I did a quick poll of my friends and coworkers, asking for bad boss horror stories. Most people had relatively tame ones -- bosses rechecking their work, being flighty or generally being unprepared to handle (and therefore explain) the responsibilities of a job. Personally, I experienced situations as strange as an upper manager named Dave who only promoted people named Dave (and one named Davena), a director who routinely made me – an administrative assistant -- smell the bathrooms (don’t ask), and a supervisor who would lose his train of thought in the middle of instructions to me and replace whatever else he had intended to say with the word “thing.” Example: “Jennifer, we have the meeting at twelve, so I need you to-- thing.”
Other people polled had more … intense… experiences: extreme micromanagement, screaming, throwing people under the bus and physical threats. Wow.
The saying goes, “People quit managers, not jobs.” According statistics compiled by LinkedIn , “Three-out-of-four employees report their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job,” and “The average organization is 50% as productive as it should be, thanks to less-than-optimal leadership practices.”
A company may be amazing, with excellent benefits, a great salary and a fun work environment, but if a manager makes life miserable for an employee, none of that matters. If that employee was talented, trained and dedicated, losing them is a loss for the whole company. The result of a bad manager: missed opportunities and financial losses for both employer and employee.
First off, it should go without saying, but I’ll say it: Nobody should be physical threatened or physically threatening on the job. That is illegal, and your HR department should have procedures in place for dealing with such threats, including involving the authorities. If you feel unsafe, extract yourself from the situation!
This extreme example aside, here are a few other bad boss behaviors that drive employees crazy (and away from a company).
Micromanaging: There is nothing that will deflate your confidence more than knowing your manager is watching every step you take, waiting to pounce on your first mistake (real or imagined).
Taking all the credit: These are the bosses who expect you to applaud while they accept awards and promotions for all of your hard work.
Taking none of the credit: You feel like you might as well just stay under the bus for all the times a manager like this throws you there. The successes are theirs, and the failures are someone else’s.
Being brutally honest – with an emphasis on brutal: Somehow, this extreme honesty never extends to compliments. These bosses throw performance feedback at you like a brick and believe that any kind of praise will make you too complacent.
Making people scramble: Tight deadlines and changing procedures are part of most jobs and businesses these days. But it’s the boss’s job to try to mitigate these stressors, not make them worse.
Lacking empathy: Now more than ever, it is abundantly clear that life happens, and we can’t be prepared for everything. Having a manager who lacks flexibility and understanding can add to already intense life pressure.
Employees: what can you do if you find yourself working for one of these characters?
Managers: What can you do to avoid becoming one of these characters?
Being a strong leader and manager takes time and ongoing effort. Unfortunately for everyone, it is more noticeable and difficult when a manager slips up than when one employee does. When you can, use these slip-ups as a learning opportunity. And finally, most importantly-- thing.
Fourth-quarter has always been a huge push for sales teams to finish strong while helping clients spend the year end budget. This 4th quarter is more critical to the success of so many businesses than we’ve ever seen. It could make or break them. Focusing your team on doing what they do best will make a difference.
Selling isn’t easy in the best of times. So, what do you do when you are selling in more challenging times? Most of us remember, not without a certain amount of cringing; the impact 2008 had on sales. It was an economic disaster that required even more, fortitude and grit than usual. Those who succeeded did so because they powered through the tough times using their natural sales strengths, traits like competitive drive, ambition, and resilience. And now, we find ourselves in 2020: new challenges, new economic stressors, both big understatements. We’ve had to adjust, quickly and often, over the last several months. We’ve found new ways of doing business and felt lucky if we could even keep doing business.
While some companies only felt a blip and a few have even done better than before this global health crisis, the truth is that most of us have experienced some serious problems. The economic downturn has severely impacted sales. For a time, finding new business was next to impossible, and holding on to existing business was a significant concern. To borrow from Dickens (sort of), it was the spring of despair, and now we are looking for an autumn of hope.
Salespeople have never had to rely on their sales strengths more than they do right now. And that means you need people with natural behaviors to do well in our new reality. Sales is a constant endeavor of finding opportunities, building a pipeline, and converting leads to sales. It takes a lot of energy. The better suited your salespeople are to the job demands, the less resistance they’ll face internally. As it is, they’ll be facing a lot of resistance externally.
