.com/uk/orc/bin/9780199216468/haberberg_ch02.pdf

http://expertscolumn.com/content/what-strategic-human-resource-management

http://ezinearticles.com/?What-is-Strategic-Human-Resource-Management?&id=549585

http://www.citehr.com/10060-what-strategic-hr.html

 

Contact Details

TrainHR
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http://www.trainhr.com
Phone:800-385-1627
Fax: 302-288-6884
43337 Livermore Common | Fremont| CA | USA | 94539

 

Want to be a global employee? Think of these facts.

Who doesn’t like the idea of being a globetrotter? Given the opportunity, it is always a great feeling to work in different places, meet up with different people from different cultures and outlooks, and all the more rewarding when the company is paying for all this!

Adds value to the resume, but…

Any person who has worked in different global locations is sure to have a weightier CV than one who has not. It adds value, since such an employee is perceived as a “people” person, meaning a team player. It is automatically assumed that more exposure means ability to work with and handle people. Most of it is true, but when it comes to the employee himself, there are some reality checks that need to be carried out when working globally.

Check out some important facts:

Working for a fixed time for a project in a foreign locale is a great idea, since the worry of having to find a job upon landing in foreign shores is never there. But consider what even such people have to undergo when they shift base:

Shift in culture: This should rank as the most important factor a person has to consider when relocating to another country. The world is a very diverse place. Cultures keep varying from one place to another dramatically. Within cultural spaces, there are sub-cultures, which are a lot more obvious in what are termed developing economies. For instance, for an American to shift base to India is like transitioning from chalk to cheese. The culture are so different that even if the work is fine, this could rate as a factor in either demotivating or motivating the person to higher performance, depending on how he takes the culture.

Keep an eye on costs: Costs in a foreign location vary according to the local currency. It is tempting for a person from a developing country to migrate to the West. But while such a person may earn in the local currency; the spending too is done in the local currency. Obviously, one does not stay in the US, earn in dollars and spend in rupees! One has to keep a watch over how much he spends and how much he saves over a period of time, for the stay to become profitable.

Work schedule: This is another important factor, because of the difference in the times between continents. Even while working for a high-paying, cushy job; working at odd hours may be part of the package. Many people have found this a factor strong enough to make them decide them to forsake the job.

Working in or relocating to a foreign location has its pros and cons. The person wanting to take the plunge has to weigh these before arriving at a decision.

Reference:

http://careerhub.typepad.com/

 

Contact Details

TrainHR
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http://www.trainhr.com
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Understanding the nuances of a 360-degree feedback

It is now common to hear organizations talking in terms of a 360-degree feedback. Is this just another fashionable term to hit the market? Or does it have something to offer that is different from earlier yardsticks? What is a 360-degree feedback? How is it different from other assessments, and what difference does it actually do to an organization?

The term is rather self-explanatory. A 360-degree feedback is an all-round performance measurement index. What is the “all-round” aspect here? It simply means that in a 360-degree feedback, assessments are not done unilaterally and at one source. This leads us to what it actually is: It is a multi-layered assessment technique.

Why a 360-degree feedback?

The aim of a 360-degree feedback is to ensure that no prejudices creep in at the time of an assessment. In this sense, this certainly is a proper tool, because in the event of one single manager or supervisor making an assessment, there is every chance that it could be shaded, for good or for bad. What if the employee being assessed is really good, but is not on good terms with the reporting manager? Should she suffer a negative feedback because of this reason? Conversely, what if a really bad employee gets a good feedback because of the opposite reason –that of being in the good books of the reporting manager?

It is to avoid all these that a 360-degree feedback does not stop with one assessment. It goes up to higher levels, ranging from four to even sometimes, eight supervisors, if the hierarchy permits that. The idea of a 360-degree feedback at its core is to ensurethat transparent and accountablesteps are taken.

Drawbacks

Despite all its good intentions, it should be admitted that a 360-degree feedback is far from perfect. Why? One, it could lead to bad blood between the reporting manager and his higher ups whenever there is a serious difference of opinion regarding a candidate’s assessment. It is natural for the immediate, reporting manager to feel slighted when his assessments are shot down by people to whom the candidate rarely reports directly.

Secondly, the selection of the persons doing the assessment could play a major role in the accuracy of the assessment. In this sense, it is akin to a trial by jury, where neutral and disinterested persons are selected to aid in decision making. When employees whose objectivity is doubtful are selected to carry out the assessment; it leads to faultiness, defeating the purpose of having an all-round assessment.

