Skill

All posts tagged Skill

Honoring Those Who Serve

Published November 9, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

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This week, as proud citizens of the United States, we will once again take the time to celebrate and reflect on the many services provided by our veterans as we honor all the great she-roes and heroes that have served this beautiful country. In honor of these heroic leaders, we decided to re-post our favorite blogs on the topic of leadership for the Veterans Day Holiday this week. In the meantime, we will continue the discussion we began on strategies for effective decision making next week.

Until then … we hope you enjoy this week’s blogs!

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Styles of Leadership
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(Original post, December 2012)

The nature of today’s business world produces constant change. Strong leadership expertise is required to handle potential problems with intelligence, diplomacy, and efficiency. Every leader exhibits talent in a different way and no one way of leading is better than another.  In fact, everyone can lead to a certain degree but not all leaders are effective (Glanz, 2002). Generally, visionary leaders that demonstrate a charismatic style tend to experience higher levels of success. This class of strong leader copes with change, delivers guidance, and institutes direction by communicating a vision that generates enthusiasm. These transformational leaders propagate trust, encourage development leadership skills in others, exhibit self-sacrifice and serve as moral representatives. They focus on objectives that transcend their own immediate needs (Baack, 2012).  In addition, they increase levels of fulfillment and performance in their organization by formulating and communicating a vision while building a bond with their staff. They are able to combine personal capability, group skills, managerial aptitudes and motivational proficiency with individual humility and professional determination.

#1 Leaders

Many studies have been conducted to determine the best style of leadership. Most conclude that effective leaders exhibit varying degrees of the following virtues: (a) courage, (b) impartiality, (c) empathy, (d) judgment, (e) enthusiasm, (f) humility, and (g) imagination (Glanz, 2002).  The best leaders continue to re-examine outdated business paradigms to maintain smooth operations, high production rates, while diligently working to keep morale up. In his book, Leadership Aikido, John O’Neil (1999) introduced six concepts inspired by the martial arts tradition that stresses victory without harm. The six master practices he outlines that enable leaders to assess and develop their potential are:

  1.  Cultivating self-knowledge;
  2.  Practicing the paradoxical art of planning;
  3.  Speaking the language of mastery;
  4.  Letting values drive our decisions;
  5.  Turning failure into success; and
  6.  Heeding the law of unintended consequences (O’Neil, 1999).

He believes through the elements of aikido, leaders are able to identify and overcome five inner enemies that impede progress: (a) failure to grow emotionally; (b) failure to make creative decisions; (c) failure to empathize; (d) failure to manage ego; and (e) failure to overcome alienation and boredom (O’Neil, 1999).  This perspective embraces personal power and energy as vital traits to effective leadership.

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The bottom line is, individuals are not required to be well liked to become effective leaders. What is important, however, in an effective leader is their ability to garner high levels of trust and respect. The truth is, leaders are not always in a position to produce satisfaction in the workplace because not all policies and regulations enforced are popular. It is imperative, nonetheless, that leaders are accepted and command respect in their leadership role. To sum up, if a leader is not acknowledged or venerated on some level, it will be difficult to achieve objective goals and high levels of success in their position.

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“What each of us believes in is up to us, but life is impossible without believing in something.” ― Kentetsu Takamori

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References:

Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behaviorSan Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Glanz, J. (2002). Finding your leadership styleAlexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

O’Neil, J. (1999). Leadership AikidoNew York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

Employee Staffing

Published June 7, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Employees are the lifeblood of an organization. In order for them to perform their responsibilities effectively, they must have certain knowledge and skills to accomplish their tasks. Axulay (2012) contends that in order to train staff effectively, employers need a plan with specific parameters and regulations to help their employees navigate with purposeful intent to achieve their organizational goals. Employee development needs to be calculated, measured, strategic, and a deliberate procedure (Axulay, 2012). This research takes a closer examination of the staffing process and the strategies leaders use to produce the most effective results. As an example to support our research, we will analyze, assess, and provide recommendations for a fictitious case scenario where employees at an organization are operating at below par performances in the assembly of cell phone tuning devices. In addition, a closer examination reveals of some of the effective principles, activities, traditional methods, and misconceptions behind the obstacles that create barriers which prohibit efficient learning. The research deduces that training employees plays a significant role during the staffing process because it provides practical tools that produce a high probability of success, creates a climate that is open to new types of learning, and provides employees an opportunity to expand their skills.

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Training

The Purpose of Training

Many employers and managers recognize the significance that training plays during the staffing process. However, according to Stolovitch and Rosenberg (2011), most employers are not cognizant that learning means change. As more companies transit into learning organizations, they are moving from traditional methods of training and development and evolving into groups where workplace learning is part of their culture (Stolovitch & Rosenberg, 2011). The purpose for instructing, educating, and training employees is to permit them to absorb information.

The Leader’s Role in Training

Leaders are learning that the most effective training methods employ a variety of learning devices that include expanding: mental (cognitive), physical (psychomotor), and emotional (effective) knowledge and skills. In addition, they design activities, learning plans, and incorporate practical tools that will yield the most effective results (Stolovitch & Rosenberg, 2011). Employers also apply technology that encourages fundamental education to support the training process. Subsequently, they create efficient methods to measure the effectiveness of their training programs, thereby alleviating ineffective and counterproductive systems. In short, the most successful leaders find ways to restructure the mindset of trainers so that they transform the individual being trained, rather than their students just becoming recipients of an educational process.

