Straight Talk: Bad for Business #2: Leadership Development

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In this episode we discuss:

  1. How to break your bad habits by first knowing what to stop (taken from What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith)
  2. How to use positive reinforcement (incentives) to increase performance
  3. Create a pipeline of individuals in the company who can transition into leadership
  4. How to delegate
  5. How to build rapport with your employees
  6. How to provide feedback to increase performance

We also provided the following material references to further your growth:

  1. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Marshall Goldsmith
  2. Triggers – Marshall Goldsmith
  3. Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company – Ram Charan, Steve Drotter, and Jim Noel
  4. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management
  5. Dr. William (Bill) Abernathy 
  6. Dr. Tim Ludwig 
  7. Dr. Byron Wine

 

Transcript of Episode

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:00:15] Yeah, yeah, we are recording, all right. So, Amanda, kick us off.

Amanda Barnett: [00:00:21] Yeah, I came across this with one of my clients and I was hoping we could use it as a panel discussion today. And there’s a lot of turnover that happens in a lot of industries from ABA companies to, you know, in this particular role into animal care facility that I’m working with. And it’s a supervisory role and also happens for BCBAs all the time where they might leave. And so my question is, and I wanted to throw out to the panel today is how do you plan for success when somebody is leaving a leadership role to ensure that there aren’t any performance gaps or any other things related to that person leaving?

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:01:06] All right. Well, I’m trying to kick us out. I think this is an excellent question and it’s one that I think is pretty pressing in the world today with regards to all sorts of different transitions. Right. So you have transitions at the organizational level. You can have transitions if you’re changing processes. But the one we’re talking about is transitioning on people. And with the amount of turnover that we’re seeing in the world today, people leaving organizations are actually people that are even being told to leave. There’s going to be huge amounts of transitions happening in the world with regards to people. So I’ll kick it off by sharing a resource that I found to be super helpful over the years with regards to transitions, with regards to leadership transitions. And it actually stems from a book that can turned into like a huge movement. So I’ll put it in the chat room. And the book is called Leadership Pipeline How to Build the Leadership Power Company by Ram Charon, Steve Drotter, and Jim Noel, and so these three authors, I believe one or two of them come from the Harvard Business School. And what they did in this book, just kind of as a summary, is they mapped out competencies and activities from the ground all the way to the executive, from the front line worker, all the way to the executive level.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:02:31] And what are the skills, knowledge, knowledge, skills and abilities one must be able to demonstrate at the different levels to be successful. And so by using these kind of techniques, it’s kind of this kind of literature. And I’ll describe one of the techniques in a second. But to use that literature, what a behavior analyst can do with that is really then map out specific behaviors and the behavioral classes or the competencies. We want to use that terminology to use competencies so that we are fundamentally looking at trading and developing and developing the right skills to fluency of those performers so that when they move into the leadership role or somebody from the outside going into that leadership role, they’re already set up for success on what their roles and responsibilities are at that level and even going into the next level, what that might look like. So the leadership pipeline really did a nice job. The techniques that they used was really more of like an interview in forming based technique. So they went to organizations all over the world to identify the competencies and the activities and experiences at the different levels. So by interviewing, if you think about your organization, every company is a little different.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:03:47] So I would say one technique that I would use is to interview people at the various levels, of course, before they leave and find out what were their experiences over there, what was their experience going into that role, leaving that role, if they were to leave, what what it was their resume, what what brought them what got them there. Right. And and then fundamentally, what advice would you give to people going into the role to be successful? So the leadership pipeline, how to build a leadership. Power companies have great resource, great book. And and I said it turned into a movement. Well, they actually formed over the years. They formed what’s called the Leadership Pipeline Institute. And I’m putting the website right there in the chat room for the people in the live audience. It’s Leadership Pipeline Institute dot com. Pretty straightforward, but the Leadership Pipeline Institute brings about a more scientific, rigorous approach to really helping organizations develop leadership and develop leadership skills. But they keep with that pipeline theme. So that way it’s all about the transitioning of leaders in roles. So I thought I’d kick it off there because when when man, you brought up the question, that’s the first thing that came to my mind was the leadership pipeline.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:05:06] It’s a good book.