Let’s talk about just what those natural sales traits are.
A high level of assertiveness is critical. On an Omnia, that’s shown as a tall column 1. It’s the single most important trait in most successful salespeople. Naturally, assertive people are win driven and me-oriented; they push for what they want, especially if doing so increases their stake. That’s why salespeople are motivated by commission. They are natural risk-takers who can drive for results that earn them the rewards of a sale.
People with a low level of assertiveness have a high degree of caution, so they are always fighting past their inhibitions when nudging people, including themselves, towards a decision.
It’s harder than ever right now to get a hold of people, and the impact of COVID provides an ideal excuse for prospects not to take or return sales calls, and of course, the face-to-face meeting has been paused for a lot of us. Nonassertive personalities might dial back their efforts to avoid upsetting people, while those with natural ambition and drive are committed to getting up and doing what they’ve always done... find new business. And if that means finding new ways to get or keep business, they are prepared to do that.
Resilience plays a close second to assertiveness. Resilience is the ability to brush off rejection and keep moving forward. Sure, no one likes rejection, that’s a given, but you want salespeople who don’t take it personally. Resilient salespeople understand that rejection is an unavoidable part of sales and that for every “no” they hear, it gets them that much closer to the next “yes.” They learn from every situation, and they don’t let obstacles, objections, or rejections keep them from performing the sales tasks needed to secure a commitment. Coupled with assertiveness, resilient people take rejection as a challenge.
Individuals who lack resilience often struggle to perform the proactive tasks needed because they want to avoid rejection. This is the salesperson who hides behind pre-call planning, documentation and account research rather than putting themselves out there. They also need a lot of time to regain their confidence after they lose a sale. Natural resilience provides the backbone to assertiveness.
Sociability opens doors but isn’t necessarily a critical trait. Social sellers are great at building personal connections with prospects and creating rapport. Analytical sellers, who are socially reserved, are great at providing consultation and solving problems. Both styles are effective, and both appeal to different types of prospects. The problem arises when you have salespeople whose sociability is stronger than their assertiveness. This creates the infamous close reluctance. We call that the networker tendency when the need to be liked is stronger than their need to win. These individuals put the relationship ahead of the sale. They build an impressive list of contacts and collect friends. When they sense hesitation, they tend to back down rather than risk losing their new buddy. People whose assertiveness is stronger than their sociability put the emphasis on the sale. They value the relationship, but they don’t let it get in the way of the deal.
Now that we know what works, what do you do with the information?
Sales Actions in the Age of COVID
As a sales leader, it’s important to tap into that natural drive of your salespeople, especially since it can be hard to feel driven right now. Let’s face it; they are getting shot down more than usual. And while that can’t be an excuse, it does require some new tactics.
Weekly Sales Huddles
Begin each week with a sales huddle to connect your team and start the week with focused goals. These are an effective tool for keeping people stoked and motivated. Sharing wins creates positive energy and a little competitive spirit. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to share ideas and tactics that are working or figure out how to improve on anything that isn’t yielding results. Set weekly goals and post progress against these goals – there’s nothing like a published dashboard to drive energy, build momentum, and fuel the competitive spirit we all have in sales.
Redefine What Winning Looks Like
Assertive salespeople crave challenges; they need ways to win and keep score. If sales are in a slump, look for other ways for them to win. Set weekly challenges and celebrate the wins at the end of each week. It’s getting the most prospects to call you back. It’s securing a demo, making the most calls, filling the pipeline with qualified leads, contacting existing accounts, or other activities relevant to your business. Speaking of existing accounts...
Take Care of Your Clients
Nurturing existing business is always important, but it might look a little different for a while. Encourage your sales team to show their clients that they care about what they are going through. Look for ways your team can support their clients and help solve problems, even if it doesn’t result in a sale at that moment. Now’s a great time to also have those year-end budget discussions with your clients as they develop their strategies for 2021. Look for ways to help them streamline, simplify, and save if you can. Many of your clients may be struggling in their businesses. Doing everything you can to support them and bring forward value could help keep your company off the chopping block when costs get cut, and competitors come calling.
