vPsychology for Business


We are dedicated to bringing out the best in you and your employees

Volume 4, Number 22                                                             October 31, 2003


Psychology for Business is an e-mail newsletter written by  Dr. John Weaver, Dr. Lynda Dahlke, and Dr. Paul Glass, business psychologists and independent consultants, provided to you at no charge. It is published bi-weekly. You’ve received this newsletter because you’ve subscribed to it or it was forwarded to you by a friend or colleague. To subscribe sign up at our website, http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/. If you wish to cancel your subscription, please see the end of this e-mail for easy instructions

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We invite you to forward this newsletter, in its entirety, to your colleagues.

On Executive Coaching:  Consider hiring a coach to help you with learning to effectively motivate  your employees or to help you to develop the vision for your career that will propel you to the next level.

Executive coaching is not geographically limited.  Coaching by telephone is effective.  It is also an efficient use of time and resources.  You never need to leave your office to travel, nor do you need to pay travel expenses for your coach. We offer coaching either onsite or by telephone. To find out if coaching is right for you, contact us to schedule a 1/2 hour consultation at no charge.  Or request a price sheet to determine the best value for your organization.  Call us at: (262) 789-2728 or email us at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com.

Coaching for Performance Series:

By Dr. John Weaver, Business Psychologist and Executive Coach

Summary: When employees do only the minimum to get by and show little initiative or creativity, the problem may be bigger than it seems. A management style that communicates a lack of trust in the workforce can de-motivate workers and sabotage the long term success of the business.

He developed a great idea for a business. He saved and planned to make it a reality. He won loyal customers by providing them with a great solution to their needs. It was successful enough that he expanded his operation and began to employ others to meet the demands of his growing organization.

But somehow, between the day he realized his dreams of opening his own business and the day he contacted me, the joy and excitement had turned to bitterness.

“Workers today!” He was obviously frustrated and angry. He was not speaking, he was almost shouting. “There is no more work ethic! I can’t get any of my employees to lift a finger! They want to get paid to do nothing!”

His problem was a workforce that consistently did only the minimum required to meet his demands. In fact, he noticed, he had to become more and more demanding just to keep them doing anything at all. It was a constant tug of war.

He had been barely able to keep up with the needs of his customers by coming to work earlier and staying long after his paid staff went home. He needed to check every detail to catch and correct mistakes. He could not trust his employees to work carefully or to follow through on tasks. It was taking a toll on him personally, creating a severe strain on his family and it was making it impossible to expand his business any further even though he had potential customers because he could only barely meet the demand of his current business.

He was reluctant to hire a coach. He felt coerced by his business advisors who told him that he was heading for a disaster. He did not have time to spend with a coach, but he also knew he had to make some changes or he would lose his business and perhaps his marriage and his health.

“Can you help me to figure out how to get my employees to work harder?”

I was struck by several aspects of his story:

v      His employees were minimally compliant to their job responsibilities. They did the exact duties they were assigned and no more.

v      When jobs were done, they were often done with a “bad attitude.” He was frequently made at them but it seemed like they were mad at him too. This, unfortunately, carried over into interactions with customers.

v      Employees had little commitment to the organization.

v      There was no initiative and there were no creative suggestions coming from the workforce.

v      He could not think of any employee he had hired who was a “good” worker.

I became curious as I listened. Was he a very poor judge of talent, hiring the wrong type of person for the job he needed done? Was he underpaying his help, so he could not attract the talent necessary? Or was there something about his management style that was sabotaging his best efforts?

This business owner was a very talented individual. He had a great product that was substantially better than anything offered by his competition. He had a clear and well articulated vision for his business. He understood his customers and was dedicated to meeting their needs. He was a brilliant technician who was uncompromising in his commitment to quality.

v      He also believed that no one could do the job better than he.

v      He saw the need for employees as a “necessary evil.” They were hired to be extensions of him and to do his work.

v      He was obsessive about the details. He constantly worried about mistakes.

v      He was overworked, stressed out constantly, and working on little rest. As a result he was more irritable and overwhelmed by even small problems.

v      He was “micromanaging” his business.

It is helpful to recognize that businesses operate as a “system.” By that I mean that a change in one part of the business has an impact on other areas. For example, most owners are very aware of this “system” when they are dealing with suppliers. If a supplier is unable to deliver on time, it will delay orders, which will create problems for customers. Problem customers talk to potential customers and that reduces new sales.

There is a “system” within the workforce as well. By micromanaging his workforce, this business owner unintentionally de-motivated his employees. He assigned tasks but was checking up on them repeatedly. He pointed out every mistake, large or small, and then took over the project to make sure it was “done right.” He had a picture in his mind about how each task should be done and insisted that it be done his way.

