Psychology of Performance #56: Innovation and Maintenance

Man having an idea!

Our businesses and as us as individuals have expectations, beliefs, and assumptions that if we don’t innovate (or as individuals, have new achievements and personal bests) we will lose business, lose ground against the competition, lose our position, and just plain lose in life. Farnam Street (newsletter@farnamstreetblog.com) has many resources on this topic and how these beliefs and assumptions affect performance. This week it highlighted an article by Andrew Russell & Lee Vinsel called Hail the Maintainers.

https://aeon.co/essays/innovation-is-overvalued-maintenance-often-matters-more

This article is a wonderful resource and stimulated my thinking for this blog post.

The assumption is that if business does not innovate, disruptive events can occur that will reduce performance, up to and including, the end of the business. Russell and Vinsel noted that innovation has become what psychologists would call an embedded, unchallenged assumption.  They go on to state that innovation is a small percentage of the time and activity of most businesses. What is actually the case is that many aspects of performance are focused on maintenance. Those who do the maintenance, the day-to-day tasks, recalibration, and incremental improvements deliver consistent results for their customers and clients. They are able to continue and perform day after day. A key element is improvement versus innovation. What does improvement mean for your business performance?

On an individual performance level, it is important that we do our own personal maintenance. This involves getting adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management, and connecting moments. This also implies avoiding behavior patterns that detract from maintaining ourselves optimally such as smoking, over eating, working too much, and others.

On an individual performance level, we are faced everyday with maintenance and recalibration choices. Our self-talk related to these choices — our beliefs and judgments about these choices — influence our ability to stay within an optimal maintenance range. This is a complex range of behaviors and attitudes, not very amenable to all-or-none thinking. “Good enough,” “just show up,” “do your best, forget the rest,” and  “soft face, calm interior” are a few handrails that can be used to override thoughts and judgments that may interfere with individual performance.

My dear friend, colleague, and business partner, Dr. Richard T. Lindsey, used phone cords as his metaphor for the importance of maintenance. His mission was to straighten all the phone cords that were tangled as a picture of maintaining our tools and gifts for optimal performance. He has been so successful that most of our phones no longer even bother having cords! !

There are events such as new laws, new technology, and new delivery models that are innovative and affect performance of business and individuals in dramatic ways. These are game changers, however, they are often not category killers.  On the other hand, the majority of  businesses and individuals that deliver consistently good service and products continue to perform in their sectorsWhat are the high performance markers for your organization? These indicators would include: profit margin, cash reserves (how long is your runway if a disruptive event occurred?), debt, cash flow, positive culture, organizational life span challenges and resolutions, clear organizational structure with bench strength and lines of authority,  leadership that has clear vision and ability to execute, along with long range cognitive complexity, and finally the organizational ability to identify and make incremental changes as well as remove constraints in work processes and flow.

Individually, we also have high performance markers. What is your overall health level? Have you been healthier this year than last year? How is your daily energy? Is it improving or declining? What are your markers on endurance, strength, flexibility, and your immune system? Are your finances better or worse this year? How are your interpersonal relationships?

Whether organizationally or individually, noting the tension between innovation and maintenance can be an important awareness that allows for mindful and intentional management.

Have a day filled with loving kindness and compassion!

Bob

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist

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Empathy for Bullies

Kick Me

We have all grown up with at least one kid in school whose main goal in life was to terrorize our classmates in any and every way possible. Some of us feared this kid. Some of us hated this kid. And for the rest of us, there was likely a level of indifference for this kid because, for some reason, we managed to stay out of sight enough to not be one of his victims. In any case, we definitely didn’t want to be one of their targets.  But how many of us can say that we had an ounce of empathy for the class bully? I know I never did. Any time something unfortunate happened to this bully, such as getting a referral to the office or getting suspended, there was always this feeling of redemption and that justice had been served! There was a sense of relief. That is, until the bully returned to school….

Bullying has become a pervasive part of our school communities. The bullying epidemic has become so pronounced that anti-bullying campaigns and programs have been forged to help protect the victims of bullies. But, what about the bullies themselves? How are we addressing the deeper rooted issues that cause these children to violate the boundaries of their peers? Quite often, behind every bully is an even bigger bully. Bullying behavior is learned and most bullies are being bullied themselves. In addition, it is often likely that bullies are suffering from some type of mental health or learning disability, which can impact their cognition, their ability to accurately interpret social interactions and cues, and their ability to properly identify and effectively communicate their feelings. When the consequences for bullying behavior are reactive rather than proactive, we find ourselves unintentionally perpetuating the bullying cycle. This in turn makes it difficult to be tolerant of, and patient with, children who engage in bullying behavior.