Once an organization takes steps to correct these factors, a 360-degree assessment could be a great tool for the organization.

 

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TrainHR
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Tolerating employees’ mistakes

One of the big issues a manager confronts is in the extent he has to tolerate mistakes from his subordinates. How much of it does he tolerate, and when does he decide to get back at the colleague? Mistakes of what nature does he tolerate? And, what is the type and level of punishment he metes out to erring employees?

Rooted in the personality

Committing and tolerating mistakes has many psychological dimensions to it. Often, it is dependent on the manager’s or the subordinate’s upbringing.  People who have grown up in a stern atmosphere normally think that mistakes should never be tolerated. Some even see punishing colleagues for foibles as a way of getting back at their own tormentors in their early years.

At the same time, some subordinates like to keep repeating mistakes if they have cultivated what psychologists call the “anti-social” behavior, which makes them obstinate and insensitive to rebukes and chides. They sometimes go against orders or the norm simply to get a “kick” out of it. So, who is to be blamed for it?

How lenient should a manager be?

How lenient a manager should be is dependent on the gravity of the mistake and the person who committed it. Even when a mistake is committed unwillingly, it may have major repercussions for the organization. The way to prevent this is to be judicious in handing over responsibilities to subordinates.

Also, the mistake has to be weighed in relation to the employee’s nature. When an employee committed to the organization makes a mistake, it is more likely to be tolerated and forgiven than one that is made by a person of dubious commitment and loyalty.

Never make it personal

Good managers draw a line between the personal and the professional. They separate the act from the person when giving a dressing down. This too, they resort to only as a final step after giving sufficient changes to improve. They address the root of the problem, which is the reason for which the employee is making mistakes repeatedly, and try to fix it there. Bad managers cry foul at the first instance, thinking that a firm way of dealing with mistakes at the beginning will act as a deterrent and prevent future mistakes. This may work for a while, but will usually result in cultivating negative feelings in the subordinate.

Make them understand

The bottom line is that irrespective of their outlooks; managers should tolerate mistakes that are unintentionally and honestly done, and make the erring employee understand the consequences of these mistakes. This goes a long way in reducing errors and bringing about good manager-subordinate relations, which go a long way in contributing to the organization.

Reference:

http://brittlehr.blogspot.in/2009/10/handling-employee-mistakes.html

 

Contact Details

TrainHR
webinars@trainhr.com
http://www.trainhr.com
Phone:800-385-1627
Fax: 302-288-6884
43337 Livermore Common | Fremont| CA | USA | 94539

 

The importance of work-life balance

The corporate world is rife with the expression, “work-life balance”. This concept has become necessary because more often than not; work becomes a major cause of stress for employees. Often, people work long hours neglecting the care they need to give to other equally important aspects of life, especially family.

Why is it needed?

Why is work-life balance important? It is simply because the two are intertwined with each other. There is no life without work, and there is no work without life. Also, it is increasingly being realized in the fast-paced world, especially in the west and in work-centered societies like Japan that work; while being a very important component of life, is not the only one. Nor is it the most important one, to many people. Many people force themselves so much into working for the monetary and other benefits it brings that they often end up becoming mental wrecks in pursuit of a goal that may eventually be a mirage. Hence, it is being realized that the way to go forward is to temper it, so that the employee remains sane and keeps a sense of balance.

Ways of doing it

Work-life balance can be achieved in many ways. Some employees may find that they will find a sense of balance if they are allowed the time reach office after leaving his or her child at school and picking it from school and leaving it back at home. This may require offering such an employee flexible working hours.

Some other employees may feel that the prospect of having to travel long hours to reach office may be too taxing on their resources, and may like to work from home, and this may be their ideal work-life balance scenario.

Yet others may feel the need for carrying out social service in the evenings or serving lunch at a community service center, for which they may like to be let off for an extra duration.  Thus, there is no single item that makes a person feel satisfied.

This is not to suggest that a person has a 50-50 balance of the two; it is just that more space is given to the aspects of life not related to work.

Not fixed

Another important fact to note about work-life balance is that it is not rigid and is likely to change as the employee’s age and other factors change. There is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to this concept. The bottom line is that the balance should be achieved; meaning one of these should only aid the other and not hinder it.

References:

http://www.worklifebalance.com/worklifebalancedefined.html)

http://www.catererglobal.com/careers/7001/10117465/importance-of-a-good-work-life-balance

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2011/03/five-important-points-about-flexibility-and-worklife-balance/