Archive for the ‘Inspired Leadership’ Category

Power Stress: A Leadership Reality

September 16th, 2013

While leaders often find their work stimulating and enjoy the challenges that come with the position, the work, as you know, can also be highly stressful. Clearly, the nature of the work: increased responsibility, ambiguities, pressure to achieve results by influencing others, and the loneliness inherent in leadership positions takes its toll.

As a result of these demands, leaders often experience what is known as “power stress,” a term coined by Boyatzis and McKee, which leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, if not adequately dealt with. So power stress is part of the experience that results from the exercise of influence and sense of responsibility felt in leadership positions.

We know about the impact of stress, on our health, our relationships, and on our leadership ability. The chronic stress that comes with leadership positions have been connected to a wide range of diseases and dysfunctions. It can also lead to a state of “dissonance” which we know drains the enthusiasm and energy of teams and organizations.

But, the problem is not simply power stress. It has always been a part of leadership reality. The issue is too little recovery time. While the pressure and stresses will not relent, the key is to take steps in which recovery can be achieved. Mindfulness meditation is a key in this renewal process.

We would love for you to join us in one of our forthcoming  mindfulness courses. Both start on October 5th. Click on the titles to learn more.

The Mindful Leader: Cultivating a Leadership Presence

An Introduction to Mindfulness

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Presenteeism at Work: The Hidden Costs

February 12th, 2010

We all know about the impact of absenteeism on the workplace and productivity. But have you heard about “presenteeism”? Presenteeism is a term used to describe people who show up to work, but do not perform to their capacity.

Presenteeism was first used by Dr. Cary Cooper, an organizational psychology and health professor at Manchester University in the UK to describe the overwork and feelings of job insecurity resulting from downsizing and restructuring in the 1990s. When they feel at risk of losing their job, employees feel an overwhelming need to be putting in more hours, or at least appear to be working long hours.

Perhaps you have an employee or a colleague who continually shows up to work coughing and sneezing and spreading their germs. This is another form of presenteeism. Employees who come to work despite illnesses (asthma, migraines, back troubles, depression) are less productivity and may even cause a colleague to get sick. A study completed by Desjardins Financial Security indicated that 42% or Canadian workers went to work sick or exhausted at least once in 2007. Why? Concern about looming deadlines, workload pile-up, overloading colleagues and loss of income. In many organizations, missing work is frowned upon.

Presenteeism is also related to disengagement. Employees who are moderately engaged in or actively disengaged from their work show up, but do not produce. This has a significant impact on morale and productivity. Towers Perrin found that companies with the highest level of employee engagement achieve better financial results and are more successful in keeping their valued employees than those companies with lower levels of engagement. The reverse is also true.

Presenteeism is more common in tough economic times and when unemployment is high, likely because people are afraid to lose their jobs. A long-term study showed that absenteeism declines as unemployment rates increase, while presenteeism increases. Even though employees may be dissatisfied with their jobs and lack commitment to their organization, they will show up if they fear that they will lose their job. This doesn’t mean that they will work.

Researchers say that presenteeism can cut productivity by one-third or more. In fact, presenteeism has been shown to be more costly than its cousin absenteeism or disability. Some researchers believe that the cost of presenteeism could be around 7-9 times more than that of absenteeism.

It is time to rethink work. Rather than cutting back, forward thinking employers are spending to save. They know that employees want to be engaged. They want to feel good about the work they do and the contribution they make. They want to work for a secure organization that allows them to grow and develop a career. They want to work for an employer that they can feel good about. Forward thinking companies are helping employees become engaged.

How do you engage employees? Help employees discover spirit at work. We have found that employees can develop spirit at work and become fully engaged in their work simply by rethinking their work – which by the way is the title of my book. Here are some ideas to get you started:

o Get to the heart of what matters about your work. Be clear about what you are here for, who you are serving and the real point of your work. Connect to the deeper purpose of your work.

o Appreciate who you are and the contribution you (and your colleagues) make through work.

o See your work as an act of service. Who are you serving and why? How can you best help your client, customer or patient? After all, it is about them, not us.

o Refill your cup. Manage your energy. Take time to replenish and rejuvenate.

The responsibility for fostering spirit at work is shared between the employee and the employer. While several organizational conditions contribute to or impede spirit at work, we have found that the key is inspired leadership. It is the leader who sets the tone, creates the culture, inspires the vision and purpose, and recognizes the contribution of employees. More about this in another blog.