We start to label these children as “bad children.” We write them off and decide their fates for them because we are unaware of how to support them. The first way we can show empathy for bullies is to separate the child from the behavior. There is no such thing as a “bad child.” There is only bad behavior. Another way we can find empathy for bullies is to find out which positive adult role model the child likes most (i.e. school staff, family member, community member, etc.) and use that relationship to foster positive behaviors and interactions with others. Also, try and recognize and acknowledge any positive or desired behaviors, no matter how small or insignificant they may be. Positive reinforcement can go a long way. These are, by no means, a cure all for the bulling epidemic that is happening in our society. However, these are a couple of helpful examples that may enable us to have more compassion and empathy for bullies.

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Ashley Wiggins, MSW

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Total Wellbeing: May 2016

 

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May 2016: Environmental Wellbeing

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photo-1428604467652-115d9d71a7f1Welcome to the May issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we set our sights on Environmental Wellbeing. Most of the time we ask you to be mindful of the present, to be in the here and now. While the present is important it is also imperative to consider the downstream consequences of our choices. Never is this truer than with our environment. When we talk about environmental wellbeing we are talking about the wellbeing of all the places we live and function in. This can include our homes all the way up the Earth itself. We feed back into these environments in negative and positive ways. For instance we cut down trees for materials but we also plant trees to help rebuild forests or make our neighborhoods beautiful. It’s more than balance because we need to be doing more good than harm. We all need to look at how we can live greener and ensure our environments remain healthy places for us to work, play, and live. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

Head over to MINESblog and check out MINES’ tribute to National Stress Awareness and National Poetry Month. We posted some poems that are sure to help you de-stress and maybe even help you get some creative energy flowing while you’re at it.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. See you next month!

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: Environmental Wellbeing and the Future

Environmental Wellbeing is interesting in that when thinking about the environment it is critical to not only think about the present but to focus on the future as well. We always preach about being mindful and in the moment but our environments don’t change moment to moment based on our moods, thoughts, and behaviors. Our environments — ranging from our immediate surroundings such as work or home, to our bigger environments like our cities, national parks, and oceans — take years to make significant changes. So it is with this forward-thinking mindset that we must treat our environments with the respect and care necessary to cultivate happy, healthy environments for ourselves and for future generations. Pick up trash where you see it, support legislation that focuses on sustainable food and energy sources, and just be mindful of the personal impact that you make every day. It’s not easy but if we all practice this sort of care we will all be healthier, happier, and better off in the long run and so will our environments.

Tips for you:

How can we live lightly on the Earth and save money at the same time? Staff members at the Worldwatch Institute, a global environmental organization, share ideas on how to go green and save green at home and at work. Check out the 10 great ideas WorldWatch.org has to help you live a little greener one step at a time.

See list here!

The Connection: Get Involved

Wellbeing does not simply start and stop at the individual. Our community is connected to each of our own individual wellbeing in a huge way. When we are well we can better function within our community.  We can help our fellow humans thrive, and in turn, when our community is prospering, it helps each of us reach our goals as individuals. So why not help our community so we can all thrive together? Each month we will strive to bring you resources that can help you enhance the wellbeing of those around you or get involved with important causes.

Community Wellbeing Resources:

If you haven’t heard of the Litterati movement you should check it out. Litterati is a global social media movement that utilizes an app and hashtags (#litterati) to identify, map, and collect litter around the world as users photograph themselves picking up litter around their communities. Anyone can do it, it’s fun, easy, and a great way to get involved with a global cleanup effort.

See how you can help!

 If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.
 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Happy National Stress (and Poetry) Month!

shakespeare_william

You may or may not know that April is National Stress Awareness month, but on the flip side it is also National Poetry month (and for those trivia fans out there this month will also mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death). This is a nice juxtaposition if you ask us because it allows MINES the chance to bring you some stress-reducing, wellness-inspired poetry in the honor of these two great topics. Enjoy!

Haiku anyone?

Busy mind inside

Raging like a waterfall

Calmed by a deep breath

One more?

Always know that you

Are never alone, because

We are here for you

How about a Limerick?

An employee was once caught in a jam

Suffering stress like a final exam

They picked up the phone

And upon hearing the tone

Called the employee assistance program

And in the spirit of Shakespeare himself

A wellness sonnet:

Work/life balance can force you to juggle

Between fam’ly and work time can be rare

If you find that you have the same struggle

Do not forget there are people that care

Seek out the ways that you can vent your strife

Good food, good friends, or just a stroll outside

These can help calm the rough waters of life

Feel free, seek peace in ways that you decide

But don’t despair; worry can take its toll

Just say “goodbye” to your mental cargo

Sometimes the stress in life you can’t control

Patience, with time, you learn to let it go

Breathe deep, unwind, your stress you will succeed

If not a place like MINES is what you need

We hope you enjoyed, and remember that being creative, for example by writing, drawing, painting, writing music, and any other creative, productive activity, is great for your mind and overall wellbeing and is a great stress reducer. So get out there and create, we can guarantee you will be happy you did.