Decide if Your People are Still Your People
Take a hard look at your team. If someone on your team wasn’t cut out for sales before, this environment might be close to impossible for them now. Are you going to invest your time and energy into coaching them, or is it better to release them and look for replacements who are naturally aligned to selling both in good times and bad?
As you head into 2021, it’s important to be sure you have the right people in the right roles to thrive in these challenging times. Natural assertiveness drives salespeople toward new opportunities, while resilience keeps their confidence intact. It’s a winning combination, and leaders need to be confident that their team has these traits. An Omnia assessment is a quick, effective method that quantifies these inherent traits, giving sales leaders knowledge about their salespeople and powerful insight that can drive solid decisions on how you organize your team, possibly change out some of the team, and how to can motivate your sales reps to be their very best.
As an eternal optimist, I’m grateful I’ve managed to keep my optimism through these past few months. And my optimism is always fueled by hope. So here’s to an autumn of hope. Hope for a surge in sales, a return to thriving businesses, a strong economy, a healthy global population... and new sales!
I stole the following from a meme or maybe a T-shirt: Introverts. We’re here, we’re uncomfortable, and we want to go home.
That about sums it up. I’m often uncomfortable around people, and even when I’m enjoying myself, I’m looking forward to being home. I like socializing, but it’s also exhausting. That’s really the crux of being an introvert. I get tired just thinking about interacting with people.
It can be hard to be an introvert at work because communication is vital in business; heck, it’s vital in life. Our work and personal relationships depend upon it. And the fact is, introverts have a lot to say, but if you aren’t asking in the right ways, it could create unnecessary problems.
There’s a big difference between managing a team of hard-charging, fast-talking extroverts and cautious, patient, meticulous introverts. If you’re managing both groups the same way, half your people are miserable. And let’s face it, it’s probably your introverts. They aren’t telling you otherwise or fighting for what they need. You’ll know someone was unhappy when they send you a resignation email. By then, it’s too late, and you didn’t even know there was an issue.
So, I’m here to speak (or rather write) on their behalf. First, we’ve established that I’m an introvert. I also manage a team of introverts, and I’m in the personality assessment business. It’s up close and personal experience at your disposal. But just so you know you are getting your money’s worth out of this blog, I also polled some introverts and asked them what they need from their managers. And while nothing came as a complete surprise, it was helpful to get their point of view. They were also kind enough to share their rationale, which I didn’t even ask for. A bonus of working with detailed, introspective thinkers, you get a lot more than you pay for, like this blog. So here we go:
So, there you have it, ten ways to lead a team of supportive introverts. Here’s to making them more comfortable!
Businesses are about people working in a collection of teams to deliver on your company’s promise. Your people make up the soul of your company. Team building unifies people, making them an unstoppable force. Companies with robust team building programs perform better and have a brighter future than those that do not. Organizations “with a soul” outperform the S&P 400 in terms of higher employee engagement and retention, better customer service, long-term profitability, and more than 8x return vs. S&P 400 10-year returns. (Josh Bersin, Simply Irresistible: Engaging the 21st Century Workforce, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, April 2014)
So, how do you create such a plan? And how do you do so when our teammates aren’t all in one physical space? Before we get into how let’s talk about why it’s important to do this.
Before we get into the components you need for a world-class, modern team building program, let’s look at what one can do for your company. If your organization gets team-building right, here’s what you can expect:
Keep in mind that by 2025 Millennials will make up an estimated 75% of the worldwide workforce (Source: Forbes). This will influence many companies’ future corporate cultures and affect communication and collaboration. When considering whether investing in a team-building program is essential, consider that 33% of employees say the ability to collaborate makes them more loyal (Source: The Economist). In comparison, 37% say “working with a great team” is their primary reason for staying with an employer (Source: Gusto).
Need more convincing? When those things are in place, you’ll:
Ready to get started on modernizing your team building program? Let’s go.
There are three main things that you must include in your team building program:
Together, these elements will foster a team that trusts each other, cares about one another, and works like a well-oiled machine.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these must-haves.
