Lessons On Engagement From My Native American Sister And Iraq War Veteran

PhotoBlogMelissa1This guest blog has been provided by Kevin Sheridan, best-selling author and innovator in the field of Employee Engagement.

Recently I went home to the Native American Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin on which I was raised.  I always find it so grounding to go home to the “Res” as it is known to the locals.  It was especially grounding this trip because I got to spend two and a half peaceful hours with my Chippewa little sister, Melissa Doud, on her new pontoon boat.  Although I am not Native American, and not her blood brother, we share kindred spirits and souls, and much family and Native American history, not the least of which was dancing in the “Pow Wows” for the white tourists in the summer.

Thus, it was with great emotion that I listened to Melissa talk about her 20-year defense of our country as an active in the army, her one Iraq “tour” and the subsequent PTSD, and her divorce, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts.   Melissa shared three key factors on how she made it through this challenging time of her life, all of which are also helpful to employees facing similar despair in their jobs:

  • She kept forging ahead, trying to stay as active and positive as humanly possible.
  • She asked for help, especially from fellow combat veterans, support groups, and therapists.
  • She used her children for both emotional anchoring and inspiration, especially recognizing that restoring her state of mental health was essential for her kids’ survival.
  • Wow.  No matter what side of the current kneeling or no kneeling NFL drama you are on, I hope you can salute military veterans like Melissa and what they have done to protect our rights to free speech and democracy.

As a special thank you to this special veteran, I implore you listen to Bullet Dress on Soundcloud.)  In the song, she references her Chippewa name, Animikiikwe, pronounced (Ah-nimi-key-kwe), which means “Thunder Woman” or “The Storm is Coming.”

PhotoBlogMelissa2

With unending gratitude to all veterans who have served our country, Gaagige Nisayenh 

(The Chippewa name given to me by Melissa this trip, which means “Forever Brother.”)

Kevin Sheridan is an Internationally-recognized Key-Note Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of employee engagement.   He spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, helping some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long- overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement.  His book, “Building a Magnetic Culture,” made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.  He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers. 

Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior.  He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies. Kevin can be reached via email at kevin@kevinsheridanllc.com, on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinsheridan1 and on twitter @kevinsheridan12. His webpage is www.kevinsheridanllc.com.

Sexual Harassment: The Workplace’s Dirty Little Secret

Sad Woman Sitting On chair With calculator And note book account by serious expenses
This guest blog has been provided by Kevin Sheridan, best-selling author and innovator in the field of Employee Engagement

Recent headlines have been littered with numerous stories of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and rape.   Harvey Weinstein.  Google.  Uber.  Silicon Valley.  SoFi.  Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes of Fox News.  Three hundred and ten accusations against filmmaker James Toback.  Mark Halperin.  Taylor Swift allegedly being groped by radio host David Mueller.  And for real, our 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush?

Sadly, sexual harassment is so pervasive that we sometimes don’t see it.  Gender inequality in the workplace has gotten better over the years, but it’s still a far cry from giving men and women equal opportunities.  As a result, despicable men often use their power and influence to coerce and take sexual advantage of women who simply want to advance their careers.  This puts women in an incredibly difficult place.  They are forced to decide whether to ignore inappropriate behavior that truly should be punished, or risk their reputation and career by confronting or speaking out against someone who has a much more powerful position.  Many women choose to ignore inappropriate behavior, which makes these despicable men think they can get away with continuing to act like creeps and criminals.  It’s turned into a disgusting cycle.  (Hollywood is the perfect example.  So many people knew about the entertainment industry’s dirty little secret, but did not report it.)

As the father of two intelligent and talented girls who will be entering the workforce in the near future, the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace terrifies me.  It’s hard to know where to start fixing such a big problem, but a good place to focus is gender equality in the workforce.  If more women hold positions of power and earn similar wages as men, the power balance will shift and sexual harassment should decrease.  We need to start by questioning the status quo.

Shockingly, nearly 50% of men think that when just one in ten senior leaders of their company is a woman, that’s enough.  Nearly as remarkable is that roughly a third of woman agree. In addition, men and women have very disparate perspectives on that progress:

  • My company is doing what it takes to improve gender diversity.1
    • Men: 63% agree
    • Women: 49% agree
  • My company often or always addresses disrespectful behavior toward women quickly.1
    • Men: 55% agree
    • Women: 34% agree

If we can change how we think about gender inequality and demand better, progress can move quicker than the current glacial pace.

So, what can YOU do to correct this injustice?  Here are 8 concrete steps:

  1. Make a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment and gender inequality part of your corporate culture.
  2. If you’re a senior HR leader, make a compelling business case for gender diversity and link it both to business results and employee engagement.
  3. Help women feel comfortable coming forward so that instances of harassment are reported to Human Resources, the harasser’s manager, the Equal Opportunity Employment Officer, and if applicable, police authorities.
  4. Safeguard that all incidences are documented, and if possible, videotaped. Be as specific as possible, recording dates, times, places, and possible witnesses.  Also record who the incident was reported to, as well as their response.
  5. Make use of your company resources. Check the company handbook and follow the related company policy accordingly.  If company policies are lacking, ask that they be updated.
  6. Recognize the critical role managers play. Given that managers make the day-to-day decisions that influence women’s careers, they are in the best position to protect and support their fair and equal treatment.  Acknowledge that managers may need more training to properly address issues.
  7. Support coworkers who have experienced harassment and encourage them to come forward and report what happened.
  8. Publicly share your experience using the hashtag #MeToo. The more women who do so the better, since it will give the world an accurate sense of the magnitude of the problem.

