Leadership Blog Series: Learning & Development Resources for Supervisors

Whether new to a supervisory role or a long-time manager, the best leaders are lifelong learners adaptable to change and flexible in their leadership style. The rapid changes and unknowns of the past couple years have made it particularly clear that supervisors must embrace the complexity of their roles, which demands new ideas and strategies to stay fresh and ahead of the curve. HR’s Organization and Professional Development (OPD) department has resources to help.

NEW LEADER DEVELOPMENT SERIES (NLDS)

Designed for supervisors new to their roles or new to MSU, this nine-session series equips new leaders with a toolkit of crucial knowledge and resources. Registration is available in EBS for the next NLDS cohort, beginning August 30, 2022.  

Sessions cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Leading in a Union Environment
  • Workforce Management and Strategic Staffing
  • Fostering an Inclusive Culture
  • Budget Responsibilities and Ethical Finance
  • Conflict Management
  • and more

Learn more about NLDS.

LEADERSHIP WORKSHOPS

Looking to learn or strengthen specific leadership skills? OPD has both in-person classes and virtual courses to provide expanded options and best meet your learning needs and preferences.*

View all upcoming OPD course offerings.

SELF-DIRECTED LEADERSHIP RESOURCES

elevateU

On-demand, self-paced courses, videos, audiobooks and more are available to MSU employees via the free elevateU platform, including a Leadership Development section covering a wide range of leadership topics.

Access elevateU leadership resources.

Leadership Library

Created by a cross-departmental workgroup to assist leaders in navigating challenges and handling their responsibilities with confidence, the online Leadership Library highlights curated content related to timely topics.

Visit the online Leadership Library.

Have questions regarding the above resources and opportunities? Contact OPD at prodev@hr.msu.edu for additional information.

*MSU HR Organization and Professional Development follows all applicable state and public health guidance and university-wide directives. If deemed necessary or advisable to refrain from in-person learning, courses scheduled as in-person will instead be hosted in a virtual format.

Performance Excellence Strategic Goal Setting: Tips for Supervisors

With everything you juggle as a supervisor, it’s easy to fall into a rut of viewing the performance management of your team as consisting simply of completing an annual review form and a once-yearly review of upcoming goals. However, making the time to take a larger perspective of the potential opportunities within the Performance Excellence process can lead to much higher yields both in the short and long term — for you, your team, and the university.

A primary goal of Performance Excellence should be connecting individuals to the organization’s greater purpose and helping develop employees to be better able to achieve the university’s goals. Although perhaps requiring a more significant investment of time upfront, creating a unifying vision for your team and establishing regular, ongoing check-in sessions to align goals will then serve as a touchstone for all performance evaluation and planning sessions.

Here are some tips and best practices to better align the goals and priorities of your team with the strategic objectives of your unit and MSU’s strategic plan.

1. Create a unit vision statement.

If your unit doesn’t already have a shared vision, now is a great time to formalize this and bring your team on board. Consider creating a one-page plan to outline your unit’s initiatives and the alignment of resources (i.e., time, people, funding) to achieve results and align with this vision.

Ask yourself:

  • Why does our unit exist?
  • What do we do that helps the university achieve the overarching strategic priorities?
  • How do we know we are successful?

2. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

As a supervisor, you should be regularly communicating your unit’s vision with your team, both one-on-one and with the team as a whole. Be sure everyone is fully aware of the vision, what it means, and why they should care.

3. Help employees understand how their work impacts the vision.

When we can clearly connect our daily work with a larger picture of the unit’s and the university’s goals and objectives, job satisfaction and productivity almost always improve. Employees should be able to see how their individual contributions are critical to the university’s continued growth and success.

4. Have your employees consider goals and priorities for themselves that align with the unit vision.

Allow your team to feel ownership over their goals to prioritize what’s important to them about their work while understanding that some employees will need more guidance and support with this process than others. Goals should be clear and measurable — think SMART and HARD goals — with a clear connection to your unit’s vision statement.