To your wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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Total Wellbeing: April 2016

 

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April 2016: Intellectual Wellbeing

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Death_to_stock_photography_weekend_work (7 of 10)

Welcome to the April issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we are bringing you resources to support your Intellectual Wellbeing. This time around we ask that you take a look at how technology impacts your life, specifically your intellect. Like many things, technology is a tool that can be used or abused. In a world of mobile apps, reality TV shows, and video games, the key is making smart choices. Choose a puzzle game that will work your mind rather than a mindless shooting game. Choose a video to watch that aims to educate rather than the latest celebrity fail video. Today’s technology and flow of information allow us to transfer knowledge and learn faster than any generation of human beings before us. Make sure to take advantage of this fact and make your next Internet search one that will teach you something you’ve always wanted to know, and then keep going. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

We hope you saw our posts on MINESblog last month. In the spirit of March’s turbulent weather our first post looked at weathering conflict in the workplace where we presented some of our workplace conflict stories and analyzed how management may have been able to achieve a resolution. Then towards the end of the week we turned our attention to Role of ADA, FMLA, Mental Health Accommodations and Employee Performance, which provided a good overview of one of this year’s hottest Human Resources concerns.

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. See you next month!

 

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: Intellectual Wellbeing and Technology

A popular criticism of technology is that it is helping make us lazy. Is this true or does it really all come down to how we choose to utilize technology? Sure, our reliance on tech devices such as “smart” phones may mean people remember fewer phone numbers by heart and spend too much time in front of a screen, but at the same time our access to the internet anytime, anywhere means we have more information at the tips of our fingers at any given time than ever before. Please use this to your advantage and learn whereever and whenever you can. Don’t get lost in the sea of information flowing around, use it to find new and exciting things and expand your mind as you navigate a landscape of capabilities never before possible thanks to technology. Or just go play level 214 on Candy Crush, it’s up to you.

Tips for you:

As MINES has consistently stated, you need to nurture your brain and engage in lifelong learning as much as possible to get the most from your intellect. To help, why not utilize a device most of use every day, our phones, and find games that challenge your intellect. While some mobile games help you tune out and shut off your mind, the right game can help you engage your brain and practice things like memory, hand eye coordination, and more. Check out what tomsguide.com thinks are some of the best brain games out for mobile devices.

See list here!

The Connection: Get Involved

Wellbeing does not simply start and stop at the individual. Our community is connected to each of our own individual wellbeing in a huge way. When we are well we can better function within our community.  We can help our fellow humans thrive, and in turn, when our community is prospering, it helps each of us reach our goals as individuals. So why not help our community so we can all thrive together? Each month we will strive to bring you resources that can help you enhance the wellbeing of those around you or get involved with important causes.

Community Wellbeing Resources:

Intellectual wellbeing on a community level has been the concern of the public library system for decades. People often associate libraries only with books, but as technology has evolved so have they. Libraries are now a major source of electronic media and internet access for thousands of people. This access is an important public resource for research, job searching, private study, and entertainment. Help support your libraries through donations or volunteering and support your communities’ oldest intellectual resource.

See how you can help!

 If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.
 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Psychology of Performance #55: The Role of ADA, FMLA, Mental Health Accommodations and Employee Performance

Employee work performance can be impacted and/or affected by numerous variables. This blog focuses specifically on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the implications for employer accommodations for those with mental health diagnoses. There is still stigma and urban myth regarding employees with mental health diagnoses which lead to a number of problems for employees and employers alike.  Employers may not understand that an employee with a mental health diagnosis needs an accommodation, much less what that accommodation might be. Whether the employer understands this or not, the employer is legally obligated, unless it poses an undue hardship, to accommodate the employee so the employee can perform optimally. This blog does not address the myriad legal issues associated with the ADA and mental health accommodations. It focuses on providing a context for the complexity of mental health diagnoses and the need for understanding each employee’s needs and how the accommodation will enhance their work performance.

How does the employer determine what is a reasonable accommodation for a mental health ADA request?

This is particularly difficult given the variance in a diagnosis, much less across diagnoses. There are cognitive considerations, interpersonal considerations, physical space considerations, energy restoration elements, work group dynamics, HIPAA privacy concerns, employer limits on what can be requested and asked, threat to the individual’s health as well as to others.