Amanda Barnett: [00:05:09] I hadn’t read it, but I have experience working in organizations where they were. Building competency, so to speak, and then they had objective measures and measuring criteria for each of those skills, and then they were coaching people along those lines. It took a while to build because they’re always how do I say this? Putting fires out in a nice way. And they were always scrambling for staff. So they had a first fix, kind of their recruiting and their bench for oncoming talent. And then they were. And then they also looked at leadership, too. So it’s kind of a both type of scenario that that this organization looked at very.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:05:50] Yeah, I’m honestly means you manage to get them to you to, like, actually go through with competencies and competency based measurements of any kind. That’s something that I know I’ve personally struggled with in a bunch of organizations, especially smaller ones, but they don’t have the resources available to set aside the time necessary to like take those proactive steps towards making sure that anyone who takes a new role is actually going to be well off in that role. I think that, like my major thing, any time that I’ve tried to help with any of these leadership transitions has been just trying to outline the major responsibilities of the leader that is transitioning out. And oftentimes they have not even physically voiced what their responsibilities are at any point in their employment. And so if you ask them, know, it’s kind of like a real head scratcher. And I mean, it’s not too surprising, right? Because they have so many various responsibilities, especially in a smaller organization. But just getting them to try to write it down like they’re going to forget things is kind of interesting. You got to come back a couple of times and like, check the list. Is this really all of it is just everything. We miss anything. All right. Now, let’s go into actually boiling down the prerequisites for can anyone do this and how would we know if they could? That’s another whole can of worms right there.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:07:12] I think Kyle is hitting on hitting the nail on the head there. You know, one of the things that we talk about working with H.R. professionals, so H.R. professionals are very good at, you know, looking at recruitment efforts, selection efforts, testing efforts, evaluation evaluation efforts about a specific role and responsibility. But one of the challenges that a lot of H.R. professionals face is the documentation and clarity of roles and responsibilities. For while it’s not always present, right, it’s not always present. And I think that is a great technique that behavior analysts offer. We are phenomenal at operationally defining roles and responsibilities. Right. If we think about taking a job, any job we can task, analyze that to tell the to the night sky comes up, right. Like, oh, my God, we could we could totally do a phenomenal job at really pinpointing operationally defining roles and responsibilities at such a level of clarity that we’re helping our H.R. brother at. Right. We’re helping our folks in the world of H.R. to really do a great job at recruitment, selection, onboarding the right people for the right job. And I think that’s that’s that’s another technique. Right. Another technique that we can use to support leadership transitions is to make sure the roles and responsibilities are super clear. Super, super clear.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:08:34] Yeah, I would highlight I think also going on that and absolutely Manny is that it’s it’s also been my experience that, you know, leaders have taken on all these kind of additional roles or they’ve maybe tweaked the responsibilities a little bit as things have changed or need be, and nobody’s writing it down at all. And so what I’ve done is I’ve actually had some leaders write down like what they did for a week. And so we start with like, what is it that you think you do? But as you said, people forget, they’re like, you know, I think I do the budget. And then there’s like fifty thousand other things that they do. And so I have them kind of do some self reporting and measurement of what they actually do throughout the week. But then I also, if I’m able to I ask if they have a leader or a supervisor what the supervisor thinks they do as well as their followers, what they think they do. Because I’ve also found, especially the followers tend to say, oh, well, I go to this person for this, this, this, this and this. And even the person in that role doesn’t necessarily realize how much other people rely on them or count on them. And then it’s a matter of like, how do we write everything down? So as me and he said, like, how do we task and analyze everything? How do we document, like how often it happens or, you know, a lot of times, especially with the smaller businesses or businesses, that people started small and have grown. They have so much on our head about policies and procedures and, oh, yeah, this is what’s written down as our, you know, standard operating procedures, but I found a much faster way to do it. I just haven’t had time. And so sometimes it’s also like carving out that time of like, OK, for an hour, a week for the next three months, we’re going to just write down what it is that that you do. And then maybe as behavior analyst, I think this is also where we come in is that we can compare and revise. And I think we’re really good at identifying exactly where those holes are and filling them really quickly.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:10:52] You know, one question that I have for you, something that you brought up a couple of times and that I’ve run into issues with in the past is so we get everyone to like, let’s let’s imagine this beautiful world where everyone has actually documented their job responsibilities and the things that they’re doing and we can dream. Where do you think that those documents should exist? Because I’ve run into now a number of organizations where they might even have the beginnings of something that resembles that. Right. Where I have a leader who has been proactive and has recorded some of their stuff that maybe they did it like a couple of years ago and they never reference to they got it. I mean, they might remember where it’s at, but no one else has seen the document. Right. Where do you think that those documents should exist?

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:11:40] So I think I think it partially depends on maybe who should also be aware of that information.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:11:52] So and what I try to do, I work with a lot of companies that are kind of in the startup phase. And so my I’m that broken record that saying, please write this down, please write this down, please put this somewhere. Wouldn’t it be great if you wrote this down before you started doing it?