5. Ensure an ongoing feedback loop is maintained.

Aligning the goals and efforts of an individual with the larger team and organization cannot be a “one and done” activity. Regular, ongoing communication via one-on-one check-ins provides brief but powerful opportunities to touch base on objectives, realign priorities and clarify expectations. Strive to provide prompt, actionable feedback to your team, tying everything back to your unit’s vision and making sure each person understands how their work is important to the bigger picture.

Additional resources to support you through this process can be found below, and HR’s Organization and Professional Development department is available at prodev@hr.msu.edu if you would like further information or guidance.

Related Resources

MSU Performance Excellence: Supervisor Tips and Tools (Collection of resources including sample goals for different roles, goal setting tips, and conversation starters for high performance)

Instructor-led OPD Workshops

Performance Management for Hybrid Teams

Managing and Leading Across Locations

Strategic Planning

HR SourceLive Blog Posts

Adapting Your Goal-Driven Approach During Times of Change

Common Work-Related Goals with Resources to Help You Achieve Them

Leadership Blog Series: Performance Excellence During Periods of Uncertainty and Transition

What’s Your Plan: Six Steps to Align Your Goals with What’s Important to You

Sources

https://www.rhythmsystems.com/blog/how-the-best-ceos-align-employees-with-company-goals

https://www.hrfuture.net/strategy/staff-planning/five-best-practices-for-aligning-employees-with-corporate-goals/

Leadership Blog Series: Lean Into Leading — Remote Work Edition

Written by Sharri Margraves, Director for HR Organization and Professional Development

At the retirement party for one of my former colleagues, they reflected that the main thing they were looking forward to was “never being responsible for another human being again.” And they meant it. As leaders, it’s important to recognize the significant responsibilities of our roles, with impacts on both the organization and the individuals with whom we serve.

It has always been challenging to be a good leader, and this is not going to get easier anytime soon. The incredible shifts in the past two years will continue to play out within our teams, departments and units as we move to understand the full capabilities of remote work (including “hybrid” work) and learn what our stakeholders want from their experiences with us.

Fulfilling the Goals and Objectives of MSU’s Strategic Plan

As you consider MSU’s strategic goals and objectives, leaning into new concepts about work, productivity and satisfaction will require a paradigm shift. Not only are external forces pushing this, but the university is also pulling us toward a new mindset focused on growth, and this means change.

Consider MSU’s strategic goal of faculty and staff success: Creating an environment in which excellence and opportunity thrive will attract and keep talent and create conditions where staff and faculty can do their best work, individually and collaboratively. We will develop the flexible, supportive, inclusive workplace required to respond to the aspirations and needs of every employee.

As employees integrate career goals with efforts to create a meaningful life for themselves and their families, they will expect — and we, as supervisors, will deliver — ongoing opportunities to grow and develop.

Related resource: MSU 2030 Strategic Plan

Remote Work and Flexibility

We are working in the most disruptive workforce changes since WWII, dubbed “The Great Resignation”. Research shows that 90% of employees expect to have flexibility in their work, and 54% are planning to leave their position if they don’t get it.

In the coming weeks, you will hear more about what MSU intends to do about remote work from a policy perspective, but that is only part of the equation. As with every policy, you can either hide behind it, or you can embrace it. I challenge you to embrace the new remote work policy in the spirit of our strategic goals. We are working with, and are, professional adults — and adults know when something does not make sense and know they need to be accountable for their actions. Be creative and innovative as you lean into implementing this new policy in your area and working toward better fulfilling the university’s goals and objectives for staff success.

A word about flexibility: not all jobs are going to be remote-friendly. Approximately one-third of our jobs will not offer remote work capability. However, most jobs can have some flexibility, at least at some point in the year. Think broadly about the organizational culture you want to thrive in — thrive…not simply endure — and do the same for your staff. It may be more challenging, but it also can also lead to greater rewards.

