Hello everyone. Welcome to Creating a Culture of Improved Employee Engagement. This is the first installment of the 19-- excuse me the 2019 Deer Oaks Supervisor Excellence Webinar Series. This year's series is focused entirely on employee engagement. We have four topics scheduled. Today's topic, of course, Creating a Culture of Improved Employee Engagement, followed by three additional quarterly topics. In June, we'll be coming back with How to Effectively Onboard and Engage Your Employees. In September, we'll be presenting How to Become an Effective coach, A Key to Employee Engagement. And then last but not least, in December, we'll be ending the series with How to Motivate Your Employees to be Engaged in Their Work.
Each one of these sessions is being presented live twice for the convenience of all the folks we partner with here at Deer Oaks. And so I'm glad that you're with us today live. They're all also being recorded. And so if anyone that you know missed any of the live presentations, they can certainly take advantage of the webinar via recording. If you would like copies of today's slides or any slides within the series, please hit reply to the GoToWebinar invitation for today and just request the slides. We'll be happy to send the slide deck out to you. We can also send you the link to the recording, if you'd like that as well.
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All right, folks, let's go ahead and get started. So we have three objectives for our time together today. Number one is I want to identify together and review the benefits of having an engaged work team. And the research is profound. I can't wait to share it with you here in a moment. Number two, I want to review the key management practices that we should be thinking about utilizing on a day to day basis that really lead to employees becoming more motivated and engaged.
And then last but not least, I want to discuss the importance of using a collaborative coaching approach when we interact with our employees. When we collaborate with employees, it makes them feel respected and included. And when that happens, when we have those kinds of effective collaborative conversations, employees are naturally going to be more motivated and more engaged in the work that they do for you.
Let me start with a quote from Scarlett Surveys. If you're interested in learning a little bit more about the research that's been done around employee engagement, Scarlet Surveys is a great place to visit. Visit their website site. What they quoted here I really thought was a really nice kind of a high level definition of what an employee engagement really is. It's very well said. "Employee engagement is a measurable degree of an employee's positive or negative emotional attachment to their job, colleagues, and organization."
Now obviously, we're looking for positive employee engagement, right. We want people to get bonded with our organization. We want them to care about our mission and want to help us to meet our mission. We want them to want to be here. We want them to want to do the work that we're doing at our respective organizations. We want them to be bonded with their colleagues. We want them to be emotionally invested in working here. There's so many benefits to when employees are engaged. So I'm excited to share the research with you next.
All right, I'm going to talk about two different research studies that are equally impactive in really helping any of us as supervisors and managers and leaders to really want to do more work in this area, to really want to focus on what it takes to have a more engaged work team. Let me start first with Dale Carnegie Training Company. This is an organization that I think very highly of. They did a lot of research around employee engagement over the years.
One particular survey that they found-- and this is not on the slide, but I want to share it-- said that the number one reason that an employee gets engaged on the job, which means, again, getting emotionally invested, wanting to give 110%, and really willing to go the extra mile for you and for you for the organization, is that they know that their boss cares about them. So we're going to talk a lot today about building, you know, caring relationships with our employees. Every supervisor really needs to be thinking about that you are the central part of engaging your workforce. And we'll get more into those specifics in a moment.
Additionally, some of the information Dale Carnegie came up with that was really remarkable is that when an employee is highly engaged, again, totally invested, wanting to work for the organization, you know, emotionally committed to the organization's mission, you know, bonded to the team, bonded to their coworkers, you know, wanting the organization to succeed, they are 480% more committed to helping the overall organization find success, achieve its mission, meet its goals. I mean, that's pretty significant, right? I mean, that's remarkable.
The second statistic I wanted to share is that highly engaged employees are 250% more likely to recommend improvements, to take the initiative to say, hey, this situation over here or this process or procedure over here isn't working well, or this product maybe has some defects, or this protocol maybe isn't the best practice, and willing to take the initiative to come forward and recommend improvement. And of course, we want that, we want our folks to-- our employees are our best asset. We want our employees to come forward and help us to be the best we can be as organization.
The third statistic I wanted to share is these folks are going to be your emissaries out on the street. They are 370% more likely to recommend their organization to others. So they're going to talk. You know, they're going to speak very highly of their workplace. They're going to tell other people, you should come to work at my organization. You know, we're awesome. And we've got great goals. We've got great people. We're really committed to doing things right, committed to making a difference in the world. And so, of course, engaged employees are going to really be on the streets, you know, talking very highly about their organization to others.