In addition, how does the employer manage FMLA requests related to mental health illnesses?

  • What amounts of time are appropriate to be out of work?
  • What is the treatment plan to get back to work?
  • Does the employer have the expertise to even begin to evaluate the requests?

Psychological Assessment of Functioning and Performance

The array of broad psychological diagnostic categories that may require accommodations is large. The following broad categories include: depressive disorders, bipolar disorders, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive spectrum, trauma and stressor-related disorders, sleep wake disorders, dissociative disorders, mood disorders, neurocognitive disorders, personality and personality disorders, schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, eating disorders, substance related disorders, and a number of others. Each of these may have specific symptoms of a particular intensity, frequency, or duration that may require an accommodation. For the purpose of this blog, depressive disorders will be the focus of discussion.

  • Depressive Disorders “include disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, major depressive disorder (including major depressive episode), persistent depressive disorder, (dysthymia), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, substance/medication-induced depressive disorder, depressive disorder due to another medical condition, other specified depressive disorder, and unspecified depressive disorder” (p. 155, DSM-5)
  • The assessment must be related to job function. For example, in the case of depression, accommodations could be coming in later due to the impact of medication or because an early morning depressive feature gets better throughout the day; a nap that is medication related or sleep related; tools to improve cognitive functioning, which can be affected by depression (such as memory, concentration, complex problem solving) such as memory aids, quality assurance reviews. An accommodation may also be needed for time to see a psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist.
  • Second opinions for ADA accommodation requests. It may be the case that a mental health professional signs a letter asking for an accommodation without any idea of the specific job functions that the employee is asking to be accommodated for. An employer should send the accommodation request back to the mental health professional with the job description and ask what accommodations may allow the employee to do the essential functions of the job. Accommodations may need to be permanent or just temporary while the employee heals.

Intense and/or Complex Case Management for Absence Management

Human Resources and management in all likelihood do not have the time or expertise to manage these types of accommodation requests or absence requests. Providing case management expertise to support the employee in getting good care and returning to work can expedite the entire process. The following are considerations for case management.

  • Intensive case management for all cases that have either a primary psychological diagnosis or co-morbid psychological diagnosis.
  • Adherence and relapse considerations related to treatment and return to work are central to this approach.
  • Communication among all providers, the employer, and the employee/employee’s family is essential for a timely return to work.
  • When the employee returns to work, what, if any, accommodations will be needed? In the area of psychological diagnosis, each case stands on its own merits related to frequency, intensity, and duration of symptoms. For example, a diagnosis of depression can range from mild to severe/treatment resistant. There are no cookie cutter accommodations that can be applied across the board. This is where consultation with the case manager, the provider, and the employer is crucial for the success of the employee and the department the employee is returning to.

Psychological Considerations in ADA and FMLA Accommodation Requests

  • What psychological functioning needs accommodation?
  • How many ways can this accommodation occur?
  • What is the impact of the accommodation on the work group/coworkers?
  • How best can this be addressed with the work group so everyone understands and is on the same page without violating the employee’s privacy?
  • Who best can assess the accommodation needs?

Psychologists, Psychiatrists & Other Mental Health Professionals

  • What are their methods?
  • What is the validity and reliability of their methods?
  • Do they assess the workplace as well or just rely on employee self-report?

Common barriers to carrying out this type of intense/complex case management and accommodation process

  • Timeliness of communication between the professional parties.
  • Assessment methodology of treating professional.
  • Adequacy of the treatment plan.
  • Vested interest by the employee not to get better if it is possible with their condition. Getting the releases of information in a timely manner.

Ways to overcome barriers

  • Have HR get the releases of information signed when the accommodation request or leave request comes in.
  • The case manager needs to join with the provider in a collaborative manner rather than an adversarial manner with the best interests of the employee and employer in mind. This can be communicated up front with the provider to ensure timely communication.
  • The case manager can ask for skill based assessment information. If the provider is not able to do so, second opinions should be sought out to allow for a more informed decision process related to the accommodation. The point of the accommodation is to optimize the employee’s success on the job.
  • If the condition is one that should show improvement with treatment and the employee is not getting better, the case manager needs to address this with the provider and determine if it is the correct treatment. Are there secondary gains for the employee to maintain the accommodations (e.g., working from home rather than commuting in when everyone else in the work group works at the office)?
  • If the case manager reviews the treatment plan and it does not look adequate, the case manager needs to confer with the provider to determine if the provider is able to enhance the treatment plans in a manner that more objectively show improvement and return the employee to work in a timely manner. The guideline is the longer employees are out of work, the lower the probability they will return to work.