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:12:10] But so I think it’s you know, there’s if there’s an executive level folder and that kind of has all of the information that the high level executives should know about the business, I would probably put it there. But then I would also I would probably have a folder almost for each level or at least grant certain permission. So maybe I might have like one big folder I’m thinking about, like my Google drivers share drive that says these are standard operating procedures. And then I might sectioned it out by, like, executive, you know, here’s my executive folder, here’s my middle manager folder. Here’s my entry level folder. And it would almost be like a folder. So maybe you don’t have to worry about organizing it or all of that and still need be just to to decrease the response effort, make it more likely it’ll happen. And then when we come in to fix this transition plan, we can go in there, dump folder and start kind of sorting it out and figuring out kind of what’s current, what’s not that type of thing.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:13:20] So speaking of what’s current and what’s not, how often should a document like this be updated as an annual thing? Six months, I would say.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:13:30] I think it would be awesome if, like, every time you did quarterly performance reviews, especially if you have, like scorecards or performance management system that like as part of maybe your scorecard review, you could say here’s the current list of roles and responsibilities.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:13:45] Let’s go over that. And maybe if you termed it with that more formal quarterly meeting, then you never have to really worry about anything. Right?

Kyle Ditzian: [00:13:55] The only problems there is that does assume a quarterly meeting and the existence of any performance metrics to begin.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:14:02] You know, you tell me a perfect world.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:14:07] But I agree with Natalie. You know, what she’s describing is it’s H.R. information system. Right. So so typically where all of these kind of documentations exist, like in some of the larger companies in the world, they have H.R. management systems. Right. And so what they do is they say at a bare minimum, these documents must have updated data once a year. Right. So they have to be reviewed annually. Some companies are even audited by external entities to make sure that their documentation is up to date. And then but but I really like what you said about performance management review cycle. Right. So like that once a quarter bi annual review really, really hit home on the documentation and stuff. So I like that either. The way folks, if you are not on mute, please put yourself on mute. That would really help. There’s some there’s some feedback. And before sorry man, I didn’t mean to go, but I also wanted to add there’s a great deal of people here. So if you have any questions that you want to raise the. A panel at any time put it in the chat room and we’ll be able to answer your questions because otherwise we could talk all day. But we also would love to attend to your questions. So please put yourself on your own mute.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:15:31] Or maybe Amanda or Natalie, you can you can help put some folks on mute.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:15:35] That’s another way to do it, I think, in going to need to see if I could do it.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:15:43] Yeah, I can’t. I can’t, you know.

Amanda Barnett: [00:15:46] But what I will do is there’s two things that I wanted to add from what we were talking about. And one of them was just making sure when we are even looking at when we take on extra responsibilities once are documented, what kinds of things are we taking on that are extra that could be delegated out to somebody else? So when I think about decline I’m working with right now, we had I chatted with the person that was leaving and I talk about two specific things. Who have you delegated roles to and how did you match it? And we look at who is going to be looking at that skill set, who can likely carry that out with the minimum amount of training or has already been trained and then thinking through what are the likely mistakes they’re going to make. So that way we can ensure success. And then the other one is pain points. Actually, ask them, what are your biggest pain points in managing the team? And let’s talk about that so that we can kind of hit the ground running and know what this person is going to face and we can be proactive about it.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:16:46] That’s really good. I like that.

Amanda Barnett: [00:16:48] Some of that came from Kyle and I, we wrote an article on delegation in Business Science magazine.

Amanda Barnett: [00:16:53] Check it out.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:16:54] Yeah, that sounds very familiar [What magazine was that again Amanda?] I believe she said Business Science magazine was picking out highly recommend some great writers in there.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:17:12] I’ve heard as much.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:17:22] Selfish plugging.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:17:22] I wanted to offer another resource. I mean, I brought it out of my bookshelf. And so the author of this book, he’s written other ones is Marshall Goldsmith. And so if you’re for those who are not familiar with Marshall Goldsmith, I mean, he’s so he’s he’s a well sought out executive coach, performance coach out in the world. He does a lot of speaking engagements now.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:17:49] I think he’s squads. I retired up in California somewhere, but he’s a brilliant, brilliant guy. And if you wonder about his link to behavior analysis, he does have a great deal of understanding of behaviorism and things. And he even has another book that’s not this one that I’m about to reference. The other one’s called Triggers, and he talks about antecedent behavior, consequences with regards to your internal ability, your internal motivation, what triggers you and how to escape the bad triggers of the world. So that’s a that’s another good book for the one that I was going to talk about with regards to succession planning and developing your skills as a leader and transitions is one called What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:18:35] And I just I thought could be kind of helpful thinking that’s helpful for the sub the sub title. This is Discover the Twenty Workplace Habits You Need to Break. And I thought that was kind of an interesting I just wanted to share a few of them and we have a dialogue about it. But if you think about these twenty bad habits, as he calls them 20 habits, then you need a break. Breaking them will help you in your transition, right. They will help you in your transition, whether it’s into a new job or into a leadership role. These 20 habits, I think, are really, really important to break in order to make the transition successful. And the first one is the one I’ll start with is knowing what to stop. So many cases of people say yes, a lot and they say yes to tasks that that they know they probably shouldn’t do or they should delegate. And in leadership roles in particular, delegation is absolutely paramount for your success. So I thought I start with that one and ask the panel, how would you what would you recommend to people who have had trouble knowing what to stop doing in relation to that transition into a leadership role? How what would you recommend or maybe spin it into? What would you recommend? What techniques to you coach in regards to delegation as part of a leadership transition?