Related resource: Remote Work Guidance for Employees and Supervisors at MSU

Take a Deeper Dive

Consider the following ways that you, as a leader, can help MSU meet our collective strategic goals and objectives through the lens of the updated remote work policy:

  1. Examine the value of an employee’s work and not the “busy work” a person brings to their role. How can you maximize that value?
  2. What is the maximum and minimum flexibility for each position? Each team?
  3. Is the flexibility the same during the full year, or can summer months or breaks be different than the academic year?
  4. Do you really know what your stakeholders want and expect and the services they need?
  5. Can you flex starting times, hours, days?
  6. Have you already decided what is “right” or are you open to new possibilities?
  7. Consider the individual as well as the team dynamics. What can change to provide flexibility for all? Did you ask your team to help devise the strategy?
  8. What are the core times you might expect people to attend meetings (and is the meeting effective and productive, or is it casual and meant to just connect)?  Global working hours help everyone be flexible.
  9. Can you accommodate a “split shift”, with the employee able to have alternate times?
  10. What communication plans will make you more effective? Effective communication isn’t a one-way process, and employees have responsibilities here as well.
  11. What role do expectations have for the team? Individuals?
  12. What collective development and individual development will foster the kind of organizational culture that will help us meet our strategic goal?

Additional resources are available to support you as you navigate integrating MSU’s new remote work policies with your team.

MSU Remote Work PolicyImportant documents, resources and FAQs

Remote Work Supervisors’ Discussion Guides

Instructor-Led HR OPD Courses

elevateU Resources

Leading From Anywhere: How to Build High Performing Remote and Hybrid Teams (56-minute recording of live event)

Working Remotely – Curated Resources (Self-paced courses, videos, books)

Sources

Kroop, B., McRae, E.R., January 12, 2022. 11 Trends that will shape work in 2022 and beyond. Harvard Business Review blog post. https://hbr.org/2022/01/11-trends-that-will-shape-work-in-2022-and-beyond

Ascott, E., October 19, 2021. 90% of workers want flexibility. Companies aren’t delivering (This could be a disaster). https://allwork.space/2021/10/90-of-workers-want-flexibility-companies-arent-delivering-this-could-be-a-disaster/

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2022/01/05/era-flexible-work-higher-education-has-begun

Leadership Blog Series: Bring Meaning and Joy to the Employee Experience Through Job Crafting

Written by Sharri Margraves, Director for HR Organization and Professional Development 

Leaders who understand their role in bringing out the best in their employees make a significant impact on the employee experience, with a positive employee experience now requiring increased effort to recruit, retain and engage. Employees have become less accepting of doing things that may not make sense to them (what is the purpose?), and they will leave organizations to find a better fit.

Job crafting is a practical way to influence the engagement of employees to respond to organizational change more positively, be happier and have greater meaning in all the roles they perform. In turn, the positive experience can enhance the level of innovation, care, service, and productivity for clients, students, and customers.

Think about the explosion in the “craft” economy: beer, distilled spirits, bespoke “fill-in-the-blank.” That tailored experience makes us feel good and allows us to feel greater control and empowerment over some aspects of our lives— especially important when we live in a world that is anything but predictable.

What is job crafting?

The concept of job crafting isn’t all that different from other aspects of the craft economy. Job crafting is an aspect of empowerment that helps employees tailor their work to what brings them joy, adds to their experience and enhances the organization. According to research conducted over the past twenty years, job crafting — in the forms of task, relationship, and cognitive crafting — may be a critical element of engagement and job satisfaction, particularly in today’s workplace.

Task crafting – Changing up responsibilities. Improving the steps, timing, or sequencing of the tasks that make up your job to improve it in some way.

Example: Palmer, a customer service specialist, thought there could be an easier way to get the necessary information from customers. They set up a simple power form to capture key information in a consistent manner. Now there is a simple tracking system with all the key information leading to better resolution with improved response time, enhancing both the employee and customer experience.

