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LEADERSHIP Winter 2011

Workplace Violence Make sure you and your employees are informed and prepared pg. 2

Combat New Year Stress

pg. 3

Reduce Time Spent in Meetings pg. 4 Can’t Get Anything Done? Take our Workplace Interruptions Quiz pg. 7 New Promotion? Read our Tips for New Supervisors pg. 9


A word from your Account Management Team...


Already, 2011 is shaping up to be a great year. With a new magazine comes a new opportunity to develop your skill sets as a leader in your workplace. We hope you will find the information in this magazine helpful. If for any reason you need additional ideas for your leadership role, please feel free to contact us anytime!

Wellness Library Health Ink and Vitality Communications ©2010 Can You Control Workplace Interruptions? pg 8

A few things to take note of...

Parlay International ©2010 Ten Tips for Combating Stress


pg 3

Our 2011 HR Webinar Series is scheduled to begin Wednesday, March 16th. This don’t miss series will be a four-part presentation on resolving organizational challenges. Our BizPsych team will use real case studies to illustrate the organizational development process while seeking active engagement from participants. For details, see page 11. Want to start the New Year with a workplace training for employees or supervisors? New programs for 2011 can be found in our Workplace Training Catalog under the Employees/Members section of www.

2 LEADERSHIP Winter 2011

Conducting a Productive, Efficient Meeting pg 7 Characteristics of Effective Decision Makers pg 8 First Tips for New Supervisors pg 10

Nolo Legal Press ©2010 Workplace Violence and How to Avoid It pg 4





BELIEVE IN YOUR ABILITY TO COPE. Embrace your strengths. Remind yourself

that you can influence the outcome of events in your life. Create action plans to address problems at work and at home.

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LEARN RELAXATION EXERCISES. Try deep breathing, visualization, and meditation. A hot bath, a walk in the park, and stretching exercises are also good stress relievers.

GET A GRIP ON GUILT. Guilt robs you of your energy and motivation. Be realistic

about your expectations of yourself at home and on the job. It's neither possible nor desirable to try to be a perfect parent or employee.

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TALK TO A FRIEND. Talking about problems can help you blow off steam and give you the perspective you need to solve problems more easily.

DEVELOP LEISURE ACTIVITIES. Practice a craft, learn to play a musical instrument, join a community choir, or partake in a weekly bridge game.

ESTABLISH A REGULAR EXERCISE ROUTINE. Stress produces chemicals that make

you feel tense. Exercise helps move these chemicals through your body. Try to get at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week. Choose a fun exercise you'll enjoy and stick with.


GET PLENTY OF REST. Most people need seven or eight hours of sleep a night to feel

renewed and refreshed. If you have trouble sleeping, increase the duration or frequency of your exercise sessions. Take a warm shower before bed.


EAT A BALANCED DIET. Stock up on bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Include lots of

fruits and vegetables in your diet. Add calcium, in the form of milk, yogurt, and cheese and two to three servings per day of protein from meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, or nuts. Use fats, oils, and sweets sparingly.


IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS. Learn to ask for help when you

need it. Defuse misunderstandings before they occur by talking things over with your coworkers, spouse, and children.


LEARN TO ACCEPT AND ADAPT TO CHANGE. Change is a fact of life. Ma-

jor work and life changes are common. Whether you welcome or dread these changes, they can all be extremely stressful unless you learn to adjust to them. Take time to recover, refocus, and regenerate during a major change such as promotion, relocation, parenthood, or divorce.

Winter 2011 LEADERSHIP 3



orkplace violence and disgruntled employees -- all of us have heard the horror stories: a former worker with a grudge, an employee’s ex-lover, or an enraged client bursts through the door, shooting first and asking questions later. Consider these examples: • Moments after being told he would have to resign or be fired for theft, Omar Thornton opened fire at a beer distributor in Connecticut, killing eight and injuring two; Thornton called 9-1-1 and said that he had been harassed and treated differently because of his race. • Timothy Hendron shot several coworkers and took his own life at ABB Group in St. Louis; he was part of a group of employees that were suing the company and its trustee for charging excessive fees in connection with their retirement benefits. • Michael McDermott, a software developer, killed seven coworkers with an assault rifle at Edgewater Technology in Wakefield, Massachusetts; McDermott was having financial problems, he had just been hit with a wage garnishment, and his car was repossessed from the company parking lot on the day of the shootings.