The ADA allows employers to retain employees who work for them and can perform at high levels with some accommodations. There are several elements that need to be taken into account that when put into place help the employee to perform well, be self-sufficient, and contribute to the prosperity of the employer organization as well as their community.

 

Have a day filled with loving kindness and compassion,

Bob

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist

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In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb: Weathering Conflict in the Workplace

“In like a lion, out like a lamb”, is a popular figure of speech for March’s sometime turbulent weather. It can also be a parallel for the resolution process between people in conflict. Conflict can come in all shapes and sizes. Conflict can be scary, frustrating, distracting, but it can also be a little interesting, which is why conflict is an essential element to storytelling. Without conflict you have little to nothing to draw the reader/viewer into your story. As movie-viewers, we like to see the cause and effect of a tale’s conflict play out until it’s (hopefully) satisfying conclusion where the aforementioned conflict is resolved. Our lives are not movies though, and as such we like to keep drama to a minimum as resolving conflict in reality is no easy matter. Try as we might to keep conflict out of our daily lives it does not always work out this way. MINES would like to present a few workplace conflict stories of our own and with the help of our CEO, Dr. Robert Mines, explore the root causes and possible paths to resolution.

# 1: Couple Communication

An unnamed couple who lived in the mountains were having a typical marital discord one frosty evening; one of those age-old repetitive themes that just seemed to come back up and go nowhere. It was going nowhere – not a shining example of good communication and useful conflict resolution skills. Things heated up enough inside that the wife of the couple stormed out into the cold  –who knows – perhaps to cool off. The frustrated husband was at wits end at the stalemate and impenetrable wall. He decided there was no recourse but desperate measures…and that desperate measure came in a flash. He quickly removed every stitch of clothing… every stitch. He emerged onto the icy porch where she sat shivering and steaming on the front porch swing. He sat next to her with appropriate distance and let her know he wasn’t returning inside until they had dealt with the issue. Fortunately for him, instead of bolting back inside she just had to laugh. Laughter melts so many walls. Disaster averted – one for the record books. Not recommended for Mediation 101!

Expert Opinion:

You have to love the partner’s creativity, risk–taking, and the wife’s sense of humor! Sometimes a pattern interrupt is genius in getting attention and helping all parties shift off of their position. We all have a narrative story we bring to our relationships. We have a set of expectations regarding how the other person should act. When the narrative gets played out or the beliefs/expectations are violated, we have a problem. The art is to do what this couple did and keep the communication open and alive. Frostbite is contraindicated! Keep it warm!

# 2: Employee Friction

Employee was toxic in the sense the he gossiped about others, would pit colleagues against each other behind their backs, wasted time talking rather than doing his work, and would think one employee was the best ever and then be angry with them when they disagreed on an issue. The employee was transferred from department to department with the same results. Finally the manager of the employee’s current supervisor gave the supervisor direction on how to manage the employee and start progressive discipline. The new supervisor thought he could work with this employee and passively ignored his manager until one day the toxic employee expressed his disappointment in the supervisor and how angry he was at the supervisor. In the meantime the manager and supervisor had one heated exchange after another about the supervisor protecting the employee at the risk of all the other employees who did not want to work with employee anymore.

Expert Opinion:

In this case, a number of psychological factors may be at play. First, the toxic employee has a recurring pattern that continues over time and is disruptive in relationship after relationship. The worst case would be an employee who had personality disorder qualities (if not a full blown diagnosis). The prognosis for this type of employee is poor even with management interventions or psychotherapy. Management is best to cut their losses and move on.

The other element of the story has to do with the manager’s ineffectiveness with her own report, the supervisor. Why did she put up with their behavior pattern? What were their patterns as a manager? What about the supervisor? What was going on with the supervisor that they thought he would be the one who turned this employee around when no other supervisor could? The manager and supervisor’s behavior actually are also diagnostic of the personality disorder qualities of the toxic employee. This type of employee plays a great game of “lets you and she fi.” They manipulate the other parties by playing the grateful victim with the current supervisor, enlisting their help (because, after all, they are the best supervisor they ever had, until they are not) and getting them to right the wrongs committed by the previous supervisor or even better, the manager! In the psychology world, this is called splitting behavior. This employee should be given the opportunity to showcase their gifts and talents elsewhere (also known as the next employer the employee is going to blame).

# 3: Awkward Situation

Allegations were made by an employee subordinate that their manager had made gender and race biased comments about other employees, not the employee making the allegations. HR investigated and found no cause. As part of the investigation the manager found out who made the allegations. The manager was angry and hurt regarding the allegations as he stated they were not true. After being vindicated the manager still had to work with the employee who made the allegations. This conflictual relationship affected the quality of both employee‘s workdays until it was addressed by upper management and HR.