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Assessment

Employee Readiness

Employers that do not train staff risk high employee turnover and set the stage for staffers to experience job dissatisfaction. Axulay (2012) suggests it is essential that staff development is strategically planned. Additionally, the most effective trainers are able to ascertain whether staffers are at the discovery, developmental, or demonstration stages to implement the most productive training methods that will yield the highest results (Axulay, 2012). Their goal is to penetrate barriers that impede receptivity in the learner.

Case Study Analysis

In one case study, for instance, where cell phone assembly line employees are operating at below par performances, the line-manager is looking to change the behavior of staff members. Axulay (2012) contends one way to accomplish this is for leaders to help staffers comprehend the impact their poor performance has on the organization and other staff members. The next step is for managers to identify the causes for low quality performances and whether staffers are ready and receptive to change (Axulay, 2012). The readiness assessment phase is imperative because employees will not have the ability to change their behavior unless they first acknowledge a need to change it. The line leader must ascertain the reason employees are producing poor quality workmanship and the staffing factors that are contributing to the problem and assess whether it may be a training issue. To tackle this systematically, they must determine a variety of factors. They have already discerned the need for change, but in order to determine what type of learning the employees require, they must decide whether it is based on knowledge deficiencies, a lack of skills, or merely an unhealthy attitude. For example, some employees may disagree with assembly line protocol, or have personal trait issues, while other employees simply do not perform effectively because they do not value or take pride in their occupation on the assembly line. Once these factors are determined, an efficient training system can be designed to produce more effective results.

Business Day

Strategizing

Identifying the Problem

Organizations that implement training programs for employees create a climate that is open to new types of learning. Kolb (1990) purports that more often employers tend to focus valuable time improving weaknesses in personnel due to technical deficiencies that they believe can be remedied merely with proper training. However when individuals are asked to perform outside their comfort zones, people are resistant to change creating barriers that affect the learning process (Kolb, 1990). Employees eventually become frustrated, dissatisfied, and perform poorly.

Designing an Effective Plan

Regardless of the causes, it is evident that a lack of motivation is at the core of why the assembly line employees are not engaged in high performance levels in addition to insufficient training. For these reasons, we recommend that managers design and implement an evaluation process designed to ascertain the number of employees who are delivering substandard outcomes due to skill deficiencies and identify those who are struggling with personal trait issues. Kolb’s (1990) research concludes that when employees are underpaid and feel unappreciated, employers experience higher absenteeism and substandard work performances (Kolb, 1990). On the other hand, employers benefit substantially by nurturing a culture where personnel are appreciated and rewarded for outstanding performances. Under these conditions, employees are more inclined to participate enthusiastically, offer innovative ideas, display higher levels of energy, and engage in superior productivity.

Apprenticeship Programs

Training provides employees with practical tools that help produce a high probability of success. Bednarek’s (1990) research looks at another kind of system organizations implement to experience high levels of success from their employees: apprenticeship training programs. His research studied organizations where employees were not just the master craftsmen they were also trained and became the trainers themselves in their apprenticeship programs. In addition to teaching employees new skills, these kinds of programs also include instruction in theory that is applicable to their trade so that the student receives a whole picture of the business that supports the learning process (Bednarek, 1990). Apprenticeship training systems educate employees from a platform that is methodical, precise, and consistent because they have been tested and proven effective. Based on Bednarek’s studies, our next recommendation for the assembly line crew would be to establish an apprenticeship program that outlines standard procedures, policies and repercussions for violating those parameters. Effective tutoring programs can help establish consistent outcomes, are nurturing, and usually produce higher results.

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Conclusion

The line managers in our case study strive to achieve organizational goals by providing superior quality products in a cost effective manner. Indeed, these are important goals that all effective leaders strive to achieve for their organization. Amernic’s (1982) research deduced that the reason personnel shortages are elevating at record rate is because of a serious need to educate and train employees (Amernic, 1982). Organizational leaders who can identify whether an employee requires more knowledge and information, more opportunities to practice their knowledge and skills, or more situations where they can apply their expertise effectively on the job, will have an edge on how to elicit better performances from staff members. Successful employers who cultivate developmental goals that define their brand’s vision of success design systems that are practical for achieving those outcomes.  To these leaders, goals are the key to their results and effective employees is the significant component that helps an organization to support their vision. Employees that are trained to focus on the value they achieve from their behavior and not the behavior itself will most likely experience successful outcomes.  Our research concludes it is imperative employers identify the root causes of poor work performances and design effective employee training programs as a significant part of the staffing process. This strategy provides employees the opportunity to expand their skills and encourages higher levels of performance, which is a significant contributing factor to attaining organizational goals.

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References

Amernic, J. (1982, June). Training programs counter personnel shortages. Canadian Datasystems. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Retrieved May 22, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/208855476?accountid=32521

Axulay, H. (2012). Employee development on a shoestring. Danvers, MA: ASTD Press.

Bednarek, D. (1990, August). Skillfully crafted apprentices/programs turn employees into craftsmen. Milwaukee Journal. Milwaukee, WI, USA. Retrieved May 22, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/333428413?accountid=32521

Kolb, R. (1990, October 2). Focus on employees’ positive contributions demanding that workers perform tasks outside of their “comfort zones” is counterproductive. Milwaukee Journal. Milwaukee, WI, USA. Retrieved May 22, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/333455300?accountid=32521

Stolovitch, H., & Rosenberg, M. (2011). Telling ain’t training (2nd ed.). Danvers, MA: ASTD Press.