I work with employees and organizations to cultivate SAW and we have found that work attitudes improve, absenteeism and turnover go down, and as you would expect, presenteeism also decreases. Start rethinking your work today for a better tomorrow.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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It is not about Me; It is about the Patient, the Customer, the Client

November 18th, 2009

What will it take for us to learn that employees, regardless of position need to be on the same page? That principals, teachers, admin support and the school janitor are working for the same purpose? That the CEO, directors, IT personnel, finance officers and front-line staff are all needed for the company to be successful? That patients need doctors, nurses, and technicians to work together for their wellbeing?

Last month, I wrote about the report “For Patients’ Sake,” written by Tony Dagnone, Saskatchewan’s Patient First Review Commissioner. The key message of his review was to put patients first. The Commissioner recommended a health care system designed to make the patient the centre of care and not the people who deliver the care – as he says it currently is.

 In the United States, the Joint Commission, a non-profit, independent group that accredits and certifies 17,000 health care organizations, created zero-tolerance policies in regards to intimidating and disruptive behaviours between medical staff.  Now a year later, the American College of Physician Executives has just released the results of a national survey of 13,000 physician and nurse executives. Bad behaviour still exists and it is still having a negative effect.

As reported on the American Medical News site, the findings renew questions about how to deal with issues arising from the doctor / nurse relationship. The results also point to the lack of effect of the zero-tolerance policies.

Practically all (97%) of respondents experienced unprofessional outbursts and overreactions. Some experienced this several times a year, whereas others experienced it weekly. Degrading comments and insults, yelling, cursing, and inappropriate joking were at the top of the list.  Some refused to work or speak with a colleague, whereas others tried to get someone unjustly disciplined or fired. Adults were throwing objects, spreading rumors. Sexual harassment was identified.

This is from a group of professionals who took the Hippocratic Oath or chose a career because they wanted to be of service to others. What happened?

To me, there is more to be concerned about than compliance to a zero-tolerance policy. Something has gone very wrong. And we know that simply telling someone to change their behaviour is not going to change it.

What would happen if we put the patient first? Truly put the patient first? If we remembered why we went into this profession in the first place? If we got to the heart of what matters about our work? If we started to see our work as an act of service? If we adopted the attitude that our work is about the patient, and not us? If we became interested in and supportive to our colleagues?

What would happen if our leaders and management focused on inspiring us, rather than disciplining us? If they really heard what we are up against? If they supported us to put the patient first? If they supported and recognized the team? If they saw their work as serving the medical profession?

Everything would change. Behaviour would change instantly. Patient care would improve over night. Relationships would develop and grow.

I have been researching and promoting spirit at work – that sense that our work is engaging and meaningful and that we can make a difference through our work – for a decade. Not only can we increase spirit at work, as it goes up, so too does job satisfaction, organizational commitment, teamwork and morale. At the same time, absenteeism and turnover go down.

The Spirit at Work program has been implemented in health care with incredible results. Download the Promise of Spirit at Work: Increasing Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment and Reducing Turnover and Absenteeism in Long-term Care from http://www.kaizensolutions.org/publications.htm

This does not have to be the experience in health care and patients should be able to expect more.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com and www.amazon.com .

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For Patients’ Sake: What would happen if we all put the patient, client or customer first?

November 2nd, 2009

Have we lost our way? Have we forgotten why we entered our profession in the first place?  Why our organizations were created? Current research on engagement and commitment at work says ‘yes’. We are losing our satisfaction and joy at work; our organizations are struggling; and our patients, clients, and customers are not receiving the service they deserve. What would happen if we adopted a Patient First or Client First or Customer First philosophy?

In October, the Government of Saskatchewan released “For Patients’ Sake,” a report by Tony Dagnone, Saskatchewan’s Patient First Review Commissioner. This review was commissioned by Don McMorris, the Minister of Health with the intent to improve both the patient experience and the efficiency and effectiveness of the health system.

The key message of the review is to put patients first. The Commissioner recommends a health care system designed to make the patient the centre of care and not the people who deliver the care – as he says it currently is. Thus, the first recommendation is that the Saskatchewan health system makes patient- and family-centred care the foundation and principal aim.

Tony Dagnone says,

“Patient First” must be embedded as a core value in health care and ingrained in the “DNA” of all health care organizations. The health system has lost its focus on the patient and lost sight of the fact that health care is a service industry. The best interests of patients and families must be the primary driver of policy decisions, collective agreements, priority setting and resource allocation decisions, and the operation of workplaces.

The intention is to make the Patient First philosophy a reality in all work places. But where does one start?