Amanda Barnett: [00:19:57] Good question. Can I jump in and say a couple of moments of my ten related to delegation. So in talking with managers, they have this notion of muscle. Just take care of it because I’m going to do it right. And they found that there was so much effort to have to go back and. Its mistakes and they found themselves in this bad cycle of being spread too thin, but then also not wanting to delegate because people are just going to mess it up. And their biggest aha moment, they went to this all day training for eight hours with one takeaway, but it was a powerful one about the power of delegation. And somebody challenged them to say, you know, if you continue going down this path, you know what’s going to happen. And they say, well, I can’t really take on more. And they say, how is it impacting your employees? Is it? Well, I’m not as available as I’d like to be. And then the third kind of question that they have related to this is, can you actually train your staff to do it? It’s a lot of effort, maybe up front, but in the long term, can you train them? You know, so that way they’re trained correctly and they’re like, well, yeah, I guess I can. And then they started delegating out and started training people. And then I actually came in a little bit later. But I thought that was a really nice takeaway and it made my job easier because I was like, great, I don’t have to explain the power delegation to people. And then I started looking at, you know, when I look at delegation, some other managers haven’t had their training. So then I start looking at more specifically, what are preferences of the people you want to delegate that to? What are they naturally like and what are their strengths and weaknesses? And how does that playing a role with what is their skill set? So then we start kind of almost using an instructional design method, one that looks at, you know, delegation. But I’m sure that you guys want to add to it. I’ve got time.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:21:46] I think that was great.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:21:46] Yeah, that was really good. And I and I think I mean, the other thing that I have found and I got I had this really great thought is it’s gone out of my head now. So I’ll say something else is not going to be quite as great. But I like that you brought up the preferences. I think that’s kind of one of the things is that what I find a lot of times as leaders when they first start thinking about delegation, they think about what they would wish they didn’t have to do. And so it’s it’s preference of kind of the leader. Right. Like, I hate these tasks. So let me go find somebody to do my my yukky tasks. For lack of a better word, and so but the problem with that is, is that if if I hate doing the task and I give it to you, Amanda, and you also hate doing the task. Chances are none of us are doing the task, but maybe me. And he loves that type of task. And so I should have delegated to me in that manner because he loves doing those types of things, whereas we we don’t. And so I do think and I think preferences are often overlooked. Or on the flip side, we also assume, like, well, I love doing this, so everybody else must love doing it as well. And that’s not always the case either. So I love that you brought that up. And again, I think that’s one of the things we as behavior analysts like. We know how to look at preferences. We know how to talk about preferences and use them kind of to our advantage, both as potential reinforcers, but also as a way of just increasing job satisfaction.

Amanda Barnett: [00:23:33] How do you guys I have a certain way and I analyze preferences, but what do you guys use, what methods you use to analyze employees’ preferences?

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:23:42] So there’s some great studies in the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, particularly by a guy named Dr. Byron Wine, who’s currently the executive director of the OBM network, and he and some of his colleagues have done a great job, really kind of formalizing some good methodologies around employee preference assessments. And you can find those kind of methodologies in the world of H.R. So H.R. doesn’t call them preference assessments. They call on employee satisfaction surveys or they call them like rewards and recognition surveys or something like that. Right. But it’s essentially a preference assessment. And the way that I’ve used them, I’ve only used ever used them in relation to when an organization wants to beef up their rewards and recognition programs and they’re kind of at a standstill or they’re static or stale, they use the same things over and over again and they really don’t know what else to do. And it almost becomes a big aha moment when you even bring up the idea of why don’t you ask the employees what they want to work for.