4 LEADERSHIP Winter 2011

Although workplace violence is not as common as the news might lead us to believe, it is a major problem in the United States. Government studies estimate that there are about two million assaults and threats of violence made against workers each year. According to the Workplace Violence Research Institute, workplace violence costs businesses more than $36 billion each year. But did you know that workplace violence is much more commonly committed by outsiders than by current or former employees? Or that thousands of acts of workplace violence are committed each year by the intimate partners and spouses of employees? This article lays out the facts about workplace violence, including steps you can take if you have concerns.


Contrary to popular belief, the great majority of violent incidents in the workplace are perpetrated by outsiders -- strangers intending to commit a crime -- rather than employees. For example, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, most workplace homicides are committed by robbers trying to steal from the business, not by current or former employees. Employees who deal with the public are most likely to fall victim to this type of workplace violence. Those at particularly high risk include workers who exchange money with the public, deliver goods or services, work alone or in small numbers during the late evening and early morning hours, or work in jobs that require extensive public contact. Certain industries, such as health care, security (including police officers), and retail are targeted more frequently than others.

• • •

extra lighting, and alarm systems Minimizing workplace access by outsiders through the use of identification badges and guards Limiting the amount of cash kept on hand, particularly at night Giving outside workers cell phones and alarms, and requiring them to keep in touch with a contact person throughout their shift, and Telling employees not to go anywhere they do not feel safe, and providing an escort in potentially dangerous areas.


According to the American Institute on Domestic Violence, 18,700 acts of violence are committed by intimate partners and spouses (current and former) every year against women in the workplace. And sometimes, these incidents go beyond the intended target to harm other employees as well. Experts tell us that domestic violence frequently follows a fairly predictable cycle, in which pressure, threats, and coercion precede acts of violence. By the time a batterer shows up at the victim’s workplace intending to do harm, chances are good that they have already made threats and committed other acts of violence or property damage. If you or an employee are a victim of domestic violence, here are a few things you should know: • A number of states require employers to give employees time off to handle matters relating to domestic violence, such as relocating, seeking counseling or medical care, attending court hearings, and so on. Even if your state doesn’t require this type of leave, your employer may allow you to take time off to handle these issues. (Learn

Minimizing risk and improving security are the keys to preventing this type of workplace violence. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers these tips for employers seeking to protect employees; if you have concerns about violence by outsiders, ask your employer about implementStudies estimate there are about two million assaults ing them (you can find fact sheets and and threats of violence made against workers each year, more tips on OSHA’s official website at costing business more than $36 billion a year. • Training employees on how to Is your workplace prepared? Visit the Workplace Violence section of recognize and respond to threatening situations for information and tips to make sure your employees • Securing the workplace by inare informed and your business has a plan in place should an incident of stalling surveillance cameras, violence occur. Winter 2011 LEADERSHIP 5

more in Nolo’s article Domestic Violence Leave: Taking Time Off Work.) Your employer may be able to get its own restraining order against the abuser. This type of restraining order requires the abuser to stay away from the workplace; if the abuser comes to the workplace anyway, police can make an arrest for violation of the order, before any harm is done. There are safety precautions you can take if your abuser is stalking or threatening you at work, such as alerting security personnel, asking to have your phone number changed, having your calls routed through a receptionist or secretary, and making sure others at work know that they should not provide information about you or your movements to anyone outside the company. You can find legal guides, information on state laws, fact sheets, and tips on communicating with your employer about a domestic violence situation, from the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund; under the “Our Work” tab, select “Employment and Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic Violence.”


cause the perpetrators are coworkers we see every day. Although some employees resort to violence without any warning, it’s relatively uncommon for someone to simply snap one day and go on a rampage. Instead, experts say that the problem often builds up slowly, and the perpetrator may exhibit certain signs of trouble before becoming violent. Of course, no single one of these signs, taken alone, is a sure indicator that an employee may turn violent. But managers and HR professionals should be on the lookout for clues indicating that intervention may be necessary -- and, if other employees notice these signs and have concerns, they should raise them with a manager.