What is important here is that one does start. It is time for action, not words. Start with the employees, the leaders and the organization. Start everywhere. Create a momentum. Here are some places to start:

Organization. Design strategies to strengthen the capacity to achieve a patient-centred organization. Communicate the patient first philosophy to every member of the organization and in every document. Get leaders on board. Create Patient’s First Filter and test every decision or policy against it. Evaluate the effectiveness of all initiatives. Recognize and reward a patient first philosophy. Walk the talk.

Leaders. Inspire your leaders.  Have a clear vision and mission. Teach leaders how to inspire their managers and staff. Reward a patient first philosophy. Build your teams with this shared purpose. Evaluate your leaders against the Patient First Filter.  Support them.

Employees. Engage employees. Foster their spirit at work. Create the conditions for them to put the patient first. Help them to reconnect with the deeper purpose of their work and see their work as an act of service. Reward a patient first philosophy. Build their teams with this shared purpose. Listen.

The Commissioner sums up this new direction by stating that “Patient First” cannot be a mere lapel pin, button, or logo; it must be a way of doing business…

What would it take to have a renewed commitment to putting the patient or client or customer first?

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

Tags: For Patients’ Sake, Tony Dagnone, Val Kinjerski, Don McMorris, Patient First, customer service, Patient First Review Commissioner, spirit at work, inspired leadership, service, employee engagement

 

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What would it take to respond to the global teacher shortage?

October 6th, 2009

October 5th is World Teachers’ Day. The UN is using this day to put the spotlight on the global teacher shortage and the challenges of being a teacher. But is there a shortage? Or is it more of an issue of retention? If we could retain those teachers who enter the profession, would we still have a shortage?

The turnover rate among teachers is generally higher than for other occupations. An alarming number of teachers leave the profession during the first few years of teaching. The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that nearly a third of American teachers leave in their first three years and half by the fifth year.  While this figure is lower in Canada (Alberta statistics show that 20 per cent of teachers leave the job within the first five years), it is still alarming.

Why are so many teachers escaping the profession? How can someone enter the profession enthused and excited and leave a few years later disenchanted or burned out? What needs to be done to maintain their enthusiasm?

My husband and I attended an orientation for parents when our son entered high school. I was very pleased with the principal’s take on things. He said that if he had his druthers, he would do away with marks. Although marks do count, especially in grade 12, this principal holds his teachers accountable for six things. The first three – belonging, competence, and confidence –show up consistently in the research as what really matters to student learning. When students feel like they belong and that someone cares, when they feel competent to do the work they are asked to do, and when they feel confident that they will be successful, the marks automatically take care of themselves. If they don’t have these things, there is little hope in improving marks.

A teacher spoke about the importance of the fourth principle which is “someone sees me.” He said “I care about these young people. The most important thing for me is to make a connection with the students, to get to know them and particularly to get to know them outside of school.” The last two principles were “involvement of the students” and the “creation of a positive team”. These six values, the principal says, spell success and living them is an expectation for every teacher who works in this school.

As I was thinking about the overlap between these six values and the creation of spirit at work and wondering what would happen if teachers had an opportunity to experience these, a woman stood up and quietly asked if she could say something. She looked to be in her early 40s and said,

You probably don’t recognize me since it was a long time ago since you taught me grade 10. I was living with my family in Germany and attended the armed forces school. You were my teacher. I just wanted to say hi and what you are talking about – those four points – belonging, confidence, competence and someone sees me – those things that you say are so important to student success . . .  well, I experienced them with you as a teacher. And I want to tell you, THAT changed my life. I feel good about myself as a person and I am way more confident now. I just wanted to say thanks. I was very anxious about choosing a high school for my daughter, but when I found out that you were the principal here, I knew the decision was made. I want my daughter to experience high school like I did. To the rest of the parents she said, ‘You are all so lucky to have your kids attend a school run by a principal that demonstrates these values.’”

Wow! The principal was stunned. Full of emotion, he went over and gave this woman a hug. He could not have paid for better advertising for his school.

As I sat there, I quickly realized that this principal and these teachers had spirit at work. They loved what they were doing and they were making a difference in the lives of their students. Our kids and their experience of school mattered to them. I had a deep sigh of relief and knew that our son was going to be in good hands.

What I also learned is that not only did the principal experience spirit at work; as the leader of that school, he created the conditions for his staff to experience spirit at work, and in doing so, opened the doors for his students to have a positive high school experience.  And did I mention that retention is not an issue in this school?

We now have the opportunity to rethink work and rethink how we can engage teachers so that they will want to stay in the profession.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” An inspirational speaker, consultant and writer, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. She is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook.

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