[00:24:50] And so you’re. I can ask. Yeah.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:24:54] So asking the employees becomes like, aha, moment number one. But number two is just kind of having a blend of forced choice versus open ended. What I find to be more so than true. And after doing this for so long, it’s amazing. There is some commonality between different industries that a lot of people at the end of the day, they want a handful of things. They want more money. Right. They want to get paid more. And that really lends itself to a pioneer in our field, Dr. Bill Abernathy, who passed away several years ago. He used to say that is the reinforcer to use and the only reinforcer to use. But I digress. So money, but also related to money is paid time off. A lot of people nowadays would say they really just want some paid time off as a reward for their performance. But then it goes into the other categories. The other one that’s most common is even work activity. So they want the ability to do something else if they perform well and there’s probably some other ones. But when it comes to things like gift cards and movie tickets and stuff like that, I think more often than I find those to be down to the bottom of people’s list of preferences. So when you go to ask employees, it’s really more about what activity money and paid time off is usually the ones I hear the most or see the methodology to answer your question is I simply get the organization to start working on asking the employees and you could do it as formal as a survey instrument. Sure. Sometimes as easy as just going to employees and asking them in different groups or one on one, get that data, feed it upward and try to see what the common threads are.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:26:34] And I think some of that research also does say if you do if you do want to do a survey, that you should do more of a Likert type. So instead of do you want this or this or do you like this more than other things, that should just be, I think the recommended format and a lot of the research says, like, how much extra work are you willing to do for this? So, like for a monetary bonus, for extra time off, for social recognition for all of those things. And so that’s usually the way that I do it. But I usually separate preferences in terms of kind of tangible preferences from job preferences. So I will usually recommend doing almost two in terms of one, find out what types of things people might be more willing to work for as opposed to how much they like or dislike different job tasks that they have to do. And I think that just taps into kind of two different things. But you can use them really differently. And especially the smaller companies, they don’t always have access to extra cash flow or capital or that type of thing, but they can use tax preferences to actually increase satisfaction and value.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:28:01] It’s going.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:28:02] Yeah, I don’t want to give an anecdote of the very first OBM project I ever did. We did a preference assessment, in fact, and it was kind of a unique preference assessment. So we gave them a list of, I want to say, 10 or 12 different options. Some of them are your classic five dollar gift card to such and such a random place. But we asked the management beforehand what they were willing to put on there.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:28:30] We put forth some options for them and things that me included were extended lunch breaks, leaving work early and then I think maybe even some extra paid. Might have been an option and the way that we conducted it, and I’m really sad that we didn’t end up publishing this in anyway, the way that we end up conducting it is we gave the preference assessment to all the employees and we had them rank order, their preferences. And then essentially the way we made our decision was that the item we chose had to be within the top cast of preferences for literally everyone and not non-preferred for anyone. And there was literally one thing that met that criteria, and strangely enough, that was lottery tickets and.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:29:23] Do you think it gives the chance for big money.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:29:25] You know, the funny thing was, though, that the intervention itself was also a lottery. So they were in a lottery to earn lottery tickets and it worked out really well. Our data were awesome then.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:29:36] The kind of meta.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:29:38] Yeah, it’s pretty surprising.

Amanda Barnett: [00:29:40] I know this story and it’s hysterical. Can you just tell us a little bit about what happened when you went to deliver the lottery tickets?