Workplace violence committed by current or former employees is the most foreseeable, be-

An unexplained rise in absences Substance abuse Outbursts at coworkers and customers or poor impulse control generally Verbal abuse or threats toward coworkers and customers Making harassing phone calls or email communications Strained workplace relationships Overreaction or resistance to even minor changes in workplace routine; insubordination, and belligerence Lack of attention to personal appearance, including hygiene Interest in firearms or other weapons; access to weapons • Signs of paranoia (“everyone’s out to get me”) or withdrawal • Fascination with violent acts or fantasies, or a history of violence • Seeing oneself as a victim and others as persecutors; blaming others for one’s problems • Obsessive behavior toward a coworker or customer, up to and including stalking • Comments about suicide • Mood swings • Domestic problems, including money troubles or family disputes.

Conduct workplace trainings to ensure employees know how to recognize and respond to threatening situations. 6 LEADERSHIP Winter 2011



o one wants to spend more time in meetings than is absolutely necessary. Here are some tips to keep meetings productive, on track and on time.


Distribute an agenda in advance so everyone has a chance to prepare for the meeting. • Check off items as they’re completed. • If new agenda items are introduced at the meeting, add them to the agenda in order of priority or table them for future discussion.


“The two biggest problems in America today are making ends meet and making meetings end.”

- Robert Orben

It’s unfair to people who are on time to delay the start of a meeting because of latecomers. Meetings that run overtime can interfere with people’s schedules. • Close the door when the meeting begins. Latecomers will attract unwanted attention as they enter. • Put items of interest to potential latecomers at the top of the agenda. • Look to other group members to apply pressure on latecomers. • Speak privately to repeat offenders. • Map out time limits for each of your agenda items to help you end on time. • Suggest follow-up for agenda items that take too much time.


It helps to announce in advance that you will complete the agenda on schedule. • Encourage others to make their points within a time limit. • Stop those who waste time with off-the-subject comments, interruptions, or repetition. Give a brief reminder that you’re planning to end on time: “We’ve got a lot to cover today, so we’ll need to move fast.” • Schedule separate slower-paced meetings for creative processes such as brainstorming.


People tend to digress in meetings when the discussion becomes boring or other topics arise. Keep the meeting on track by preventing digression. • When discussion strays from agenda items, immediately interrupt and bring attention back to the agenda. • Point out that the discussion is off the topic and ask for a consensus on whether to return to the agenda, put the new item on the agenda to be discussed later, or depart from the agenda to discuss the new item.


It’s much harder to define who will do what and assign tasks after the meeting ends. • Document your action items by writing on the agenda what will get done, who will do it and the deadline. Record it in the minutes. • Give assignments before anyone leaves the room. Winter 2011 LEADERSHIP 7


Before plunging into a decision they carefully consider the issue being decided. What is the problem the decision will solve?


There are many ways to solve a problem. Even when a decision seems obvious, the more possibilities you consider, the more likely you are to come up with a better solution than the obvious one.


Are there people whose knowledge and experience could help you make a better decision? Have others made similar decisions? How did their choices fare? What information do you need to make an informed decision?


Before deciding: • Write down the priorities that justify each possible action and the results you hope to achieve. • List the likely consequences of your decision the benefits and the problems. Then determine how you’ll deal with them.


The better you understand what worked, what didn’t, and why, the better your future decisions will be. After each big decision, list any differences between what was expected and what actually happened as a result of the decision. • What caused the differences? • What criteria would the people affected by the decision have for further decisions in the future? • What kind of feedback did you receive about the success of the decision?

8 LEADERSHIP Winter 2011

1. Taking control of your interruptions can increase your productivity by 25 percent. true / false

2. It’s efficient to check your e-mail every time you get a message. true / false

3. You should always work with your office door open. true / false

4. If part of your job involves frequent consultation with your staff or co-workers, schedule a specific time on your calendar for those meetings each day. true / false

5. Stand up to talk when someone comes into your office uninvited.


WORKPLACE INTERRUPTIONS? Chances are, workplace interruptions are robbing you of time and the ability to concentrate on important tasks. If so, knowing how to control and avoid them can increase your productivity. Here’s a quiz to help you assess your knowledge of how to deal with interruptions.

true / false

6. If someone comes into your office with something important to discuss, ask the person to give you a few minutes, then go to his or her office. true / false

7. Arrange your desk and chair so you’re not in full view of casual passersby. true / false

8. Have a comfortable chair for visitors in your office. true / false

9. If someone with a problem or a question walks into your office uninvited, it’s OK to say, “I’m tied up at the moment. Can you come back at (suggest a specific time), and we can talk about it then?” true / false

10. Always answer your phone, even if you’re working on an important project. true / false


First Tips for New Supervisors Your first moves as a supervisor could be the most important ones you make. To get off to a good start....