Relationship crafting – Changing up interactions. Building relationships around aspects that are important to you with people you would not normally work with.

Example: Jody, a project lead, sought out other employees who were interested in mentoring new employees. She was engaged with the idea and participated in the task force which helped her connect with others from across the organization.

Cognitive crafting – Changing your mindset. Reframing the work to see how the value of the work contributes positively to the organization, the people, or greater society.

Example: Parker, a custodian, understood that his job involved a lot of repetition and was not glamorous. However, if he did not do his job, students could become ill or injured, might feel down about the environment at school or believe they were unimportant to the leaders at their school. By maintaining a safe and pleasant environment, he adjusts his thinking to focus on his incredible influence on the health and well-being of the students — contributing toward their success and helping them to graduate.

The leader’s role in job crafting

As a leader, you can initiate and facilitate the job crafting concept, asking employees for their thoughts and ideas. Design jobs (and job descriptions) that leave room for crafting. Demonstrate an openness to feedback and new ideas. Often, we overlook the true nature of our work and the meaning and joy we can derive from it. A little encouragement from you — and modeling the way — may just make the difference.

Leaders are in a unique position to not only foster beneficial job crafting in their employees but to practice crafting in their own roles to potentially impact numerous employees. Making small changes to your own job can have larger impacts on your organization as well.

Find additional resources to get you started below and reach out to HR’s Organization and Professional Development department at prodev@hr.msu.edu if you’d like further ideas. After you’ve had a chance to introduce job crafting to your own position and team, I’d love to hear your feedback. Contact me directly at margrave@hr.msu.edu to let me know how job crafting is working for you.

Recommended Resources

Note: all names used above are pseudonyms.

Sources

Carucci, R., Shappell, J. (2020). How to job craft as a team. https://hbr.org/2020/03/how-to-job-craft-as-a-team?ab=at_art_art_1x1

Dutton, J.E., Wrzesniewski, A., (2020). What job crafting looks like. Harvard Business Review. March 12, 2020. https://hbr.org/2020/03/what-job-crafting-looks-like

Wrzesniewski, A., LoBuglio, N., Dutton, J., and Berg, J.M., (2013). Job crafting and cultivating positive meaning and identity in work. Advances in Positive Organizational Psychology, Volume 1, 281–302.

Leadership Blog Series: New Leadership Library and Leader Development Resources

Whether new to a supervisory role or a long-time manager, the best leaders are lifelong learners adaptable to change and flexible in their leadership style. The ongoing changes and unknowns brought on by COVID-19 have made it particularly clear that leaders must embrace the complexity of their roles, which demands new ideas and strategies to stay fresh and ahead of the curve.

Earlier this year, a small workgroup was formed at MSU to explore the learning development needs of those who find themselves leading in this “new normal.” The group identified the need for an easily accessible collection of relevant and applicable self-directed learning resources on a wide range of topics. To assist leaders in navigating challenges and handling their responsibilities with confidence, an online Leadership Library was created in August 2021.

Visit the new, online Leadership Library.

One member of the workgroup, Cindi Leverich, Director of Academic Leadership Development in the Office of Faculty and Academic Staff Development, explains, “As leaders continue to navigate the changing world of work, it is important to have a range of resources available in multiple modalities. The Leadership Library provides busy individuals a convenient list of articles, videos, and workshops on topics key to developing and supporting remote and hybrid teams.”

Updated regularly, the Leadership Library highlights curated content related to timely topics. Ideas for additional, relevant leadership resources are welcome and may be sent to prodev@hr.msu.edu for consideration.

Looking for additional leadership development opportunities?

Danielle Hook, Learning and Development Manager for HR’s Organization and Professional Development (OPD) department, shares, “The importance of professional development cannot be overstated. We also recognize the barriers to accessing meaningful learning are greater than ever. In response, we are exploring creative ways to differentiate our learning solutions to meet the increasingly diverse needs of our learners.”