Kyle Ditzian: [00:29:48] Yeah. So briefly, our data looked awesome. At first. We had really awful results and baseline as was expected. We implemented the lottery system and things shot up pretty quickly. We then returned to baseline and we were taking data to decide whether or not to move back to intervention.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:30:11] And when I went to get the data on the day before, we were debating basically this last data point was going to decide whether we move back to intervention or not. The way that we were getting things is we were collecting permanent product data. They were the the behavior we were trying to improve was getting these service technicians to fill out some paperwork. And I went and I collected the papers at the end of the day and I noticed that two of the employees there data were missing. And I knew that they should have been there that day. And so I went to the manager and I asked, hey, what? You know what’s going on, where the data for these two people, and I won’t say his exact words, but I will summarize to say those two idiots were messing around in the shop and they lit each other on fire. And so my two best participants, data wise, they lit each other on fire. One was pretty burnt and the other had a hand injury. And they were both subsequently relieved of their positions in the organization and thus not amenable to me collecting more data from them. And they’re very my project ended.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:31:32] Yeah, I would imagine.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:31:35] It was a great introduction to what can go wrong in an Obama project you never thought of.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:31:43] That’s another panel for another time. I think we could probably dovetail into lots of different like what went wrong, what went wrong in my OBM project. That’s right. Oh my God. That would be a lot of fun. We should probably do that.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:31:55] I’m super down with that.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:31:56] Actually, one of the things that that story represents, I think, for me is and this book talks about it, so and it goes back to transition. Right. So one of the things that seems to be true, when you start working with supervisors, managers, directors, executives, you know, the higher you go, the more the problems that you are faced with are even internal interpersonal problems are behavioral in nature.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:32:29] So you think about like when you first get a job, let’s talk like behavior analyst, for example, you come out of school, your behavior analyst, you’re a board certified behavior analyst. You have technical skills, right? You have technical skills.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:32:42] You were trained to do you get a job to do those technical skills. Right. It’s no different than in other industries. If you’re an engineer, you’re an electrical engineer. You got trained to be an electrical engineer. If you’re a medical doctor, you got trained to be a medical doctor. What you didn’t get trained in in all of those different examples, including behavior analyst, is how to be an effective manager. Even those who go to an MBA program, for example, don’t really get trained to be a manager. They get trained on how to look at a business from supply chain of finance and all that stuff. So I think from a transition leadership transition standpoint, I think one of the things I thought could be kind of cool for us to talk about is what are the interpersonal skills that we seem to be focusing on with managers and leaders that help them in their transition. Right. And how do we dovetail that into kind of proactive management for companies to think about those ahead of time so that when somebody transitions into that role, they’re their focus is to develop those interpersonal skills. So it’s kind of like a two part question to the first part is to the panel. Right. What interpersonal skills would you focus on with a new leader transitioning into a role? And I’ll just kick it off right off the bat and say for me, the interpersonal skills, more often than not that I focus on with somebody transitioning to a new role is regarding clarity of expectations. So being able to articulate and communicate to their staff members, to their employees, what is it that they expect to see as performance and what are like the associated goals and objectives of that performance? It’s amazing how, from a technical standpoint, we can be super clear on what we do and how we do it. But when it comes to giving direction to people, it’s a skill all into itself. So I really focus on that with leaders. So I’ll stop with that and open it up to the panel.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:34:41] I think for me, the the major interpersonal skill that I try to work on with especially with fresh leaders, is giving and receiving feedback because people are not very good at either of those things. And if you can give good feedback, you’re like, I feel like 90 percent of the way to being a good leader, especially if you can get the data to support your your feedback to give objective behavior based good feedback. And if you can get someone there like that’s a huge hurdle and it can be one of the one of the most important things of being an effective leader is being someone that people like. I know that we don’t like to admit that, but it is important. And if you can give good feedback, then you are very likely to have a good rapport with the people around you.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:35:37] Yeah, I was going to I was…you stole mine, Kyle. I was going to say I think no one is actually being likable. I need kind of establishing yourself as a reinforcer. And so. I think a lot of times and I can remember a time that I transitioned into a leadership position and was unaware of all the things that were happening and all the politics that were involved.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:36:03] And I went in with really, really clear expectations. But I forgot to actually get people to like me first. And so and I didn’t necessarily check to make sure that my expectations were aligned with the initial company’s expectations or the transition that they were going through.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:36:22] And so I kind of led with the assumptions and thoughts that, well, I was hired and the people who hired me knew what my expectations are. So we must all be aligned. And nothing could have been further from the truth in the moment. And, you know, I think I was like when I left, but it took it took a while, you know, to kind of undo that initial kind of like going in light of. Here’s what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it and everybody else better get on board.

Amanda Barnett: [00:37:00] We have a question from a panel member. [unknown] I have somebody else read this right now. Manny, I’m going to delegate this to you. Can you read this question and summarize what we can help.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:37:16] Absolutely. Absolutely.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:37:18] So so the question is, I am transitioning into a new role which is similar to earlier roles in a different company, but it is a much larger scale in terms of clients and overall team. She knows what all to do, but she feels underprepared. Also being among the few people that have been hired in this day and age. And this is someone who is overseas outside of the United States, but it is a US based company. There is actually no physical presence of seniors from the current company. They are very helpful. But she does feel very anxious. And during this covid-19 situation we are all dealing with across the globe, they have actually been compelled to actually stop everything. So she definitely this person wants to do justice to the supervisory role and stop being so overwhelmed. So what suggestions do we have as a panel? So I read the question out loud. One of the panelists take on the first first take.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:38:23] I guess I’ll jump in and I’m probably going to draw a little bit on personal experience as it wasn’t overseas, but there was a time that I was kind of hired by a larger company to start services in a new territory, so to speak. And I was the only person in that territory by far. So it’s like time zone differences and all of those things that make communication harder, but also kind of being in that situation where you’re the only kind of true physical leader, at least. And so I think with this question, I think there are multiple paths. I think kind of one, just assuming that everything pre-covid, maybe pandemic, if we didn’t ever have the pandemic hit, then there’s a set of skills in terms of not just leadership, but leading on a much larger scale. And and I think that’s one of those. We know that leadership skills are not widely taught. But but there’s a difference in leading a group of 10 or a team of 10 versus leading a team of five hundred. And, you know, I would say the larger the team that you have skills like organization and delegation and really clear communication, that type of thing is even more important because you you can’t talk to every person one on one and clarify what you meant, that email or clarify what you meant and that the training that went global. So so those would be maybe three of the biggest skills that I would focus on first and foremost. And and I honestly even think that would take you through the pandemic. Right. Like the the organizations that I’ve been talking to that are having the most difficult problems right now are those that don’t have clear communication, that don’t have leadership, that is highly organized. And and and you just see everything start to kind of fall apart.