The second bunch of data or gathering of data, cluster of data that I found that I want to share with you is from Globoforce. Globoforce is another organization that does similar research. Now this research is about happy employees. But if you want to think about it for a moment, there's a lot of things that are synonymous between being happy on the job, enjoying your job, satisfied with your job, and being engaged in your work. And so that's why I think this is very appropriate to share as well.
So I'm going to be talking about happy and engaged employees. So happy and engaged employees stay twice as long with their organizations as other employees. So you're going to retain your people longer. You're going to have a lower turnover when people are happy and engaged.
The second statistic is they're 85% more efficient in their work. They're going to be focused on doing quality work. They're going to be more efficient. They're going to be taking responsibility to do a good job. And they're going to be more efficient in getting the job done. I mean, that's obviously where we're trying to get to, right? We want the output of our employees to be of quite high quality. We want them to take pride in their work. We want them to be fully productive. And that all happens when people are happy and engaged, at least at a much higher rate.
Happy and engaged employees are 10 times less likely to take sick leave. And I'm not talking about people who are really sick with the flu and need to be home in bed. But I think all of us can recognize that there are days when we were not at our best, maybe we just don't-- maybe we were fighting a bug or we're just not as-- you know, we're not feeling really, really healthy on a particular day. When people are engaged, they're much less likely to call out on those days, because they're committed to their organization. They enjoy their job. They like what they do. They like the people they work with. And that's what we want.
Now of course, we're not talking about having people really sick coming to work. I mean, if someone's got the flu and is really sick, they need to stay home and stay in bed, of course, and rest and get well. But we're talking about those in between times when people are, you know, maybe fighting something, maybe not feeling 100%. But because they love their work, they're much less likely to call out on those days.
And then last but not least, people who are happy and engaged are 58% more likely to help their colleagues. They are good team players. They want to help. They want to have the backs of their coworkers. They want to help. They want to help their team succeed.
OK, so now let me talk about several of the best practices that we can use as leaders and supervisors to really help our employees to want to be more engaged and want to be more motivated to do a great job for our organization. So first, let's talk about the importance of having strong relationships with our team. I think this is really key.
And I want to start this section of our presentation today by talking about some of the Gallup research. There's a book out there by Marcus Buckingham called First, Break All The Rules. It's a great book. I highly recommend it. Gallup has done a lot of research around employee engagement, actually around the country. And they've got a large sample size of data. So it's very reliable.
And one of the things that's said at the very beginning of First, Break All The Rules is that regardless of why someone comes to work for an organization-- good benefits, interesting work-- that how long they stay and how productive they're going to be while they're there has most to do with their relationship with their immediate supervisor.
So I want us to remember that you folks are difference makers. When you're a supervisor, when you're a manager, when you're a leader in an organization, you're a difference maker. You're a game changer for your team. If you're effective in your relationships with your employees, if you connect well with them, if you demonstrate that you care about them as people, if you support them, if you have their backs, you know, if you're there for them, if you're collaborative and respectful as you interact with them, your employees are going to want to do a good job for you.
This is something that I learned really the hard way. I've been managing people now, I don't mind sharing, for over 25 years. Early on in my management career, 20 plus years ago, I didn't have the skills that I have today. I had to learn. I had to get some great training. And I had to learn through trial and error. But early on in my interactions with my staff, I wasn't as focused on connection and spending good quality time with people. I was more focused on my to do list and getting things done.
There's a lot of research out there that talks about task management versus people management, that leaders that are more focused on managing people, connecting with people, having quality interactions with their staff day to day, their staff tends to be more motivated to do a great job on their tasks. Where managers that are more focused on task, more focused, you know, getting down into the weeds, telling people what to do and how to do it and not as focused on being sensitive about being respectful and inviting people's input into the work, collaborating with your employees on how to solve problems.
So people that are more task focused and more directive in their approach, they tend not to build relationships that are as strong. And because of that, their employees oftentimes are not as motivated to do their best work. And so I think it's really important for us to recognize that. Yes, the tasks need to get done. But first and foremost, we need to build strong bonds with our employees and spend a good amount of time every day having quality interactions.
The biggest change in my management approach in the last 25 years is early on I was very focused on task. And if I would talk to people, a lot of my interactions would be brief, very brief, just focused on getting something accomplished. Now, not to say that we shouldn't get things done. We need to get things done. But I didn't realize that if I would have spent some of that time actually bonding with my staff, connecting with them, demonstrating that I care, asking their opinions about how we should get things done and truly collaborating with them instead of just telling them what to do, I would have had a much more motivated team early on.