No company can afford to leave top talent left out, ignored, and treated unfairly.  And in a country founded on the value of equality, everyone deserves a fair chance, regardless of his or her gender, race, values, background, or beliefs.

Source 1:  LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. Women In The Workplace 2017 Survey of over 70,000 men and women

 

Kevin Sheridan is an Internationally-recognized Key-Note Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of employee engagement.   He spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, helping some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long- overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement.  His book, “Building a Magnetic Culture,” made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.  He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers. 

Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior.  He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies. Kevin can be reached via email at kevin@kevinsheridanllc.com, on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinsheridan1 and on twitter @kevinsheridan12. His webpage is www.kevinsheridanllc.com.

The Business Case For Leadership Development & Learning

Hot discussion in the meeting. Serious business partners are using brainstorm method to achieve success in their start up


This guest blog has been provided by Kevin Sheridan, best-selling author and innovator in the field of Employee Engagement

 

 

ONCE YOU STOP LEARNING, YOU START DYING.”
Albert Einstein

It is not uncommon for Chief Learning Officers (CLOs) to struggle trying to secure funds and commitment for leadership development programs, despite the value that organizations see from such programs.  I’ve been surprised and disappointed to read so many recent articles that assail the value of these programs versus the amount of money spent on them, including a Wall Street Journal article entitled “So much training, so little to show for it,” and a 2016 Harvard Business Review article calling leadership development programs “the great train robbery.”  In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.  This blog is written to specifically arm you with the cold hard facts illuminating the immense value of leadership development programs.

A 2015 joint study by The Conference Board and Development Dimensions International (DDI), found that CEOs of global companies ranked leadership development efforts as one of their top five human capital strategies.  In addition, the study highlighted that 82% of the people reporting to a manager who had been through leadership development training witnessed that manager’s  positive behavioral changes.  Improvements included leadership skills such as performance management, managing conflict, fairness, communication, building trust, influencing, and leading change.  Further, 81% of those reporting to recently-trained managers said they were more engaged in their jobs.

Here are some other very compelling and scientific metrics from the same study that prove the incredible value of leadership development and learning, all from the organizations that reported post-training changes in leadership behaviors:

  • 114% higher sales
  • 71% higher customer satisfaction
  • 42% better operational efficiency
  • 48% more product/work quality
  • 300% additional business referrals
  • 233% extra cross-selling
  • 36% higher productivity
  • 90% lower absenteeism
  • 49% reduced overtime work/pay
  • 105% less grievances
  • 11% lower downtime
  • 90% less rework
  • 60% fewer workplace accidents
  • 77% lower turnover

It goes without saying that when armed with these convincing statistics, any Chief Learning Officer should be able to secure both funding and commitment for future learning and leadership development programs.

 

Kevin Sheridan is an Internationally-recognized Key-Note Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of employee engagement.   He spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, helping some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long- overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement.  His book, “Building a Magnetic Culture,” made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.  He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers. 

Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior.  He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies. Kevin can be reached via email at kevin@kevinsheridanllc.com, on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinsheridan1 and on twitter @kevinsheridan12. His webpage is www.kevinsheridanllc.com.

5 Ways to Work With The Jerk in Your Office

jerk

This guest blog has been provided by Kevin Sheridan, best-selling author and innovator in the field of Employee Engagement.


Hundreds of millions of workers worldwide dread going to work every day.  But for those workers who have to work with a jerk or workplace bully, going to work is unbearable.  All of these office jerks are Actively Disengaged employees whose behaviors contribute to their coworkers’ depression, anxiety, health problems, despair, and insomnia.  The workplace negativity becomes even more palpable if the jerk is one’s manager or a member of Senior Management.

Furthermore, the jerk’s toxic behavior becomes contagious, infecting many others who may begin mistreating others as well.  In addition, the watercooler gossip mongering is equally infectious, resulting in incorrect and obnoxious rumors spreading like wildfire.

Sadly, workplace jerks and bullies are not uncommon.  Forty-eight percent of workers report either having been bullied themselves or having witnessed workplace bullying.Let’s just say that it is not an accident that a relatively recent New York Times Best Seller was called “The No Asshole Rule.”  See my related and very relevant blog on The 19 Traits Of A Horrible Boss.