Kyle Ditzian: [00:40:36] Can I just jump in real quick here? I think that’s something that a lot of times is said, but without instructions for how to do it is is to communicate clearly. I think that so for me, the way that I actively try to make sure that my communication is very clear to everyone else is to reread your emails, reread your communication, and see if there is literally any way that this could be construed. That is not what you were intending. And if there is literally any possible way that what you are writing could be misunderstood and reworded, because especially the more people you’re sending this out to, the more important it is because someone will misunderstand based on exactly what you thought, no matter how absurd that misunderstanding might seem to be, that you would think that they would be able to logic that away. They will not clarify your communication by rereading your emails and making sure that any possible misunderstandings have been going away with dealt with by your wording choice. OK, that’s good.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:41:44] That’s really good.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:41:45] I think going with that, especially for emails, is if you have to give detailed or lengthy instructions, put them at the bottom. So say I need you to log blah, blah, blah. That’s the instruction. And then put in parentheses, see below and task it out below. That’s because our as humans, our attention span is very, very short. I used to I used to have a dear friend of mine and colleague, but she used to send like five page emails and we would get like six of them a day sometimes, and I wouldn’t read any of them.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:42:24] And I was in a pretty high level of leadership. But I was like, I don’t have time to read this nor like the capacity to understand what you’re trying to tell me. And she used to be so mad at me because I would just call her and say, like, so what’s that email say? But I always kind of use myself as the example.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:42:40] I’m a lazy email responder, and so if I’m not going to respond to it, then I probably need to revise.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:42:49] Oh, that’s a good. That’s good. I like that. But now, now, now we know why Natalie doesn’t respond to our lengthy emails.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:42:55] I will respond to the first two lines [laughing].

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:43:00] I’m just kidding. I’m just joking.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:43:03] I wanted to jump into it and answer this question from a similar and yet different, I guess. But there’s a guy in our field that organizational behavior management for me is one of the pioneers in the safety world, Dr. Tim Ludwig and. In the in literature, there’s a lot of mess around the definition of culture, right? And he simplified it very, very nicely in a presentation years ago and he said culture is really just people talking at work. And and if you get people talking at work, you’re going to see all sorts of behavior. What gets reinforced, what gets punished. But at the end of the day, it’s people talking at work. That’s what a culture is. Now, what’s interesting about that and why I bring that up is this question that we got from the audience is really talking about the reality that our culture is now virtual in many organizations today. People are now working from home or working overseas for an American company, but they’re in isolation from that day to day interface, that physical presence of people talking to each other. And so it’s forced us into a virtual platform. Hence, we are now in a zoom meeting. Right. And our culture. So Kyle, Amanda, Natalie and I, we met face to face a few times in this world.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:44:25] But now we are forced to talk virtually and we do so very well. But imagine if we didn’t and we only interface email. And so the tips that I heard are brilliant. And when there’s a lack of that virtual discussion, but the the advice that I would give, the suggestion that I would give to the person that asked the question is to look for those opportunities where you can do the interface on a virtual platform. So having video conferencing meetings I think is far superior than having a phone call. I think a phone call is far superior than doing an email. I think an email is far superior than doing nothing. So so if you think about, like, the speed steps of communication, if we wanted to call it that, is if you are in a situation where you are forced to work virtually and you are overseas and and you build the complexity of having to work with people that you’re not physically around, then trying to simulate it in a way like a video conferencing is, for me, absolutely paramount for your success, because at the end you’re going to create that culture that you want to be productive and be efficient in your work. So I thought I’d say that. Amanda did a nice job summarizing everything that’s great.