And I also had higher turnover earlier in my career. And I did identify. As I started to take a step back and say, hey, I've got too much turnover here. And I don't have the team as motivated at times as I'd like them to be. What I need to do differently? So I really had to take a step back and assess. I needed to change my approach a little bit. I needed to get some better training.
So nowadays the biggest change in my management approach is I focus more on having positive daily interaction with the team. And when I do that, what I find is the team then is more motivated because they feel cared about. They feel like I'm working with them and I'm talking with them, instead of talking at them. I'm more collaborative, instead of directive, telling people what to do and how to do it. I'm much more respectful of their input and their opinions. I find that the staff is much more motivated to do a good job.
And the turnover on my team nowadays, as you know, is very, very low. And I know it's not that I'm the best boss in the world. It's that I got better training and I've learned how to be more effective and more collaborative in the way I interact with others.
And so along those lines, when you do interact with your staff, you really want to get to know them as well as you can. Get to know them as individuals. Get to know what their needs are, what's important to them, what are their interests, what are their career goals, what kind of work do they enjoy doing. Get to know them as people. I mean, do they have children? What's important to them? You know, what's their favorite sports team?
I just think it's really important for every supervisor with their direct reports to get to know our team as well as possible and spend time with them. That's the best way to demonstrate that you care about them as people. And so let's keep that in mind as in how we spend our time every day.
Next, let's talk about giving employees input into their work. So this is another really, really important piece that can be a game changer in terms of the motivation of a team. And again, I wasn't doing this very well early on. I wasn't spending a lot of time soliciting employee input into goals, into work plans, and the problems that needed to be solved. Early on in my management career, I was really pretty directive. And you can tell, I'm a type A person. And I talk a lot. And you know, I'm an extrovert.
But what I would end up doing, again, is when I would make assignments, I would do most of the talking. If there was a problem that needed to be solved, I was giving most of the direction to the staff about how it needed to be addressed. And I really hadn't learned to collaborate effectively. And interestingly, as I got better training and I started to realize the number one thing-- this is great research from SHRM, Society for Human Resources Management-- the number one thing American employees want when they come to work every day is they want respect. They want respect from their organizations. And they want respect from their leaders.
And if you think about this, if you're always telling someone what to do and how to do it and not asking for their opinion-- not asking them, you know, saying something like, what do you think we should do here? You have experience with this. Or if there's a problem, not going to a staff member that you know is capable and saying, how do you think we ought to address this or fix this-- people are not going to feel as respected, especially if you're telling them what to do all the time.
I had a very interesting conversation last year with a young professional with a public sector organization. This guy probably is late 20s, early 30s, very well educated. He told me he had a master's degree. He was a city planner. And he was very demotivated. And I was talking to him. And I was asking him why he was feeling demotivated. He said, you know, I've worked for the-- he says, it's my boss. I've worked for the guy for two years, he says. And the guy treats me like I don't have a brain in my head. He says, he never asked my opinion about anything. The only time he ever talks to me is to tell me what to do.
And so he said, I don't know how much longer I want to stay here. He was real honest with me. He says the guy makes me feel like a tool. Those were his words. He says, he just bosses me around all the time. And I thought to myself, that was a great example of how people feel when their supervisors aren't treating them respectfully. They're not regularly asking them for their opinion.
Folks, supervisors should be-- I think most of you would agree with this-- supervisors should be assigning work at a higher level. And what I mean by that is, we should be assigning the what. But we should let the employees as much as possible have input into the how. Think about this. The employees are hired to do their job. Our job is to support and to lead, right, and certainly manage in different ways. But our job should not be to micromanage the way things get done. I think most of us recognize that micromanagement is not a very effective management style. Most people don't enjoy when their boss is telling them what to do and how to do it, especially when they're getting into the nitty-gritty of the details.
And so one of the ways I learned to be less directive was when I would make assignments of work. 20 years ago I was telling people what to do and how to do it, when I realized that doesn't work for most people. Most people want to know that you as their supervisor respect their capabilities and their ability to get things done and to know how to get things done. Now certainly, if you're training someone, that's one thing. That's a separate issue.