Extremely connected teams show a 21% increase in profitability. Staff who feel supported want to give their best and contribute to their company’s success. (Source: Gallup)
We’re all busy, but don’t discount the occasional non-work specific activities. These give your team the chance to get to know each other as people, not just colleagues. If you’re working virtually, consider a Lunch-and-Learn, a book club, or an after-work virtual Happy Hour with trivia, break out group challenges, and of course -- prizes are a must.
These activities build camaraderie. Interactive experiences create memories that build connections and give way to legendary stories shared across teams for years. These outside work experiences are also another way for people to get to know each other and see a different side of people, which helps build empathy for one another. And, as the connection deepens, trust follows. When that trust is in place, team members will rely on each other, support each other when needed, feel happier, be less likely to burnout, and achieve results.
A side benefit of these activities is how you show up as a leader for your team. They get to see a different side of you too. Watching you struggle solving a problem or not getting out of an escape room so easily makes you appear a lot more human than you may in the weekly Sales Huddle. Also, these activities may shed light on talents among your team you haven’t discovered yet. They can expose natural strengths and tendencies that may not stand out in the daily work environment.
Events that let your employees blow off steam absolutely have their place. But, so do activities that help your business and your employees’ professional development. As you fill your team building program calendar, be sure to include opportunities for your team to level-up together. Team members can encourage one another, practice new skills amongst themselves, and hold each other accountable.
Learning experiences in a team environment create an opportunity to mix up groups and build collaboration across teams who may not work together daily or only communicate through email. At The Omnia Group, we conduct a monthly learning lab with a variety of topics. We invite guest speakers from industry leaders and clients who give us great insights into their implementations. We watch videos together on topics such as building empathy and active listening. We also encourage people to get together in smaller groups to focus on joint learning that involves building their technical skills around Microsoft Office products and collaboration tools.
When you make professional development a priority, your organization’s collective knowledge pool deepens. You allow people to come together and share experiences they wouldn’t necessarily have in just a daily work atmosphere. Systems and processes will inevitably improve. And you’ll see those results in dollars and cents. You’ll also have a team that’s grateful for the investment you’ve made in them. That engagement bolsters the soul of your organization and your bottom line too.
Even the most well-meaning people and skilled professionals experience problems with one another from time to time. Your team building program should provide an open forum to address these issues as they arise. Common concerns that may need to be worked out include ineffective communication, broken processes, production bottlenecks, and team conflicts. These issues left unaddressed build stress, leading to low morale or, even worse -- burnout and turnover.
80% of US employees feel stressed due to ineffective company communication. (Source: Dynamic Signal) CareerBuilder sites that 61% of workers experience burnout and as many as 31% of workers admit to suffering from extreme stress. A company sharing duties, responsibilities, and openly problem-solving can distribute the workload more evenly to boost productivity while relieving stress on employees.
Create “safe” forums where teams can come together to openly communicate and share where they are experiencing breakdowns. Consider taking your teams through learning programs that cover how to give and receive feedback in ways that lessen defensiveness and create openness to hear all sides. Although you can structure your forum in many ways, it must be a safe, cooperative place for all team members. The emphasis of your discussions should be on what’s happening -- not who may be to blame. Depending on the nature and depth of the problem, it may be worth bringing in a guest expert to facilitate a productive, relationship-oriented solution. These kinds of sessions, when conducted productively, not only help build team collaboration but core problems get addressed, and innovations can arise. Some of the best ideas can come from these sessions -- new product ideas, process modernizations, and client delivery improvements that take your organization to a whole new level.
Each team member has a distinct personality. They bring different strengths, values, and worldviews to the table. Behavioral assessments unlock that valuable intel so you can craft a team building program that’s tailored specifically to your group. Your program will be enormously successful because it captures and honors the unique makeup of your team.
Businesses with effective communication are 50% more likely to have lower employee turnover, says a ClearCompany report. Our assessments and behavioral insights can strengthen your company’s communication strategy and company culture, resulting in happier employees who openly communicate, become more productive and profitable, and reduce the likelihood of turnover.