Amanda Barnett: [00:45:47] I was taking some notes!.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:45:51] You know, maybe I think one of the things that I thought about when you were talking about the virtual culture that I that I think and it’s funny because I’m really used to a virtual culture. I’ve been in it for a lot of years now. And I think there are things that I’ve adjusted to. But I didn’t necessarily I wasn’t as aware of until everybody else had to adjust.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:46:15] But there are a lot of more private conversations that happen that make kind of the overall company culture still the company culture, at least for those people having those conversations. But you as a leader are not privy to them anymore because they’re happening on instant messenger or they’re happening in their video conferences, which are not a part of. And and so when you’re a leader that is in a physical office space with other people, you can walk around, you can pick up on maybe not everything that people are saying. But, you know, if somebody just said something that was inappropriate or mean somebody mad because their facial expressions change, their body language changes, and we not only don’t have privy to that anymore. And so I like having the video conferences, but I think also you as a leader almost have to go the extra mile and send little instant messengers to your team, send emails, determine kind of, again, what their preferences for communication are. I have some team members that are phone people. I have others that are text or instant messenger people. And I can tell you as a leader, I have my own preferences, but those don’t really matter when I’m dealing with my my team, I have to go with where their preferences are. And so I think that’s kind of the other thing is have the video conferences and, you know, kind of touch them the best way you can, so to speak, advice wise. But also kind of you have to be very aware that you may have to be doing things that you know nothing about.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:48:07] Love it. Let’s do a quick I love the tips that does a great. Time check. What’s our time check?

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:48:13] We are forty eight minutes in.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:48:15] All right. So and a CEU, one CEU credit is 50 minutes. Man, we nailed that. So great questions from the chat room there. Amanda, great question. Since it’s Amanda, you kicked it off. I’m going to put you in the hot seat to kind of close this out and whatever we want to. You can ask us one last question or whatever you want.

Amanda Barnett: [00:48:36] Sounds good. Well, I first want to thank everybody who joined us today, especially because it was so impromptu. I was actually very nicely and humbly surprised by everybody that really joined us today and the discussions that were, you know, and the questions that were asked. I love that. And it’s one thing to have me ask these questions because I’m dealing with these sorts of issues and I want to pick the brains of Kyle, Natalie and Manny. But I love hearing from you guys and what what’s important to you. So thank you. And I guess to summarize everything that we’ve talked about so far, I put it up in the in the chat, but really just to bring it all home, the first one is really look at a talent pipeline and how we do this as H.R. practitioners, we might look at building relationships and how we build up that bench, so to speak, so that we are not always having to scramble for talented employees.

Amanda Barnett: [00:49:33] And I just recently had this discussion yesterday with somebody and all they would do is just put out an ad on indeed whenever they needed somebody. But they want to do the follow up or keep people in tabs and say, hey, would you like to be in contact if there’s another role and then keep in contact with these individuals and they don’t really have relationships built with colleges or really knew about apprenticeship models. So these are the sorts of things that in our very field I personally am trying to work towards, but that’s going to build a talent pipeline so we don’t hopefully have to worry about honestly scrambling for staff. Which leads us to the next one is build a leadership pipeline. So once you’re kind of stable with your staff, how do we look at the competencies or the behavioral response classes needed to move up? And then how do we train of fluency and mastery on those skills and provide opportunities for that. Manny and gave some great book references that are in the group chat earlier. Third. Just have leaders write down what they’re doing. So ideally that can skew and people end up taking on a lot more because they want to be helpful. And then it becomes so far out of the responsibilities. And I personally don’t write down everything that I do during a day. So a good way to stay and think of this stuff is just a quarterly review time. Or whenever you have reviews, just look at that list and see if there’s any updates that need to be made to make sure that’s accurate. And then there’s only really just a couple more do preference assessments to make sure that when we’re looking at skills for successful delegation, we’re thinking of those as well, and then delegate and build rapport with employees so people like you and make sure that you’re good at providing feedback.

Amanda Barnett: [00:51:12] All right, well, thank you guys for joining, and I would like to have this happen every week. So we are in the works right now of making this available.

Amanda Barnett: [00:51:23] So if you guys really found this helpful and beneficial, you know, just check out our feeds on social media and see when we’re having our next talk.

Dr. Natalie Parks: [00:51:32] See you when we pop up again. And thank you to those who already typed in their emails who are interested in getting CS. But if you have not done that yet and do you want to see you, I will need your email so I can email you how to obtain that. So go ahead and type that in. Nice job summarizing, Amanda.

Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez: [00:51:55] All right. All right. Well, thank you very much. Thank you all for joining us. [music playing]

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