But on a day to day basis as you're making assignments, we ought to be talking about, here's the assignment, here's the scope, here's the expectation, here's the goal. And you have a lot of experience with this, what do you think we should do to get this done? What resources are necessary? And who should be on the project team? We should be asking on a regular basis, our team, we should be asking them for input into how the work's going to get done. I mean, that's what we hired them to do. We hired them to do the job.
Now, certainly you can collaborate. You can, as the supervisor, you can give input, absolutely. But we shouldn't be dictating, you know. Think about this, if you're dictating the what and the how, you're micromanaging. And so we need to make sure we're not down in the weeds like that. We should be giving assignments, but then allowing employees to give input, at least in part, into how the work's going to get done.
The next thing I want to talk about is the importance of being a good communicator. I mean, this is really key. Kevin Kruse wrote a book called Employee Engagement 2.0. I want to recommend that book. I'm going to say it again in case you're taking notes. Kevin Kruse is spelled K-R-U-S-E. He wrote this book called Employee Engagement 2.0. I love the book. It's easy to read. I've got the tablet version. I've referred to it many times.
He talks about the importance of communicating consistently. I love this term here on the slide to strive to over communicate. That as a leader, as a supervisor, as a manager, our goal really should be to keep our people informed. That's important. And so think about this. Employees get anxious if they don't know what's going on in an organization. Now there's times when we have access to proprietary information that we've been told not to share. And I'm not talking about that.
I'm just talking about just going out of our way to make sure that our team knows what's going on in the organization. If there are changes coming down the pipe, I want to keep them apprised of it, so they don't hear it, you know, through the rumor mill and get nervous about it. I want them to hear it from me. I want them to know. I want to give them feedback on a regular basis. I want them to know how I feel like they're performing.
I mean, employees will get nervous if they don't know how their boss thinks about them, if they're not sure if the boss is pleased with their work. I want to make sure that I'm giving them regular feedback. There's a lot of research about employees want regular feedback. And more than half of American employees in one study said they were not getting enough feedback on a regular basis from their boss. So we need to make sure we're regularly communicating.
Along those lines, make sure you're communicating appreciation for your team. Make sure you're giving recognition. 70% of American employees feel like they're not getting enough in appreciation from their supervisors or from their organization. And certainly people are getting paid, right. And sometimes supervisors have said, why do I need to thank them for a job well done? I mean, they're getting a paycheck. Well sure, we all are. Everyone's getting paid, right. We're not working for free.
But people, certainly from a motivation standpoint, when people feel appreciated, they will go the extra mile. They'll not only do a good job. They'll go even further for you. They even go above and beyond for you. So make sure you're taking the time to thank people for their efforts. I talked to one guy who worked for a parks and planning department for a public sector organization, he said at the end of every day-- he has seven direct reports-- at the end of every day, he shook every employee's hand. That's a practice of his. Shook every employee's hand and said, thanks for your hard work today. And I can't tell you, you know, he was telling me, he couldn't believe how far that went with people, how much they appreciated that.
All right, now in terms of regular communication, let's think about how we communicate. OK, so first of all, use two way communication. The thing that communicates disrespect more than anything else-- and I didn't realize this early on because I did it a lot-- is when you're talking at people. If you act as the supervisors as if you have all the answers and you're always calling all the shots, you're telling everyone how to fix every problem, you're making all the assignments and telling people how to get the work done. Not to say that you can't have input, you can. But if you're the one calling all the shots, think about that. If you have someone, you know, talking at you all the time, you're not going to feel like they appreciate your input or have respect for your capabilities and knowledge or are even interested in your ideas.
And so minimize one way broadcasting of information. Have more dialogues with your staff. That's what being collaborative is about. And again, this was a big change for me over the years. But I went from being-- I realized early on in my management career, I was doing 80% of the talking. And you know, people would not be as engaged. And it's almost like if the boss is doing all the talking, it almost creates a passivity in employee. They feel like, well, he's not going to ask for my ideas, so I'll just sit back and listen. And I didn't see as much motivation.
But when I learned how to collaborate-- I had to learn how to ask a lot of questions and ask people their opinion. My favorite question and probably something I say more than anything else on a weekly basis with everyone on the team is, what do you think? What are your thoughts? What do you think we should do here? And I just think it's really important for us to regularly have collaborative conversations with people.