Omnia offers a signature behavioral assessment that gets you the information you need in a snap. It’s fast and simple for employees to take part in, and you’ll receive instant, easy-to-digest results. If you want even more insight, we can also supply a deeper analysis. This, by the way, is another great activity you can use to build collaboration, develop empathy, and open communication across your team. In other words -- this is a great team-building activity and very easy to do virtually.
Strong teams are the cornerstone, the soul, of a thriving business, but they don’t happen overnight. Your employees want to be a part of a healthy, thriving team. To get a unified group's benefits, you’ll need to create and implement a custom team building program. To give that program the best chance of being successful in today’s modern business world, you must base it on your employees' deep understanding.
97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team affects a task or project (Source: Mckinsey), so imagine what the right insights into your team could do!
Get your program started the right way from the get-go. Contact us today!
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could change our personalities at will? We could reduce conflict, increase communication, and improve productivity with little effort in this magical scene.
As employers, in addition to the above, wouldn’t it be grand if we could seamlessly coach our employees to achieve greater career success by changing their styles of behavior?
Of course, it would. The good news is there's a way to enable and coach different personality styles that actually work. It requires a quick and easy assessment to get started and a willingness to modify coaching and leadership techniques based on personality styles.
Employee behavioral assessments are helpful to understand the personality traits of job applicants and current employees. This behavioral / personality assessment makes it possible to uncover an individual's deeper motivators, preferences, and behaviors, plus how those traits will affect their performance in a particular role.
Sometimes individuals naturally evolve over the years to become more effective in their work and personal lives. And sometimes, we can help individuals consciously develop the characteristics they need in a given job. However, certain traits are easier to change than others.
With insights gleaned from a behavioral assessment, you can better predict job compatibility by gauging an individual's similarity or dissimilarity to the duties and personality patterns required to be successful in the job, your work culture, and with their peers and supervisor. Behavioral often is a bigger factor in fit than skill sets. Skills can be developed and improved. Some personality characteristics cannot.
Researchers have identified five characteristics that largely govern how our personalities function. These “big five” factors are generally believed to be fairly constant throughout our lives and may be attributed to genetics and the environment.
In concert with this finding, researchers at Stanford University propose that change is possible over our lifetimes. Even more encouraging is a finding that change tends to be for the better. But note that scientists disagree with this proposition. Some observe that while change may occur, it is likely to be nuanced.
Each of the five personality traits tends to develop in different ways through our lives:
1. Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. extravagant/careless). People are likely to improve in this area throughout their lives; with maturity comes greater conscientiousness. We develop this trait most strikingly in our twenties as we take on adulthood's work and family responsibilities.
2. Extroversion (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). Extroversion is the trait of being energized by interacting with people; introverts are energized, in contrast, through thought and other solitary activities. However, extroverts may perform quite competently and even excel when working alone, and introverts may socialize effectively.
It has been observed that women may need somewhat less social support as they age, but men stay more constant in their extroversion orientation. Both genders may improve their social skills through experience and practice.
3. Agreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. challenging/callous). Our abilities to get along and emotionally support others may improve as we age. The thirties and forties are the life decades most apt to show development in this aspect of personality.
4. Openness to experience (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious). Openness is defined as a willingness to try new ideas and experiences. This trait may decline somewhat with age. As we grow older, we may become more set in our ways. Still, there is a great deal of variation among people at all stages of life, and we are not doomed to become inflexible over time.
5. Neuroticism (sensitive/nervous vs. resilient/confident). Neuroticism is our tendency to worry and sense instability. Women are more likely to somewhat overcome this trait over the years relative to men.
What you can change. . . and what you may not be able to change.
While these five personality traits are the cornerstones of personality development, many other specific competencies are amenable to measurement via behavioral assessments, which can be changed. The extent of change that is possible varies by trait.
What Does a Behavioral Assessment Actually Measure?
Assertiveness: The need to make things happen.
Communication Style: The need to work with people versus the need for proof.
Pace: The speed at which a person operates.
Structure: The degree of dependence on rules.