Learn more about OPD’s new leadership programs and resources below.

New Leader Development Series (NLDS)

Apply now to join the next cohort of this nine-session series. Starting January 18, this program equips new leaders with a toolkit of crucial knowledge and resources.

Sessions cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Leading in a Union Environment
  • Workforce Management and Strategic Staffing
  • Fostering an Inclusive Culture
  • Budget Responsibilities and Ethical Finance
  • Conflict Management
  • and more

Leadership Workshops

In addition to OPD’s popular, established courses around the topics of leadership and management, five new workshops for leaders were recently launched. Currently held via Zoom, registration will soon be available within EBS for the following classes:

  • Building Cohesive Teams
  • Conflict Management
  • Managing and Leading Across Multiple Locations
  • Performance Management for Hybrid Teams
  • Strategic Planning

Find out more about OPD’s upcoming course offerings.

elevateU Leadership Resources

On-demand, self-paced courses, videos, audiobooks and more are available to MSU employees via the free elevateU platform, including a Leadership Development section covering a wide range of leadership topics.

Access elevateU leadership resources.

Have questions regarding the above resources and opportunities? Contact OPD at prodev@hr.msu.edu for additional information.

Leadership Blog Series: Happiness, Well-Being and Psychological Wealth

Written by Sharri Margraves, Director for Organization and Professional Development

Am I happy?

How do I know if someone is happy?

What can I do to influence the happiness of others?

Happiness is subjective — each of us has our own vision of what happiness means to us. The many definitions of happiness and the different topics connected to it can lead us to more questions than answers. As such, is it worth your time as a leader to consider whether your employees are happy and take action to increase happiness within your team?

Happiness and Well-Being

Let’s consider the relationship between happiness and well-being. Happiness is a component of well-being; it can exist without well-being, but well-being can’t exist without happiness.

Happiness contributes toward health and longevity, which can be measured with a number of physiological tests including immune system strength, plaque build-up, and healthier behaviors such as a propensity toward physical activity or wearing a seatbelt.

As a supervisor, this is worth noting as happy employees can lead to lower healthcare costs, fewer sick days, lower turnover, and greater productivity and creativity.

Happiness and Psychological Wealth

Dr. Ed Diener, recognized as an expert on Subjective Well-Being (SWB), posits that being happy provides psychological wealth, stating, “Psychological wealth is your true total net worth, and includes your attitudes toward life, social support, spiritual development, material resources, health, and the activities in which you engage.”

SWB is good for work, families and society as a whole, but it’s important to note SWB doesn’t replace workplace basics: flexibility, respect, having the right tools, knowing the goals…these are all still contributors toward one’s psychological wealth.

Happiness in the Workplace

What brings someone happiness may change over time. Fulfillment in your early 20s often looks different than in your retirement years. What was most critical such as family and employment may eventually transition to health and leisure.

Regardless of where your employees are in their professional and personal journeys, there are key ways you can create an environment that supports their happiness and well-being.

  1. Empower employees to craft their jobs. Provide training and build relationships that are connected to a purpose. Do your employees know how what they do serves the greater good? Can you honor flexibility in working conditions? Research has shown flexibility can contribute to reduced turnover and physical and mental health improvements.
  2. Honor core organizational values and encourage employees to define their own personal core values. While we each have our own core values, organizational values that are practiced, observed, and honored foster happier employees.
  3. Ask employees for help in problem solving workplace issues — then actually implement the improvements to reduce stress and help retain employees.
  4. Foster social belonging. Each work environment has its own microcultures but recognizing each other should be a regular feature. Leading with kudos — both internal and external — can foster happiness and well-being by building positive relationships.
  5. Think positive. Self-sabotaging a positive mindset affects you personally, but as a leader, it also has the added impact of influencing others. You are worthy of success and adequate. You can do hard things. When you feel the need to lament on something — and let’s face it, we all have our moments — be sure you are reaching out to a neutral party to vent or process.
  6. Build healthy habits. From stretch breaks to healthy snack choices, lean into fostering a healthy environment by engaging with Health4U and other resources for MSU staff and faculty. Below are a few ideas to help you get started.