And then along those lines, make sure you have some structure and that you establish a communications rhythm that people can-- you know, that is two way-- that people can depend on. And what Kevin Kruse talks about is that we all ought to have on a regular basis a structured one on one meetings with every direct report. And you know what he means by that is once a week, once every other week, once a month, whatever works for you based on the size of your team. I have three direct reports nowadays. So I can do weekly meeting. Some of you might have 10 direct reports. You might have to do it every other week or maybe once a month.
But to give someone some dedicated time where you can talk together. you can have a good dialogue. You can ask him how it's going. You can, you know, strengthen the relationship you have with that employee. You can show them an interest in who they are as a person, you know, their career goals and their lives. You can show an interest. It's really important to do that, I just think. I get more out of those conversations with my team than almost any other time.
In addition, you know, as Kevin Kruse also says, we ought to have a regular team meeting. Now some of you are leading teams and you don't have a team meeting, you might consider having a periodic team meeting. It doesn't have to be every week. I mean, you could do it once a month, once every other month or whatever. But team meetings have two important reasons. One is to make sure that you and the team are on the same page, right, so you're all getting the same information at the same time.
But it's also important for you to facilitate the team bonding with each other. It's really important for you to go around the room and have the team share what's going on in their respective part of the world. And so let's think about that. If you're not doing that now, you might think about regularly scheduling one on one meetings periodically and then periodic team meetings. I find that those two processes really keep things going for me.
It reminds me on a regular basis to keep people updated. It provides structure where on a regular basis, I'm updating people individually about what's going on in the organization. I'm asking them for their ideas regularly. I'm asking them for their input. We're brainstorming how we're working together on different projects. We're brainstorming solutions to problems. We're planning strategy for the future. It just gives us some structured regular meeting times.
And then the same thing as a team. I pay a lot more attention to team building nowadays and getting the team to work more effectively together. More research shows that when teams care about each other and they bond well together and they consider each other friends or a work family, if you will, they're 70% more productive than if they just see everybody else on the team as just a coworker. And so I really put a lot of time and effort in bonding the team together, facilitating team meetings, making sure the people on the team are connected to each other. And then when we are together, making sure everyone has an opportunity to bond together.
In addition, when you are communicating with people-- and this is going to be sort of a bridge in talking about coaching-- be careful about being too critical. And so now certainly part of our job as a leader or a manager or supervisor is to give constructive criticism when someone completes work.
But be careful about being too critical. If you're too harsh or if you focus too much on what you don't like, people will come away from that feeling, you know, nitpick feeling, you know, heavily criticized. That feels uncomfortable for people. What we want to do when we're critiquing is let's flip over to the coaching slide. What we want to do when we're critiquing people is we want to make the conversation a collaborative conversation.
So let's think about coaching for a minute. Coaching is-- and I know most of you know about coaching. Most of you are probably doing coaching on a regular basis with your team. Coaching is the art of being collaborative when you talk with people. It's the opposite of being directive. When someone's directive and they're telling someone what to do and how to do it. And when they're critiquing their work, the manager is saying, here's what you turned in, you know, I didn't like a lot of it. I didn't like this. I didn't like that. I didn't like this. And here's what I need you to do to fix it.
That's a directive way to critique. That's not received very well by most people. Most people are going to feel like that's not a respectful way to do it. It's almost like getting their hand slapped, especially if you do it harshly.
What people want from their supervisors is they want, again, they want respect. They want to know that you may not totally agree with the way they did something. But they want to know you respect their effort and you respect their capability. And so it's much more effective to be collaborative in how you give feedback. So when you call someone in and say, hey, thanks for turning in this report, I really liked your efforts. I mean, I like a lot of it. Always start with the positive. I think we all know that. Always start with what you liked about it.
Now if there's pieces that you think need to be improved, you could approach it in a collaborative way rather than being really directive and critical, to say now I was a little concerned about the lack of charts and graphs in the narrative, because you had previous reports that included charts and graphs, which we've talked about upper management really likes to see that see that included in our monthly reports. I'm just curious, why did you choose not to use them this particular month?
So make it a collaborative conversation. And let's say they say they just ran out of time. They were busy and so they didn't have as much time to be as thorough this month. For you to come back and say something like this, OK I understand, I mean, I get busy sometimes too. But knowing the charts and graphs are important to include, what could you do moving forward to make sure the charts and graphs are included in the narrative of your monthly report? Give the employee an opportunity to weigh in on what they think they could do to improve.