Expert Opinion:

In this case, the trust level of the manager and the employee are at a low point. A conflict resolution meeting is in order. It is similar to marital counseling rather than mediation. In this case, the two would individually meet and discuss their experience, expectations, and hopes for what the work relationship could be and then the facilitator meets with them together to hash out a work agreement (think: every relationship has a contract, just that most are not written down). Then the three meet with the supervisor to get buy in on the agreements. The supervisor follows up monthly with the two for the next 3-6 months to help them stay on course with their contract. In most cases like this, MINES has an 80% success rate. These services are part the EAP contract at no additional charge for the first four hours.

# 4: Full Circle

Working at the hospital there was a team lead who picked on everyone (mostly just trying to get under their skin.) Most of the staff couldn’t stand him but the hospital wouldn’t fire him because his mother was a nurse there. Eventually they promoted him to be a manager at a different hospital. Within the first year he was caught having an inappropriate relationship with one of the janitorial staff. They demoted him but did not fire him. From the last I heard he works in a call center where everyone who he had picked on before now knows what he did.

Expert Opinion:

Oh my, his mother must have been a powerful employee for some informal and unknown reason. Nepotism in an organization can work in many situations. Unfortunately, when it goes bad, it goes really bad. In this case, the human resource issues are a concern, the morale of team members being picked on would be low and diminish their productivity and enjoyment at work, the person in the relationship may have been a subordinate and at risk. If it was consensual, did they break it off or continue to see each other? Finally, what was going on with this person that he stayed at that employer?  From a developmental psychology perspective, his behavior has adolescent qualities versus predatory qualities. The employee is a poor candidate for improvement at this point if we assume he is in his in  late 20’s/early 30’s. Management needs to also look at its role in enabling this behavior, ignoring sound management principles, following a progressive discipline process, and finally what is going on with their leadership that they keep this cycle going?

Toxic work environments bred by conflict can present a huge risk for organizations. Terminations, expensive lawsuits, lost clients, and more are all possible outcomes of workplace conflict. It is important that managers recognize and act quickly when a potential conflict arises. Organizational training and consultation can help prevent such conflict and if the situation has gone unchecked and conflict is already at full steam, experts can help mediate and help the organization resolve the situation and limit negative consequences. MINES and Associates has a vast amount of experience in this role. If you or your organization has problems with workplace conflict, please contact MINES at 800-873-7138 today, to see how we can help.

 

To your (and your organization’s) wellbeing,

̶  The MINES Team

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Total Wellbeing: March 2016

 

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March 2016: Emotional Wellbeing

Get Involved!

Welcome to the March issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we are bringing you resources to support your Emotional Wellbeing. As you nurture your Emotional Wellbeing remember that it is important to look at the bright side. The interplay between our perception and our emotions is a powerful connection that is important to be aware of. Put simply, depending on your outlook, your mind can perceive a situation in a positive light or a negative one, in turn making the situation either better or worse than it may actually be. It is important to remember that you have the power to influence your perception and to take steps to make sure you maintain a positive outlook as you navigate life’s day-to-day challenges. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.

We hope you saw our posts on MINESblog last month. If you missed it you’re sure to want to check out our examination of the leadership and culture of the Denver Broncos as they headed towards their Super Bowl 50 victory. Next our Leap day post may have explored what you can do with a little extra time on your hands, but don’t worry you don’t have to wait another 4 years to take advantage of it, seize the day now!

As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. See you next month!

 

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The Path: Emotional Wellbeing and Perspective

This month we’d like to talk about the relationship perspective has with our emotional wellbeing. It’s the old metaphor of looking at a glass as half full rather than half empty. Keeping your mind on the positive side of a situation can be a very powerful tool in your wellbeing repertoire. For instance if you try and perceive a typically anxiety-inducing situation as a challenge that you can overcome, rather than an insurmountable obstacle, you can begin to turn your anxiety into excitement as you strive to triumph over whatever is in your path. So if you need an emotional boost try changing your perspective, you can accomplish this by doing something that will put your mind into a different mode of thought. Try listening to some music you love, doing something creative like painting or writing, going outdoors for some fresh air, or try going somewhere new such as a new restaurant. You’ll find that a change in perspective may help you see things in a more positive light!

Tips for you:

Taking care of your emotional health is as important as taking care of your physical body. If your emotional health is out of balance, you may experience high blood pressure, ulcers, chest pain, or a host of other physical symptoms. Check out 10 ways that you can boost your own emotional wellbeing.

Read tips here!

