|"Your course made the
difference... now I have the tools to build my understanding of what's
Margaret Maxwell, Quality Team, Bureau of Land Management
"Employees are resolving their
own conflicts now, asking for coaching tips rather than asking the
manager to deal with it for them."
"Susan Wehrspann has
consistently delivered highly ranked and valued classes to
Hewlett-Packard employees in northern Colorado. Her inclusive approach
to communication and collaborative team building continue to make a
difference in the workplace."
"Susan helps put individuals at
ease and quickly breaks down barriers that inhibit creative expression."
"The class applauded your
excellent presentation style, attention-keeping techniques and the
value of the information presented."
"Susan demonstrates that
exemplary quality of going beyond what is necessary - an outstanding
human being who truly cares about people."
PARTICIPANT APPLICATION OF COURSES
I've been using the problem solving module that we worked with in training to fill the 2 vacant positions in my section. Below is the situation and the people involved. I don't have an outcome yet due to some Human Resources circumstances that have arisen and extended the process. I'm at step 4 and holding. The method has helped to keep the process focused.
Document strengths and weaknesses
Interview as needed
The following steps were taken in order to progress through the selection
1. List each candidate's strengths and weaknesses, and summarize that list. Criteria used for identifying strengths and weaknesses were based on duties listed in vacancy announcements to which the candidates responded. 2. Identify strongest candidates based on determinations made in step 1. 3. Conduct reference checks of strongest candidates. All references are to be asked the same questions. These questions relate to the candidate's skills, abilities, and capabilities of working on their own, in a team, and with diverse people. 4. Conduct interviews with the strongest candidates. All candidates are to be asked the same questions. These questions are based on the candidate's experience with the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities listed in each position description. 5. Select the best candidate based on determinations made in steps 3 and 4.
…It really helps to find out how we traditionally deal with people. He is still looking at what I gave him. Any ways, I applied what you taught us to an employee that I supervise. He is a very talented, hardworking employee, that once you direct him to do something he will readily do it. However, he seems to lack self confidence to some degree. He initially appeared somewhat aloof to me as his new supervisor. For the last month I have been trying to pin him down to have his mid-year performance evaluation. Early last week I had the opportunity to again remind him that we needed to have his mid-year performance evaluation done asap, but that it will be totally painless-I told him that it was something that I had to do, but I wanted to use the opportunity to discuss his interests, career goals, and training needs-real positive experience. Apparently he believed me and trusted me, because that same day he can wandering into my office ready for the evaluation. I began our meeting telling how much I appreciated all that he has done since I came on-board, and that I really appreciated all his hard work. We proceeded to discuss the jobs that he would be responsible for during the remainder of the year, what kind of training he would like to have this year, his career goals and what types of additional skill qualifications he would like to develop. It was a very productive and positive meeting. I definitely think that the interpersonal effectiveness skills that you taught us helped me out. Thanks for a wonderful training session, and best of luck. I also told my district ranger that you would be interested in coming to the district and help direct our self-evaluation of how we deal with people. ....
My supervisory went on vacation leave and I was in the acting position, in May. We received notice from the Washington Office that we had lost more than 200 slots for our Program. One member, M___, of my supervisor's team (my team) is in this program. My situation was to attend a large meeting where the program status would be explained to all participants and their current manager, with M__ and then meet with her one on one after the meeting to attend to any concerns she may have. The good news was that the program was not ending right away. We have until the 30th, so more than 30 days notice. Additionally, the program manager here started to work right away on placements with other agency's that may include the option of keeping our employees here, while paid for by another agency.
The large meeting went as best as can be expected, given the news. Most seemed relieved that they were not being let go that day and had until the 30th. When I met right afterward with M____, I worked real hard at putting into place the listening skills, without judgment, or turning the conversation into my similar situation of last year. I made sure I met with her without my usual distractions (things in my hands, taking notes). I think it was important that we met in her space, not mine and not in my supervisors. We talked (M_____ talking mostly, and me listening) for a long time, longer than I thought we would, and at the end, she said to, "thank you for caring." I believe she meant it. I know I did. She is a wonderful worker, and a good person. I am hoping to have word by the end of this week that we will be able to keep her.
….First let me say I really did enjoy this class and thought you did an excellent job of facilitating. You seem to be the type of person who really enjoys life and that is good.
Since returning back to my office I have been trying to apply some of my learning to the job situations. I have been trying to improve my interpersonal and communication skills by asking more open-ended questions and paraphrasing more. I think I am a fairly good listener but practice does make perfect. Also, we have a new employee whom I work closely with and I have tried to be more delegating and yet let him feel his way and ask questions without hanging directly over him. He seems confident and doesn't hesitate to ask questions so I feel like I am doing a decent job so far. I think your class will definitely help me.
"SUPERVISORS AND EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP"
What is a Supervisor?
What is a good Supervisor?
What is an effective Supervisor?
You must learn not only the definitions to this terminology, but the meaning of each as well. You can take a person and place them in a supervisory role, but this does not necessarily make them Supervisor material. An effective Supervisor must be prepared for challenges, open to learning all the time and have adaptability at all times. I feel a Supervisor must be open to all aspects of the selected job(s) that one has supervision of. You must be prepared for everyday to be a challenge, without challenge the learning stops and I feel that a good effective supervisor never stops learning. When you feel you know it all you can only work for and with yourself. To be an effective leader you must be open to change. Change is a person's biggest challenge, it happens constantly.