Psychologically speaking, folks, not only will people be more respectful if you collaborate with them when you do a critique rather than just be very directly critical, but if you give them input into how to make an adjustment or how to make a correction or what to do differently in the future, if the employee has input into that, not only will they feel more respected, but they're much more likely to follow through on it. So let's be thinking about that. Let's be good coaches when we're critiquing work.
Same thing about giving assignments. Rather than telling someone what to do and how to do it, your job ought to be to introduce the assignment, the scope of it. You can give them the goals. You can let them know what the expectations are. But then ask the employee for input as to how do they think they should get this done. Employees will appreciate. that. You know, some people will be passive and say, I don't know. You're the boss. You tell me. But most people will appreciate you asking them for their input and their ideas about how something should get done. They'll come away from that conversation typically feeling more respected, that you respected their knowledge and their capability, you were interested in their ideas, which is going to motivate them to be more engaged and do a better job on that project.
All right, last but not least, and we'll open it up for questions. Last but not least, let's talk about stressing the importance of each employee's job. This is really crucial. There is a research study out that said that an employee's perception of the importance or the significance of their job has a greater impact on loyalty and commitment to the organization than any other factor.
If someone feels like their job is just full of rote tasks that are not that important-- like, let's say, someone does a lot of spreadsheets. If that employee keeps getting assignments of new spreadsheets, you know, every day, every week and no one ever explains the significance of the spreadsheet, no one ever takes the time to let them know that the numbers they're contributing are actually helping, you know, rolling up into a greater report that's going to the city council, for example, or going up to senior management. No one ever takes the time to let them know the significance of the work they're doing.
I was thinking-- I was talking one time about people that did parks and rec work for a local municipality. And they were talking about how these guys-- one of the reasons these guys took such great-- it was one particular city in a county that people said when you drove through the city, there was something different in the summertime. It was so much more beautiful. The flora and fauna was more colorful. Everything was so well manicured and, you know, the streets were clean.
And it was interesting when I was talking to that team, they were saying that what the supervisors did that was really effective was they really instilled a sense of pride in the workers, municipal pride. You know what, when people come to our city, we want them to see a difference in it. Whether your job is cleaning streets or cutting lawns or weed whacking or digging tree beds or whatever the case may be, we want you to know that we value your contribution to the city. You make our city a beautiful place. You make people want to move here. And they did such a good job of instilling that pride and giving significance to the work that the workers were doing, the workers went above and beyond and they really maintained a beautiful, beautiful city.
And so we really do need to slow down. If you're just giving people assignments because you're busy. And you're just like, one more thing off my to do list Hey, can you do this. And you don't take the time at least from time to time to help them recognize the significance of their work, you're not going to get as much engaged and motivated effort.
All right, folks I know we covered a lot in a very short period of time. There's my contact information. Let's go ahead and open it up for questions. You go to the question box. Again folks, if you have any questions, please type them into the question box in the GoToWebinar software. And I just want to remind you that your questions will be kept confidential. What I mean by that is I won't read the name of the person asking the question. But I'll read the question aloud and then answer it to the best of my ability for all of our benefit.
My first question I have is, where can I-- OK, I apologize, I did not post this. I did not post the presentation into the software. And I probably could have done that. I apologize. Or I definitely could have done that. My apologies. But if you do want the slides for future reference, by all means, please hit reply to your GoToWebinar software and request the staff to send you a copy of the slide deck. We'd be happy to do that. My apologies for not attaching it to the GoToWebinar software.
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By the way, we had a great turnout today. So we still have some time we can certainly work through several questions together if you have an interest in typing in some questions. Let me give your another couple minutes here. So again, if you have questions, please type them into the question box in the upper right hand corner of your screen in the GoToWebinar software.
I've got a question. How often do you recommend we visit with staff one on one? That's a great question. I think it depends on the size of the team. And Kevin Kruse had some information about that in that book, Employee Engagement 2.0. Again, Kevin Kruse spelled K-R-U-S-E, if you're interested in that book.
In my opinion, it depends on the size of your team. I do it once a week because I've only got three people currently. There was a time I had as many as 16 people. I could not have done it once a week. I probably back then would have done it-- this has been going back a few years. I was doing those conversations back then maybe every couple of weeks. But nowadays, I do it one on one.
What I love about the one on one process is number one, it gives you dedicated face time with each person, so you can really focus on that person, focus on getting to know that person, you know, focus on making sure that you're working together collaboratively, that your priorities are the same, you're on the same page priorities wise. It gives you a chance to follow up on any work that's in progress.
