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Leading During Dark Times. Cheryl Seybold, ITS/AIS HR Mini-Conference, April 9, 2013. The Calm Before the Storm. Session Goals. Dark Times Can … Be Personal Be Institutional Affect Your Staff and Team Share Management Experience What Would You Do? Know Your Resources.

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Leading During Dark Times


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    1. Leading During Dark Times Cheryl Seybold, ITS/AIS HR Mini-Conference, April 9, 2013

    2. The Calm Before the Storm

    3. Session Goals • Dark Times Can … • Be Personal • Be Institutional • Affect Your Staff and Team • Share Management Experience • What Would You Do? • Know Your Resources

    4. Dark Times Are… Real • Requires Action In Your Management Role As a Person Logic Reasoning Policy Emotion Compassion Empathy

    5. Shared Experience • 3 minute individual “I” time, plus discussion

    6. Exercise • What 1-2 questions do you ask the staff member? • Why do you ask those questions – what information are you gathering for your decision? • What’s your answer to the staff member (yes / no) and why?

    7. Learnings • You may have limited time to make a decision • Your staff members are adults and make adult decisions • Think about other players in the situation • Think about safety issues • What is your follow-up?

    8. Dark Times Will… Happen

    9. Shared Experience • The timing of death, like the ending of a story, gives a changed meaning to what preceded it. Mary Catherine Bateson • Penn State News from State College, PAState College, PA - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University ... Xiaoping "Helen" He, 47, was killed in a car accident along U.S. Route 322 ... • 3 minute all-group discussion – What Would You Do?

    10. Staff and Team Distress • Shock, horror, and disbelief • Anger at how this could happen • Mistrust in leadership • Guilt by association • National scrutiny • Loss of identity • Unrelenting media attention • Threats and fears for safety • Gossip and rumors • Uncertainty about the future • Job insecurity • Hit to morale (Reference/reprinted with permission from : ITS Resilience Workshop, Oct 9, 2012, Dr. KavitaAvula)

    11. Tools for Talking • Communications in Times of Grief - Do’s: • I think it will be important to take one day at a time. • It is OK to feel upset or worried. • I can relate to your anxiety about not knowing what the future holds. • I’m also frustrated that I can’t give you more reassurance. • This is a very stressful situation and if you can think of anything I can do to support you, do let me know. (Reference/reprinted with permission from : ITS Resilience Workshop, Oct 9, 2012, Dr. KavitaAvula)

    12. Tools for Approach • Approaching the Distressed Employee • Facilitate access to resources • Ask “Are you talking to someone about this?” • Express your concerns directly to the employee and focus on objective (indisputable) behaviors versus personality characteristics • Let the employee know that the issues they are discussing with you are not your area of expertise • Encourage the employee to call and make his or her own appointment (Reference/reprinted with permission from : ITS Resilience Workshop, Oct 9, 2012, Dr. KavitaAvula)

    13. Tools to Keep in Mind • Communications in Times of Grief – Don’ts: • Say “You need counseling” or “You really shouldn’t be able to work with your issues” • Assume that the person cannot be treated for the mental health concern while continuing at work • Ignore the issue or behavior • Promise privacy or to keep something secret • Avoid talking directly to the employee about your observations • Assume that the employee is aware of your concerns • Be intrusive and disrespect privacy • Offer more help than you are willing to provide • Gossip or discuss any employee’s personal health with others (Reference/reprinted with permission from : ITS Resilience Workshop, Oct 9, 2012, Dr. KavitaAvula)

    14. Tools to Indicate • When to Encourage Help-Seeking Behavior • When you feel like you are doing more personal counseling than managing • The problems or requests made are outside the scope of your role with the employee • After some time and effort, you feel like you are not making progress in helping this employee • When you wonder if the employee is struggling psychologically (Reference/reprinted with permission from : ITS Resilience Workshop, Oct 9, 2012, Dr. KavitaAvula)

    15. Learnings • You do not need to be a counselor • Keep up with the news • Listen to your staff • Grant and Provide Resources • Funeral flex time • Arrange for counseling session • Accept Help from Your Peers • Support Remembrance Efforts

    16. Shared Experience • Safety situation with staff member

    17. Learnings • Address anger concerns early • Listen to your staff • Think about safety issues • Utilize your HR Representative • When would you make the call to act? • Maintain Confidentiality

    18. Penn State Resources • Your Manager or Supervisor • Your Human Resources Representative • Policies: HR34 , HR16 and HR78 • University Police and Public Safety (911) • University hotlines(includes Ethics Hotline) • Employee Assistance Program (866-799-2728) • Counseling and Psychological Services (814.863.0395) • Employee Relations or Affirmative Action Office • ITS – April upcoming “HR Mini Conference” for managers

    19. Plus / Deltas • Questions? • Feedback?

    20. Shared Group Response • Personal Question to Staff Member • Assess – is this person over-reacting? • Assess – will this make the situation worse if the staff member goes to the friend’s office? • Assess – is this a repeating pattern from this staff member? • Have you talked to your HR Rep? Let’s go talk to him/her now, I’ll go with you. • How are you feeling, are you ok enough to go? • You’re a good friend

    21. Shared Group Response • Supervisory Question • Do you know if anything has been done to find the person? • Have the police been notified? (What about the family?) • Can I contact the concerned person? • Please call me if you need anything at all. Is there anything I can do for you? • Do you have any immediate tasks or loose ends here at the office? • Where can I reach you in case of emergency here? • Would you be willing to involve the person’s HR Department? • When can I expect that you’ll return to the office? How much time do you need? • Would you mind if I contacted the person’s supervisor? • When will you return to work? • Follow-up • Please check back in with me every “X” of hours, I’d like to know if you’re ok, and how the situation is. • Keep me informed • Answer to the Staff Member = “Yes” and “No”

    22. Shared Group Response - Death • Sadness, disbelief, grief, loss, happiness that suffering is over, anger, confusion • Remember that people grieve differently/different timeframes • Give yourself “space and time" for your own emotional control • Identify close office "friends“ • Official confirmation of events • Consider where and how to inform • Consider organizational communication of information (per family preference, memorial service info, etc.) • Contact EAP or grief counseling services • Keep abreast of the news • After initial shock, establish POC for family - funeral - department support (flowers/cards) • Make accommodations for staff to attend services/memorials • Identify staff that may not be dealing with the loss as well as others

    23. Shared Group Response - Threat • Notify Police Services/HR • Document verbal reports • Ensure you are aware of policy • Deal with safety concerns of others • Address access to PSU resources • Revisit policies to improve safety