Recommended Resources

Mental Health Matters: Resources from MSU

Compassionate Leadership: Awareness of Mental Health Needs as the Pandemic Continues

Recognizing and Managing Stress During Times of Change

References

Diener, E., Diener-Biswas, R., Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth (Blackwell, 2008). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdxbmVbr3NY

Kelly, L., Berkman, L., Kubzanksky, L., Lovejoy, M. (2021). 7 Strategies to improve your employees’ health and well-being. https://hbr.org/2021/10/7-strategies-to-improve-your-employees-health-and-well-being

Leadership Blog Series: Leading Strategic Planning

Written by Sharri Margraves, HR Associate Director for Organization and Professional Development 

Strategic planning is a critical aspect for leaders in all organizations, and now that MSU has recently introduced its first strategic plan in decades, you have an opportunity to help drive the results that will continue the upward trajectory of the university. Strategic planning is about change, and as with any change effort, communication and clarity of purpose are essential throughout the process.

It can be helpful to recognize the process of strategic planning as four typical phases: pre-planning, assessment, implementation, and measuring and monitoring.

Pre-Planning

The pre-planning phase is a lot like trying out a new recipe, and the first rule of cooking is to read through the entire recipe before you start. Be sure you have everything you need, and you understand what you need to do. Similarly, with strategic planning, first make sure you have the people, tools, and clarity that will allow your team to be successful before you formally begin. Consider all aspects including who will be on the planning team, general timing, communication cadence and how you will ensure DEI throughout the planning process.

Assessment: Begin Where you Are

Assessment will take the greatest amount of time.

  • What is your organization’s readiness for change?
  • Do you have a current and valid Mission, Vision and Values (MVV, for short)?
  • Can you hear the truth from your employees and stakeholders?
  • Do you need to provide training?

Assessing the organization is a part of the plan that is vital to get right—and your organizational context matters. All the tools in the world will not help if you or your team is defensive about what you might hear. From here, you will begin to develop the tactical plan.

Implementation: Building the Document

Going from assessment to writing the plan… well, let’s just say it takes time. Gleaning the most essential strategic goals or themes from your assessment effort is an iterative process, and multiple people will be involved. You will need to align your MVV and framework and produce a clear and concise “living” document.

For each strategic goal, you will have key objectives. From there, you need to have the tactics that will be needed to reach the objective. Often forgotten: leaders need to connect the dots. These tactics tell teams and individuals what needs to be done by when.

Implementation: Communication

Sure, you’ve thought about the day when your plan would be done. The reality is, now is the point where the real work begins. Cascading the information throughout your organization for implementation while also communicating with your external stakeholders is critical.

Establishing the priority while allowing your team to contribute to the “how” is important because the strategic plan should be parallel to the normal work you are already doing. On an individual level, each person in the organization should know how they will contribute to the responsibilities and tasks that will roll up from tactics to objectives to goal achievement.

Measuring and Monitoring: Review and Revise

What will success look like? As you develop your tactical plan, you will have time/milestones, key performance indicators (KPI) and other measures to indicate you are achieving your goals. Establishing a regular cadence for reporting progress is important to your internal and external stakeholders. Some objectives have a bit of a lag before data can be obtained, which is why you want to have other indicators to ensure you are progressing. Including the measurement in the building phase is important. It’s easy to get excited over goals, only to realize measuring progress is not so easy.

Interested in learning more? Recommended resources are listed below, and the Organization and Professional Development department can be reached at prodev@hr.msu.edu for specialized support.