I love that like, for example, our proposal manager, I meet with her at 3:30 every Friday. And so if something comes up about one of our proposals during the week and it's not a deadline, I don't have to actually write her an email or call her, I actually just kind of take that and put it in my day timer underneath our next one to one meeting because, I have that structure right there. So it gives me an opportunity to catch up with her about issues and situations that are in progress or it gives me an opportunity to follow up with her about assignments that are in progress on a more regular way.
Now of course, if it's something important that comes in, then I can certainly reach out to her immediately. But I find I'm much less reactive in terms of following up on assignments, in terms of working on issues, solving problems, because I have that weekly meeting. It's kind of a place holder. And so, you know, 9 out of 10 things that come in during the week that are concerning our proposal team, if it's not deadline oriented or it's not something that's urgent, I save those until I talk with the proposal manager that Friday afternoon. So it works really, really well.
Now if you have a bigger team, you could do the same kind of a thing, having your one on one meetings being bi-weekly or once a month. It would just be a little bit longer duration between your contacts. I think it would work either way.
All right, next question. How would you suggest that employees approach a difficult supervisor about the way they are treated? OK. I'm going to try to paraphrase this question. So this question is about a difficult supervisor that it sounds like talks down to people and micromanages people. And this, again, is my paraphrase. And so that's a really good question.
So if you feel like you're being managed in a way that's not comfortable for you, if you feel like you're being micromanaged or talked down to, which obviously would be uncomfortable for any of us, then by all means, I mean, you should talk to your supervisor about that, if you feel safe to have that conversation.
So I definitely feel like all of us as supervisors and managers need to treat each other respectfully. I mean, that's not only a best practice. It's the right way to be. And I think we would all agree with that. But unfortunately, not everyone uses the best practice and management skills. There are some supervisors that are very directive. There are some that still micromanage or looking over people's shoulders and micromanaging. There's some that are even talking down to other people in a way that people are feeling disrespected. And that's not right. I think we would all agree.
So if you feel like you're not being managed well. And if you feel comfortable talking to your boss about that, I mean, you should have that conversation. I've been in that situation myself before. It's a tough conversation to have, right, because that person is in a position of authority. But I think it's really important.
Now, you've got to be respectful. I think we would all agree with that, right? You know, when you go and talk to your boss about the way that they're talking to you that you don't feel-- you know, you're not comfortable with some of the ways that they're talking to you, just be respectful about it. I mean, you can't-- I mean obviously we have to-- even if you don't respect the way they're treating you, you still have to respect their position, right, when you work in an organization. And so they still are in authority over you. So you do have to go in respectfully. But I think as long as you go to talk to your supervisor respectfully and just be honest and respectful, be as humble you can. Be respectful.
You obviously don't want to go in and be accusatory. You don't want to go in an argumentative way, because that's probably not going to be received real well. That could even be received by that person as being insubordinate if we go in with an argumentative or defensive or accusing way. But if you go in respectfully, if you go in with some humility, and just be real honest with them and say, I'm uncomfortable when you treat me like this. And I wanted to just be honest with you about it. I mean, my job's important to me, and you're my boss. And I want to have a good relationship with you. If you go in line with that, hopefully your boss is going to be receptive to that.
All right, next question. Thank you for that question. That was important. Our next question, thoughts on meeting with employees-- I'm trying to paraphrase to make the question as easy for us all to understand and follow. I think this person is a senior manager. I think what the question is-- forgive me, I'm having a hard time understanding the question. I think the question is how about meeting with the people that report to my direct reports. So it sounds like this person is a senior manager who has supervisors reporting to him and then there are people reporting to that those supervisors.
And so I think the that the regular one on one meetings ought to be with each employee and their direct supervisor. I think that's important. Because for example, if I insisted on-- like my proposal manager has two people who report to her, if I insisted on meeting with her two people every week as well as well as meeting with her, I feel like that in a way would be disempowering her. I mean, those are her direct reports. She meets with them one on one regularly. I meet with her regularly.
Now that being said, I think it's important-- it would be important for you to be visible, because you're responsible. As the senior manager or the department head, you're responsible for the whole team, right? You're responsible for leading the supervisors and setting the tone for the supervisors' people. Do you want to be visible with the employees that report to the supervisors who report to you? Absolutely. And you can do that oftentimes during team meetings.
And you can certainly do periodic-- you can periodically ask to sit in on one on one meetings between the supervisors who report to you and their direct reports. You can certainly do that. But I would try to make sure that you respect that supervisor is in a relationship with their direct reports and not meet with them on a regular basis.