GET ACQUAINTED WITH YOUR GROUP • Take a few days to meet everyone in your group. Start with a group session, but have a private discussion with each individual. • Find out each person's background, interests, and ideas about how effective the group is. • Share your background, philosophy on supervision, and expectations. IDENTIFY AND SUPPORT INFORMAL GROUP LEADERS TO WIN THEIR COOPERATION • Find out who in the group has the respect and attention of the other group members. • Consult these informal leaders on group needs. • Discuss ideas you are considering with them. KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR GROUP • Circulate among your group. • Be available to answer questions and offer suggestions. START SMALL • Make the most easily acceptable changes first. • Move cautiously to wider or more controversial changes such as work hours or group size. DOWNPLAY YOUR STATUS • Be on a first-name basis with employees. • Be readily accessible to group members. • Be willing to help when there's a crisis. STAY POSITIVE • Express confidence in the group. • Show a willingness to get involved in group success. • Express the idea that you and the group are working together.

Quiz Answers (from page 9) 1. False. Taking control of your interruptions can increase your productivity by 50 percent. 2. False. It’s more efficient to open your e-mail only twice a day, unless you’re expecting a crucial message. 3. False. Doing so invites interruptions. Instead, close your door or, if you work in a cubicle, stretch a piece of tape across the opening or find another way to indicate you’re unavailable when you have crucial work you must complete. 4. True. 5. True. You’re in for a long interruption if you let your

10 LEADERSHIP Winter 2011

visitor sit comfortably in a chair. 6. True. That way, you can control the length of the conversation. 7. True. People will usually think twice about disturbing you if they have to peek around the corner to see you. 8. False. Having a comfortable chair for visitors increases the chances people will stop by to chat. 9. True. 10. False. Let voice mail or the receptionist pick it up. Then, at the 60- to 90-minute mark, check your messages and return your calls.

2011 HR Webinar Series H��� ��� ���� �������� ���� �� ����� ������ ���� �� ����� ���� �� ���� ����� ��� ���� ������� �������������� ����������? C�� ����� ������� �������� ���� �� ��������?

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This webinar series will give you an up-close look, using real case studies, at what is involved in effectively resolving these types of organizational challenges. Each webinar will focus on one aspect of the organizational development process using case studies to illustrate the tools and methodologies that are used. Participants will be asked to actively engage in each webinar by way of sharing their stories, challenges, perspectives and asking provocative questions.

Session One: Series Introduction


Session Two: The Art of an Effective Organizational Development Assessment WEDNESDAY, MAY 18TH

Session Three: The Fine Art of Report Writing WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17TH

Session Four: The Action Plan


Brought to you by BizPsych and MINES & Associates Fall 2010 Balanced Living 11

. . . s r o ervis

p u S o t e ot An F

rom time to time, situations arise when a supervisor is not sure how to respond to a particular behavior. The EAP is available on a 24/7 basis for consultation on issues such as: referring an employee to the EAP, how best to respond to and manage difficult behavior in the workplace, and whether training or some other form of group intervention (such as an organizational intervention or a conflict resolution) may be helpful for a particular situation. The EAP can serve as an ally to anyone who is working with a troubled employee. • 24/7 supervisor consultation regarding problems in the workplace • Assessment of behavioral risk on the job • Return-to-Duty conferences • Advisory services in writing, revising, and implementing policies • Supervisor and Manager training • Unlimited formal Work Performance Referrals • Coaching for management and leadership skills • Conflict resolution for supervisor-employee problems MINES believes that employees are an organization’s most valuable resource. Your EAP is always available to provide you and your employees with support.

The MINES Team


2010-4 Leadership Winter  

Quarterly Leadership Magazine. In This Issue: Avoiding Workplace Violence, Characteristics of Effective Decision Makers, First Tips for New...

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