The Connection: Get Involved

Wellbeing does not simply start and stop at the individual. Our community is connected to each of our own individual wellbeing in a huge way. When we are well we can better function within our community.  We can help our fellow humans thrive, and in turn, when our community is prospering, it helps each of us reach our goals as individuals. So why not help our community so we can all thrive together? Each month we will strive to bring you resources that can help you enhance the wellbeing of those around you or get involved with important causes.

Community Wellbeing Resources:

When the going gets tough even the tough can get emotional. Everyone needs support sometimes and there is nothing at all wrong with that. In fact it is very healthy to seek support when you need it. Friends and family are a great source for this type of support, however, sometimes you need to talk to people that can better relate with the situation. That’s where support groups come in. They can be a great way to connect with people that are going through the same thing you are. Check out Mental Health America’s database of support groups to find local support over a wide variety of topics.

Check out this great resource!

 If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.
 mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Carpe Diem (Leap Year Edition)

Enjoying the SceneryAs everyone is probably aware, leap years come around but once every 4 years giving us an extra day and making it difficult for people born on this day to properly celebrate birthdays. So what to do with this extra day? Now we understand that leap day this year is on a Monday and as such many of us will be busy working on February 29th. However we would still like to use this day as a reminder for us all to remember that time is precious and we must take advantage of extra time when we get the chance. So please pick a day and take some time to do something fun, productive, relaxing, entertaining, invigorating, healthy, or even unfamiliar. To help out we asked our own MINES staff what they would be doing with their extra day this year. Here are some of the great ideas that were shared.

 Make the Most of It!

“February 29th, I will wake up early and make a good wholesome breakfast, and then make sure I get double the workout in that day, and attempt to get 15,000 steps instead of the normal 7,500!”  – E.J.

Have Fun!

“For Leap day I will be taking my dogs to the park so we can all relax and have some fun.”  – A.H.

Relax!

“I would spend the day trying to rejuvenate my brain and body.  In this day and age I believe we tend to always be on the go, never stopping to just “BE.”  I would like to walk on a beach, or through the forest and take all the good things in.  By taking time to be good to myself, I can be more in tune with others and in turn help them.”  – S.M.

Be Social!

“For my leap day this year, I will be traveling to a conference that I attend every other year. Besides being a great opportunity to learn about more in my craft, it’s a great opportunity to meet many of my colleagues, nationwide, and share in a day of pure social interaction before the conference kicks off the next day.”  – R.L.

Or Not, It’s Your Day!

“Sometimes when I come across unexpected free time, I like to take the opportunity to recharge my batteries. Kick back with a good book, game, or movie and relax. Who knows, it might be another 4 years until I get another chance!”  – N.M.

Looking at these ideas you can see that there is a variety of priorities here. Some fun, some productive, some just nice and relaxing. Next time you find yourself with some unexpected time on your hands, take a moment to decide how you want to seize the opportunity.

To your wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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Psychology of Performance #54: Peyton Manning, John Elway, Gary Kubiak, Denver Broncos, “The Big Game” and Organizational Psychology Aspects

The “Big Game” is a great observational laboratory for studying two highly-successful organizations, the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. Professional sports teams are transparent about a number of organizational issues such as succession planning, management strategies and tactics, leadership issues, toxic or impaired employees, employee turnover, team cohesiveness, customer loyalty and influence, leadership, social influence and modeling, focus and preparation, culture and identity, reliance, and expertise. This blog/article will focus on the Denver Broncos.

Culture and Culture Change

Two years ago the Denver Broncos were defeated soundly by the Seattle Seahawks. Executive Vice President and General Manager, John Elway, made significant numbers of personnel changes from the coaching staff to the majority of players. This was done to change the attitude of the team. Elway said “The team is tougher. “kicking and screaming” through mental toughness (http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_29414693/john-elway-sees-tougher-broncos-this-year-through). The Broncos’ have the number one defense in the NFL going into the “Big Game”. They are clearly tougher than last year and performed at a higher level. In addition, the NFL does a better job than many businesses and organizations regarding performance. If you don’t perform, you are benched and will likely lose your job. Culture is defined as a shared set of assumptions as to how we do business (Schein). The Broncos have noticeably changed how they do business.

Leadership

The executive team of the Broncos started out the year with an announcement that the owner, Mr. Pat Bowlen, had Alzheimer’s disease and would be stepping down from his executive role. This was a significant loss for the organization as he was well-known as a successful change management leader. The executive team re-organized roles and functions to continue the strategy and direction the organization was heading. The coaching staff was brand new with Gary Kubiak taking over as Head Coach and Wade Phillips coming in as the Defensive Coordinator. Together Kubiak and Phillips implemented a new offense and defense. This created a learning curve and inherent stress for those adapting to the new system. At the team captain level, Peyton Manning, DeMarcus Ware, and David Bruton, Jr. were voted in by their peers. The team captains provide important peer leadership and are role models for the other players.  They are also significantly involved in the team chemistry and cohesiveness.  Then there are the informal leaders such as Von Miller, all-pro-defense, outside linebacker. He displays an enthusiasm and maturity that may have been underdeveloped earlier in his career when he received a four game suspension. This year he has consistently performed at an all-pro level, provided leadership, and found inspiration from DeMarcus Ware (http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_29454733/evolution-von-miller).