But if you do jump into some of those meetings, make it periodic and have a reason for it where you can tell the supervisor who reports to you. You know, from a team building standpoint, I just from time to time, maybe once a quarter, I'd like to sit in on your one on ones, just so I can be in the loop as to all the work that's being done and I can offer my support. I think that would be a really great way to do that.
All right, let's see. We've got a couple more questions. Thank you, folks. These are very thoughtful questions. Next question. I have one employee who has passive aggressive behavior. That's difficult. I've had employers like that before myself. Let's see, the work is getting done. The work is getting done by the team. I'm paraphrasing again. But some of the other employees are under a lot of stress due to the behavior of the one employee. How do you handle it? Do you meet as a group? Or do you meet with the passive aggressive employee individually?
Let's talk about that. That's a really good one. And now for those of you that aren't familiar with the term passive aggressive, probably most of you are, passive aggressive is a way to relate to others where typically that person will passively act like they'll be compliant. Like, if you ask them to do something, they'll say sure, I'll do that. And then they'll passively not do it, drag their feet, or not do what they said they were going to do. It's almost a way of controlling where they don't feel comfortable telling you they don't want to do something, but they'll act it out and not do it. But they'll say to your face, they're going to do it. And then act it out by not doing it. Very frustrating.
I had a guy that I had reporting to me about 20 years ago, 18 years ago. He was the most passive aggressive employee I had ever seen, probably the most passive aggressive person I'd ever met. Every time I'd talk to him, he always told me what I wanted to hear. He would say, yes, certainly I'll do that, not a problem. And then he would go off and not do it. If I asked him if he could get work done by a certain deadline, he'd always say, absolutely. And he wouldn't. 9 out of 10 times, he missed the deadline. I mean, it was maddening.
So I can relate to how difficult that is to manage someone like that. And it does have an impact on the rest of the team. Because if you've got a team of four people, like it sounds like here, and three of the four people are doing a good job. And the fourth person is just you know, passive and dragging their feet, you know, it can have an impact on everyone's productivity. And the other team players probably see that, right? They probably see that behavior.
So I would coach that individually. And so obviously, I mean, I'd work with the individual who's passive aggressive to the best of my ability and do it in a collaborative way. What I did find 18 years ago, because I was still pretty directive back then, the more directive I was with the passive aggressive person, the more passive aggressive they became. So I found that didn't work very well because a lot of passive aggressive behavior is about trying to be in control. And so the more directive I got in trying to get him to do something or do something on time, the more passive they were in dragging their feet and missing deadlines. And so the more collaborative and respectful you can be, that should be a little bit more comfortable for a person with that behavior to work with.
So again, you know, talk to him about a project, let's say a project that you're working on together or that they have a piece to do and the rest of the team is working on as well. Just say, you know, I really need to get you to-- I really need to-- we really need your support on this project. The team is really counting on you. You have a lot of expertise in this particular area. And I just wanted to ask for your input. How do you think you could-- or we need to have this work done by a certain time, how do you think you could approach getting it done by that time? What support could I give you? And let the person come up with the ideas, rather than being really directive. Because hopefully, if they come up with the ideas and it's their ideas, hopefully, they'll be better about following through and be less passive.
So that's what-- so I would definitely-- I wouldn't coach that as a team, because that could get frustrating for the whole team. I would pull that person out apart separately and coach them individually. So hope that helps.
All right, folks are there any other questions as we get to the end today?
I thank you for taking the time to submit these questions. They have been very thoughtful.
All right, I want to remind you, again, that today's presentation was part of the 2019 Deer Oak Supervisor Excellence Webinar Series. This year's series, again, is being focused on employee engagement. As I mentioned at the beginning, today's was part one. In June, we've got How to Effectively Onboard and Engage Your Employees. In September, we'll be talking about How to Become an Effective Coach. And in December, we'll be talking about How to Motivate Your Employees to be More Engaged in Their Work.
And so if you need any registration information for those additional sessions, please feel free to hit reply to today's GoToWebinar invitation and ask for the registration information. The staff will be happy to send it to you. And again, if you want the slide deck from today or the recording from today, just please request that when you hit reply to your GoToWebinar invitation today.
Folks, I want to thank you for your time today. I appreciate it. And I hope to see you on to another webinar here in the series later on. Take care. Have a good rest of the day.