I will briefly touch base on my late employee issue. After taking your class I began to approach her situation differently. We first began by having a meeting, away from any distractions, away from any disruptions, away from the atmosphere of "What will happen next to interrupt us?" We went to a quiet place, no phone calls, no students, no venders, and no interruptions at all. I explained to her all the issues concerning her job, her job performance or lack of, and issues that would prevent her from getting her job on a permanent basis is some of her inconsistencies were not corrected. As her Supervisor I had to explain to her the effects of how her tardiness was indeed affecting her job. I told her that as much as I would like to not have to have this conversation with her, I must. Her future with the Forest Service would end for habitual tardiness if it continued; this is a critical area on her evaluation. I explained to her that no matter how great of an employee she is, how devoted to covering her work, how good she worked with the students or any of the other wonderful things she had to offer our organization; it wouldn't matter when she was out of a job for habitual tardiness. I told her that the final decision was not up to me, it was up to a panel team. They would review her folder and the history since beginning here and then she would be offered a permanent position or not. The team will see her habitual tardiness in writing, see if corrective actions have been offered from me and a plan put in place to correct some of the issues. All of which I have done and there has been no improvement. I think for the first time she heard me. I think for the first I heard her, I heard what she was saying. I always (tried) to listen, but I was not sure if I heard her.
opened up to me about
allot of issues that she has involving her 4 teenagers, all of whom are
to 20 years old. I listened, not saying anything. As of
As I'm the supervisor of the marking crew, I learned to relax my use of directive behaviors and started using more supportive behaviors. I used to come in the office and tell the crew "to get going to the field" in a stern tone. Now, I'll go to the office and ask the crew if they are ready to go out to the field. If they are ready, then I will, in a supportive and moral-boosting tone, say something like, "let's go out in the field and teach the trees what it is like to be marked." Since I've been more relaxed in my commands, the crew have done better job of getting things done.
Since most of the marking crew members consist of at least a year of marking experience, they mostly know what is expected of them in terms of marking timber. However, one of the markers is not very confident in marking timber. I encourage him in marking timber. I'll be supportive and I tell him that if he has a question in regard to a tree to be marked, do not hesitate to ask me. I'm more supportive than direct to encourage the marker to be more confident in marking timber. I want to make sure that the marker actually enjoys the decision making process of marking timber. For example if the marker tallies a tree and I find an error that the marker made, I'll say, "Well, 45 feet is not necessarily right, however, I would recommend you to go to 52 feet. The reason it should be at 52 feet is..." Then, I'll ask the marker if the 52 feet decision is understood and clear and encourage the marker to keep up the good work.
I encourage the markers to make decisions for them. An example would be if I have to work in the office and I delegate my duties to the crew leader, I'll let the crew leader know a certain type of work that needs to be done. Then, I'll ask the crew leader how the work will be done. When the crew leader tells me how the crew will be lead and how the work will be done, I will either agree or reject the crew leader's ideas. However, I will be supportive by saying, "I like your idea because it is..." or I will disagree with the idea by saying, "It probably will not work very well, however, I like the fact that you are trying to get the work done. What I would recommend is...however if you are more comfortable with your idea, its okay as long as you get the job done."
The crew members practiced for the Fire Pack Test by walking around with a 45 pound sand pack. After their practice, we went out to the field to mark timber. In the process of getting the paint ready, I noticed that the crew members were very sore from the practice. So, I asked them how sore they were. I listened to them telling me that they were extremely sore and that their legs were hurting. I could tell that they were not feeling too well either. I did not have any experience with the pack test so I didn't know how sore one could be. So, I reacted by telling them that we will not mark timber (which includes extensive walking) instead we'll do light duties for the rest of the day. Because of that, they were very motivated to do the light duty work because they would not have to mark timber with very sore legs.
Since I've taken the training, I've studied the markers more often. I watch their behaviors more closely, ask how they're doing, and talk with them about their interests in life as well as how their families are doing. We've decided to have a "get-together-kind-of-thing" outside our work hours. For example, one of the markers invited all of the marking crew to a BBQ feast at the marker's house in a couple weeks. We decided to take turns to host our "get-together" thing so that we can learn more about each other and keep our morals high. We have a tough job that includes sweat, blood, and guts so we need to keep each other going and keep the moral high. This is the first time in my 3 1/2 years as a timber marker that I’ve seen all of the crew members supports each other.
I learned a lot from the training and I have seen improvement with the crew. I try the best to be a good supervisor to them.
Business Management Assistant
I enjoyed the training we had and I feel I have some good information to pull from in the future. Well I had an issue to deal with concerning an employee taking advantage of the leave system here at work. The way I handled the situation was to wait until it was time for a mid term evaluation, when we made it to the teamwork part I brought up that it is important that all the team members feel that all the team members are pulling their fair share of the load. We also talked about just what the procedure is to call in and how it is important to be honest and dedicated to your job. Other team members are quick to point out that you may be taking advantage of the sick leave system.
The approach seems to work so far. Thank you for having the class and good luck to you and I hope to have some more training with you in the future.
Anyway, our presentation lasted nearly an hour. Quite a bit longer than either of us expected. During the presentation, H______ and I had everyone complete the personality questionnaire. Not so surprisingly to either of us, the results were very similar to that of our class. There was an even breakout of chocolates and vanillas and only one strawberry (my supervisor).
While this has just started, it's going quite well. Instead of writing procedures, we're animating them in a flow chart program. This definitely is more appealing to my strawberry side... it just seems more creative and practical. We're also reviewing some of our manuals. While I typically keep most of my procedures in my head, it has been interesting putting them to paper. There may be something to that chocolate thing. Working through the details is already helping me understand more of the specifics.
Thank you very much for the lessons earlier this month. They have definitely been helpful.
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