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning had significant professional challenges this year. He is known for his preparation, performance (holds countless records), and winning record. This year he had a sub-par season due to factors such as injury to his foot. He was relieved and benched, watched from the sidelines while he healed, was made the back-up, yet came into win a game from behind and lead the team to the AFC championship and onward to the “Big Game” once again. He also had other adversity this season with allegations about HGH (human growth hormone). Through it all he displayed a professional demeanor in the media, contributed to the team during the down period, and came back to help the team win the championship. This type of leadership, role modeling, and performance contributed to the culture and attitude of the team.  From an individual psychology of performance perspective, Manning exhibited an impressive degree of resilience as did a number of other injured players such as DeMarcus Ware, Chris Harris, Jr., and every other injured player this season who came back and performed admirably. What does it take to be resilient in your organization?

Focus and Preparation

Over and over in the media this season, various players were noted by their peers and coaches for their preparation and focus. The players were noted for staying late after practice to get more repetitions in, watching additional film, and rehabilitating their injuries so they could get back and contribute. If a starter became injured, the back-up player being ready to replace them and perform at a high level is imperative. Brock Osweiler was a good example of this on offense, coming in to replace Manning and lead the team to 5 wins and just 2 losses. He handled moving back into a second string role with professionalism and publically stated he wanted what the coach thought was best for the team.

Role of the Under Dog

The Broncos have reported feeling like they are not recognized as being as good as they are all season and have used that as motivation to prove everyone wrong. In the “Big Game” the odds-makers predict they will lose. What is interesting organizationally, and from a performance psychology perspective, is that the Broncos have set an NFL record for the most wins by 7 points or less (11 wins) (http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_29451542/broncos-underdogs-super-bowl-50). This relates to Elway’s comments earlier in this blog about being tougher. They have a depth of experience overcoming adversity that no other team in the NFL has this year. The Broncos have the experience and resilience that will allow them not to fold or give up if it is a close game.

Succession Planning

The “Big Game” is replete with examples of personnel management, personnel changes, succession planning, and development of personnel. In any organization, bench strength is important and when it is not there or developed, organizations falter. In professional sports it becomes glaringly obvious when a team has not drafted well or developed their younger players when a star is injured and the team starts losing. In business, it is just as important, yet sometimes not as obvious. Brock Osweiler stepped in and did a great job for the Broncos until Manning was ready to come back. Coach Kubiak did a masterful job of handling the public relations and internal team dynamics during this time. He managed expectations clearly when he announced Manning would be the starter for the playoffs, so that everyone could focus and prepare for their role.  Finally, pro sports also allow a window into the impact of toxic co-workers or impaired co-workers on the culture,  focus, and preparation of the organization (think distractions like your number one draft choice at quarterback spending a significant time last summer in “rehab” and then having social media pictures posted of him “partying” and then being benched by the coach. That team by the way, not in the “Big Game”).

Lessons Learned for Your Organization

  1. Culture is important. What are your rules of engagement? How do you do business?
  2. Expertise of personnel. What is the level of your personnel’s expertise in your organization? Do you need to train or upgrade? Are you assessing regularly? Keeping your “Superstars” fresh?
  3. Leadership, vision, and implementation. From your executive team down, is there alignment on the vision? Does your leadership inspire, model the behavior you want, and do they execute the plan?
  4. Informal leaders. Who are your informal leaders? Do they exhibit the behavior and messages you want your staff to follow?
  5. Role models. Do you have staff that are role models for the younger workers? Do they model what you want?
  6. Focus and preparation. Is your staff focused and prepared to execute your business plan every day?
  7. Group identity vs perception of the public. Does your organization have its own identity? Are your customers in alignment with the identity and support it?
  8. Resilience of team members. Are your leaders and staff members resilient? Do they bounce back from adversity in their professional or personal life? If not, do you have resources to help them bounce back such as employee assistance programs? If you have helped them and they are still under-performing can you help them “find their bliss elsewhere.”

 

To your Wellbeing,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist

&

Daniel C. Kimilinger, Ph.D., MHA, SPHR, Human Resources and Organizational Psychology Leader

 

References:

Schien, E. H. (1992). Organizational Culture and Leadership (2nd Edition).

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