So what does one do when faced with having to work with an office jerk?  Here are 5 proven solutions:

  1. Keep your distance. Taking on the workplace bully is a very risky business, as most of these jerks are highly manipulative, cunning, and crafty in the most negative possible sense.  Staying away from the intolerable jerk is the most simple and effective solution.
  1. Document and report the jerk’s behaviors and actions. First, tell your boss and ask for his or her help.  Second, report the toxic behavior to the Human Resources department, especially if the behaviors conflict with the organization’s policies, mission, and values.  Save all emails and voicemails so you have evidence in writing.  In short, ask for help.
  1. Re-frame the jerk’s behavior into a less threatening and more positive light. This solution is exactly how cognitive behavioral therapists in healthcare help patients interpret their diseases and illnesses as realities that are less upsetting, or natural challenges to “take on,” or beat.  A great example is cancer patients who are taught to adopt a mindset akin to: “I’m going to kick this cancer’s ass.”

Emotional detachment via protective reframing allows you to tune out and become emotionally distant from the jerks.  It has also been scientifically proven that when people reframe current difficulties into the distant future, they experience less depression, sadness, guilt, and anxiety.2

If you work with an office jerk, try any of the following examples of reframing their negativity:

  • Feel sorry for the jerk. “There must be something really horrible going on in their personal life.”
  • “He’s just being a jerk and this is what jerks do.”
  • “I know she can be a jerk, but I have learned quite a bit from her, particularly how not to treat others.”
  • Minimize the nastiness. “In the whole scheme of things, this is really a small matter.  I’ve climbed higher mountains.”
  • “This situation is not my fault and I’m not going to let it consume me.”
  • “This too shall pass.”
  1. Take a deep breath and go for a walk. Controlling your anger towards the jerk is critical to staying engaged and productive in your job.  Let the person play the role of being the office jerk, and keep that role separate from your work role.  To overcome the jerk’s nastiness, remember and embrace the aspects of your job and home life that make you happy.  Vent about the jerk at home if necessary, which will help you release your workplace tension.  One other obvious and viable alternative is to simply consider taking a different job somewhere else.
  1. Kill them with kindness. Turn your torturer into a friend.  (Sure, you are pretending, but being extra nice completely throws the jerk off guard).  When you take the high road and reflect niceness instead of nastiness, the jerk’s behavior only becomes more out of place.  If passing them in the hallway, show the jerk a great smile and let out a nice, positive, “Good morning!” or “Hey, how’s your day going?” 

Lastly, it is also important that you look in the mirror and be reflective—you might be the office schmuck!  If crass or judgmental comments have gone too far lately and you are indeed a jerk, it probably won’t be easy to admit it to others or yourself.  However, it’s important that you take actions to correct your behavior before it’s too late.  My friend, Ana Dutra, wrote a great book about this called Lessons in Leadershit: Detoxing the Workplace.  This book helps you not only improve your working relationships with jerks and bullies, but teaches you how to avoid becoming a jerk or bully yourself.

Sources:

1Zogby Analytics/Workplace Bullying Institute Online Survey, 2014.  Note that “Bullying” was defined as these types of workplace mistreatment:  abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, humiliating, work sabotage, or verbal abuse.

2University of California – Berkley Psychology Study, 2014

 

Kevin Sheridan is an Internationally-recognized Key-Note Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of employee engagement.   He spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, helping some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long- overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement.  His book, “Building a Magnetic Culture,” made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.  He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers. 

Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior.  He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies. Kevin can be reached via email at kevin@kevinsheridanllc.com, on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinsheridan1 and on twitter @kevinsheridan12. His webpage is www.kevinsheridanllc.com.

Meet Your New Coworkers: Robots

This guest blog has been provided by Kevin Sheridan, best-selling author and innovator in the field of Employee Engagement.

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Recent research has shown the dramatic degree to which robots are replacing people in the workplace.  In fact, it’s an alarming rate, especially considering that robots can be much more efficient than people.  With each additional robot, U.S. employment is reduced by 5.6 workers.  Furthermore, every robot added to the workforce per 1,000 workers reduces wages by as much as .25 to .5 percent.  And it is a trend that is likely to continue, with experts predicting that the number of employed robots (yes, employed), will quadruple by 2025.These fully autonomous machines do not require human supervision and can be programmed to perform myriad tasks, such as parts assembly, materials handling, painting, and welding.

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The #1 Driver of Employee Engagement: Recognition

This guest blog has been provided by Kevin Sheridan, best-selling author and innovator in the field of Employee Engagement.

Scientifically proven through Key Driver Analyses done by multiple employee research organizations, nothing beats recognizing employees for their hard work.  In partnership with the ATD, this video reveals:

  • The single greatest mistake organizations make vis-à-vis Recognition.
  • The three-step recipe for making Recognition efforts most impactful.
  • The importance of establishing a peer-to-peer Recognition platform.

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6 Easy Ways to Engage Salespeople

This guest blog has been provided by Kevin Sheridan, best-selling author and innovator in the field of Employee Engagement.

Last week I conducted a Leadership Development workshop for a large Fortune 500 company on the East Coast.  The workshop centered on the very hot topic of how to successfully engage a sales force and reap the benefits of that engagement.  The sales managers and salespeople attending the event left on a real high, fully ready to take their game to a whole new level.

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