October 2007 Issue Number 93
Is a monthly electronic newsletter which links current events and issues to the daily challenges faced by fire and emergency services managers. Current topics in the areas of leadership development, workplace diversity, change management, and conflict resolution will be discussed.
We hope that you find the information here useful and provocative.
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"Polishing the Gold"-- National Society of Executive Fire Officers Leadership Conference October 16-18, 2007, Monte Carlo Resort, Las Vegas, NV. Go to www.nsefo.org for more information.
"Many Faces, Many Voices--One Dream, One Union" Human Relations Conference of the International Association of Fire Fighters. January 20-23, 2008, Sheraton Hotel, New Orleans, LA. Go to www.iaff.org for more information.
8th Biennial Fire Service Women's Leadership Training Seminar April 24-27, 2008 Glendale, AZ. Go to www.wfsi.org for more information.
Most companies have it all wrong. They don't have to motivate their employees. They have to stop de-motivating them.
This statement summarizes the recent findings of three researchers from the Sirota Survey Intelligence group, which conducted surveys of over 1.2 million employees over a period of four years. Their key finding? According to the report published in the Harvard Management Update, "The great majority of employees are quite enthusiastic when they start a new job. But in about 85% of companies, employees' morale sharply declines after their first six months, and continues to deteriorate for years afterward."
The study's findings directly contradict management theory that is based on the premise that employees are mainly working for money, and need prizes, slogans, and other special measures to get them to perform at a top level.
On the contrary, this study indicates that most people want to do good work and get fulfillment from real contributions they make, beyond just receiving a paycheck. However, the study also shows how easy it is to kill individual motivation in the workplace. The most commonly cited de-motivators are negative organizational culture and poorly functioning line managers, with deficiencies ranging from overly bureaucratic structures to supervisors that just don't care about their workers.
The study offers a number of suggestions for improving employee morale, including:
* Create an atmosphere of pride and recognition. Don't overlook the importance of defining the common mission or discount the importance of saying thank you for a job well done.
* Redefine the manager's role. Most workplace interactions are not enhanced by strict adherence to a command and control model. Managers need to understand that their role changes depending on the needs of the situation-- in some cases they may be arbitrators or disciplinarians, in others, they will act more as facilitators.
* Put time and attention into building effective teams. Highly functioning teams are more creative and productive than individuals, provide opportunities for learning, and create an environment of support and inclusion.
* Communicate clearly and often. Good communication includes effective speaking, writing, and listening. Workers' frustration with ineffective or absent communication from their supervisors is a leading cause of poor workplace morale.
The emergency services tend to use a command and control model on emergency scenes, which can lead to ineffective management practices when away from that environment. Whether on or off the emergency scene, a sense of personal commitment to the job and the team, and effective leadership and communication will go a long way toward retaining and capitalizing on the enthusiasm most workers have for the job when they first arrive.
Source: HR Daily Advisor, September 26, 2007