Recommended Resources

MSU Strategic Plan

Strategic Planning Checklist

Business Orientation: Strategic Organizational Goals | elevateU course (50 minutes)

Leadership Blog Series: Positive Boundaries

Written by Sharri Margraves, HR Associate Director for Organization and Professional Development 

What are your “hard and fast” boundaries, and which are those that are easier to slip up on? Although maintaining healthy boundaries of all varieties is a critical component of a leader’s well-being and success, time is perhaps the most common boundary because of its fluidity, with demands changing daily.

While even the most effective leaders will have to make hard choices from time to time, the hallmarks of weak boundaries can be challenging to rein in. Reflecting on my career thus far, I can see that I made too many value trade-offs between my time, my family and my hobbies over the years.

I worked over two solid decades before I had a supervisor who expressly set positive boundaries around time. She was leaving for vacation and made a point of turning off her email and her phone during our staff meeting, saying she expected the same from all of us when we left the office.

Two powerful points were made with her simple actions: 

  1. The behavior of a supervisor sets the tone and culture. Leaders need to talk about boundaries as part of norms and culture. We need to recharge to be effective, and we need to help others do the same.
  2. Your staff can handle it. Develop your staff and your trust in them. They will make the best decisions they can with the information they have.

Leaders can enhance their authenticity by maintaining positive boundaries. An easy way to start? Do what you say you will do and don’t do what you say you will not do. One leader I know is clear about not doing anything “illegal, immoral, unsafe, or unethical, and I get to decide what that is.”

Additional ways you can establish and encourage positive boundaries for your team:

  • Model behaviors that demonstrate healthy boundaries.
  • Help employees identify and communicate boundaries.
  • Have conversations about boundaries; normalize discussions on the topic.
  • Reward and recognize employees who set and maintain boundaries.
  • Acknowledge when boundaries are overstepped.
  • Communicate to your team the importance of boundaries.

Find recommended live, online courses below to assist with establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries for you and others, and reach out to MSU HR’s Organization and Professional Development department at prodev@hr.msu.edu if you’d like additional guidance or resources.

UPCOMING OPD COURSES (LIVE, ONLINE FORMAT)

Sources

https://www.boundariesbooks.com/blogs/boundaries-blog/why-leaders-need-to-set-boundaries-in-the-workplace

https://www.workplaceoptions.com/blog/management-tip-taking-the-lead-on-setting-boundaries/

Leadership Blog Series: Team Essentials

Written by Sharri Margraves, Director for HR Organization and Professional Development

Before you had your first formal leadership role, did you believe you would “finally” have the power and authority to get things done the way you want them, when you want them? Or did you think, “What have I done?”

One of the most significant adjustments in leaning into leadership is that there are multiple ways to handle situations, and there are many variables with respect to authority, responsibility and empowerment. Cohesive teams communicate and build trust and one of the most critical teams is the relationship you have with other leaders in your unit.

Your Role in the Team

The truth of the matter is that we all play different team roles across our careers and in every position. Consider this: what have you done to make a new leader (especially new to MSU) welcome and valued, especially when that leader is also a peer? How we participate and engage with others can change depending on the circumstances and our own beliefs about our roles and the influence we carry, but trust me, everyone is watching what you do and say to make your team and colleagues successful.

Leadership expert, John Maxwell, shares that leaders lead up, across, and down in a complex system of teams. Can you picture a leader who leads only through power? A leader who made it very difficult for a new colleague, or minimally, less than helpful? Likewise, you can likely picture an effective leader that does not have positional authority yet is very effective.

Regardless of position, title, or role, everyone has leadership capabilities that can be developed, practiced and honed when they consider leveraging the skills and talents of the team. Helping others see the importance of their roles and contributions will help maximize effectiveness, results and enjoyment for the whole team.

Define Your Strengths and Areas for Growth

Remember, it takes patience and practice to develop. How would you rate yourself on the following questions adapted from HIGH5 leadership?