The Omnia behavioral assessment is known for its easy-to-read, easy-to-interpret eight-column bar graph that displays these four behaviors as pairs of columns because every trait has the opposite. Just one assessment and eight columns will give you all the information you need to make your next hire successful!
The competencies that are the easiest to alter are generally those that are primarily relevant to the work environment. Coaching and training can help willing student progress in oral and written communications, political savvy, chairing effective meetings, planning, goal setting, and customer service.
At the other end of the “changeability” spectrum are those characteristics that are most resistant to change. Intrinsic intelligence is difficult to improve, though book learning is, of course, possible. Creativity, analytical skills, integrity, energy, assertiveness, and even ambition remain unyielding to training and coaching.
In the middle are certain behaviors that may be susceptible to change, but the process is not easy. These competencies include listening, negotiation, change leadership, being a team leader, and conflict management.
All in all, it is important to understand our own personality traits and associated competencies as well as these characteristics in those we employ. Acknowledging how traits vary in their amenability to change helps us determine how to help employees contribute most effectively to the workplace and select (and achieve) appropriate career goals.
As a leader, you’re expected to achieve company goals by effectively utilizing your most valuable resource - your team. So, how do you unlock their potential and guide them towards success? Honestly, you need to know your team to lead your team.
Getting to know your team on a deep level can take years of discussion and observation. But, it doesn’t have to work that way. You can learn all you need to know quickly by using a behavioral assessment.
A behavioral assessment is a tool used to measure an employee’s personality traits related to expected job performance. This form of assessment will give you critical insight into what makes each employee tick. The knowledge gained will enable you to form and leverage highly effective teams that achieve great results.
While data from a behavioral assessment can help you handle every part of the employee life cycle, let’s look specifically at how the results can impact how you train, communicate and lead.
The behavioral assessment results will reveal both your employees’ strengths and potential challenge areas. While you should always cater to their strengths, knowing where they can improve facilitates personalized development plans.
You’ll also learn how they process and adapt to new information, which informs the method and pace you should use to train them effectively. Incrementally, you can help each employee grow professionally and add more value to your team.
When your team isn’t in the office, and training needs to be conducted virtually, the behavioral assessment data will help you make decisions such as:
The behavioral assessment results will tell you exactly how you should tailor your communication style to each employee. You’ll know if they respond better to facts and figures, or if they’re more captivated by personal stories and emotional appeals. You’ll also have a sense of how much information they can handle at one time and what support they’ll need to process it.
Besides, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll understand how they handle stress. That means you can craft your message so that it provides the necessary information and avoids overwhelming them.
You need to communicate with your remote employees as much as you would if they were in the office, perhaps more so. The results from their behavioral assessments will help you determine:
The behavioral assessment results will help you get the most out of your team. You’ll have a clear understanding of what drives each employee, how fast they work, and if they’re a rule follower or a rule stretcher.
You’ll also understand how much recognition to give them and how much oversight they require to get the job done. You’ll also know how they interact with people, making it easier to facilitate collaboration with other employees with complementary work styles.
Your remote employees need an effective leader that encourages and empowers them to accomplish the company’s objectives. The behavioral assessment results will help you:
If you want to be the best leader possible, you need to understand your own personality traits. When you think about yourself, you’ll naturally have some blindspots. Using an objective measure like a behavioral assessment will give you a clear and true picture of your leadership strengths, opportunities for improvement, and general tendencies. The bottom line: by really tuning in to who you are, you’ll be better able to understand and guide others.
What we’ve covered here is just the tip of the iceberg. An Omnia behavioral assessment will provide you with a full understanding of each employee’s personality -- including your own! That understanding is the key that unlocks your team’s potential, driving your workforce to higher levels of success.
The Omnia behavioral assessment is easy to implement. Employees take an inventory of themselves by using an adjective checklist. Next, our analysts will create a detailed report discussing each employee’s results and what they mean for you as a leader. Then, all you’ll need to do is act on the insight and watch your team become stronger than ever.
Whether your workforce is remote, in the office, or a mix, you need to truly know each employee to effectively lead them. An Omnia behavioral assessment will give you the knowledge that you need quickly and easily. That way, you can connect with your team on a deep level and successfully fulfill the company’s mission together.