  1. I take responsibility for the teams I’m on and don’t play the blame game.
  2. I listen more than I talk in team meetings.
  3. I don’t interrupt others or talk over them. I add to the conversation, acknowledging and building on   others’ contributions.
  4. I am reliable and consistent, and my work is on time and of good quality.
  5. I help others if they are struggling.
  6. I can focus on positive solutions rather than making others feel wrong.
  7. I have a connection with the people on the team, knowing about their lives and what is important to them.
  8. I bring enthusiasm and energy to the team rather than bringing people down.
  9. I have worked hard to build trust between me, all my teams, and my organization in general.
  10. I can apologize to my team.

Another helpful resource is the free Team Roles test from Psychology Today. Take this 20-minute assessment to help you summarize your strengths in being a team player. As it’s not geared specifically to leaders, the quiz covers a wide range of team-based situations to share with your staff.

Organization and Professional Development Resources

A number of options—everything from short videos to live, online courses—are available through OPD to assist you in developing as a leader. Looking for further assistance? Contact OPD at prodev@hr.msu.edu for additional course information and customized solutions for you and your team.

Sources

Maxwell, John. The 360° Leader. Summary and excerpt available at https://edadm821.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/360_leader.pdf

https://www.high5leadership.com/are-you-a-good-team-player/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/tests/career/team-roles-test

Leadership Blog Series: Performance Excellence During Periods of Uncertainty and Transition

Written by MSU HR Organization and Professional Development

Whether your department plans to continue remote work, switch to a hybrid model, or bring everyone back to campus ASAP, Performance Excellence discussions likely have a different feel this year. The reality is that Performance Excellence—annual, probationary, and interim reviews, performance planning and goal setting—is very much needed despite all the recent and upcoming transitions and unknowns. Here are some tips to help you stay on track with these important discussions regardless of how and where the conversations take place.

Keep with it

Do not postpone coaching, feedback, 1-on-1 sessions, or performance reviews during this time. Our instinct may be to put off these conversations until things are “back to normal.” However, the opposite is true. Due to the highly unusual year we’ve all experienced, it’s imperative to connect with employees right now. Even in times of crisis, people still want to know that their long-term growth and success haven’t been forgotten.

Now’s an ideal time to revisit goals and keep the focus on the future. Identify opportunities, quickly communicate changes to your staff, and prepare them for potential pivots. Don’t ignore performance issues or delay accountability conversations. It’s as important as ever to address these matters as soon as possible. Put in the work now to help avoid larger issues in the future.

Establish, re-evaluate and reiterate criteria for success

Amid so many changes, consider establishing new definitions of success. Think short-term, well-defined, and task-based. Take a goal-based approach to performance measurement that focuses on clearly defined expectations and standards—for example, SMART and HARD goals or objectives and key results (OKRs)—to allow for a more flexible or task-based approach where metrics don’t exist or can be deceiving.

This is especially important when evaluating teams working from home. It is critical for those teams to focus on clearly defined outcomes and performance indicators (e.g., metrics, goals, deliverables). Don’t mistake activity and participation—such as emails, meetings, or hours on a timesheet—for high-quality, productive performance outcomes. Clear, established goals provide a straightforward way for both the supervisor and employee to truly gauge success.

Shift your perspective

As some employees remain remote and others return to the office, it’s important to re-tool our ability to read performance. Put effort into deciphering the increasingly blurry line between work and life. As one manager put it, it’s necessary to now “balance the need for flexibility that’s specific and supportive to the individual’s needs with the need to also somehow be equitable to others.” This will require effort on your part with thoughtful consideration of what your employees need as individuals and as a team.

With a few changes to our thinking and approaches, the Performance Excellence components of goal setting, performance planning and measurement can continue to benefit your employees, your team as a whole, and you as a supervisor. Visit the Performance Excellence pages on the HR website to find tips, tools and relevant forms. The Conducting Annual Performance Reviews Remotely page provides additional assistance for working with remote employees.