His employees learned that they could never do a job the way he wanted it done without enduring serious criticism from him. They learned that he would do it himself as soon as he saw any mistake being made. They learned that new ideas or different opinions were not welcome.

So they passively did the minimum necessary to earn a paycheck.  

He did not set out to be a micromanager. It developed slowly as he attempted to build a quality organization. It seemed quicker to do it himself than to work with his employee to help him or her learn the task deeply. He had a clear vision of what he wanted and did not seek out the opinions of others. Much of his management style grew out of the immediate circumstances of business demands. Micromanaging solved the problems he faced, in the short term.

But it also had long term consequences that were sabotaging his business success.

Goals for Coaching:

To help an owner or manager like this, several goals must be accomplished.

  1. Identify and reinforce the strengths of the owner/manager. Micromanagers are often talented individuals who have succeeded by working hard. These qualities are valuable but must be used in positive ways to help achieve success.
  2. Learn to consider both short-term and long-term outcomes for management decisions. There are times when the straight-forward solution to the immediate problem will only cause more problems down the line.
  3. Take a realistic look at the current employees. What talents have gone untapped? Who has the potential to step up to assume more leadership? Are there some employees who are a poor fit for their jobs?
  4. Develop a vision, not just for the business, but for the type of workforce that would truly energize the organization. This vision will help to shape the training of the current employees and be a guide to identifying future workers for the company.
  5. Learn to face the anxiety of letting others do projects through to completion. Learn to let go of process and focus on outcomes. Develop trust in the good workers.
  6. Expand the vision of effective management. As the day to day technical details are turned over to competent employees, discover the other aspects of successful managing including creating a commitment within the business to long term goals, learning to mentor talented workers to bring out the best in them, and extending a positive position for the business within the community.

The coaching relationship is a collaborative partnership with a professional dedicated to your success. The coach works with the owner or manager to resolve problems by providing an objective perspective and bringing a unique expertise in understanding the emotional workings of a successful business.

Psychology for Business Fast Fact:
Happy employees are more creative.
Studies have found that people in positive mood states , compared to those in neutral or negative mood states, tend to be better at integrating information, finding relationships among stimuli, and at finding creative solutions.  Source: The Social Psychology for Consumer Behavior by Richard Bagozzi, Zeynep Gurhan-Canli, and Joseph Priester. (2002).

About the Author

John Weaver, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist with 22 years’ professional experience working with organizations, groups, and individuals. He has experience leading groups and creating teamwork in organizations. His areas of expertise include executive coaching, conflict resolution, coaching teams and individuals to improve performance under stress, assessing employees and potential employees to ensure the right person for the right job, and training in stress management and "The Vitamin C’s for an Emotionally Healthy Workplace."  He is an experienced professional speaker and published author.

Based in Waukesha, WI, Dr. John Weaver is available for consultation or executive coaching by phone, e-mail or in person. He may be reached at (262) 789-2728 (office) or (414) 491-8719 (cell), by e-mail: mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com or: 

John Weaver, Psy.D. 
Psychology for Business
2717 North Grandview Boulevard, Suite 303
Waukesha, Wisconsin, 53188

10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Coach is now available for download by visiting http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/questions.htm.

Also receive your copy of 9 Ways to Motivate Your Workforce by visiting http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/motivate.htm

If you are interested in having Dr. Weaver speak for your organization, contact him at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com?subject=SPEAK .

To order your copy of the book, MANAGING DIFFICULT PERSONALITIES IN THE WORKPLACE: A Manager’s Practical Guide, by Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass, send your name, address, number of copies desired and a check made out to Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass for $12 per book (plus $2 shipping per book).  Or order 10 or more copies for $10 per book and $6.95 for shipping (up to 50 copies).  No fluff, this book gets right to the point. Send orders to:

Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188   

Email: mailto:pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com

To order the booklet: 41 WAYS TO IMPROVE THE EMOTIONAL HEALTH OF YOUR WORKPLACE, by Dr. John Weaver send a check for $6 and a self-addressed, double stamped business size envelope to:

Dr. John Weaver
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188

To subscribe visit us at our website: http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/.  If you would like to learn more about Dr. John Weaver (mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com), Dr. Lynda Dahlke (mailto:ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com), and Dr. Paul Glass (mailto:pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com) please visit us at our website.

© Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. John Weaver. Distribution rights: The above material is copyrighted, but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. If you would like to reprint part of this newsletter please contact me at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com to make arrangements.

Sharing this newsletter with colleagues and friends, under these conditions, is encouraged.

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Dr. John Weaver publishes another newsletter, co-authored by Darlene Weaver, THE CENTERED PENDULUMIt is our firm belief that lifelong patterns of “being” (personality, attitudes, emotions) and “doing” (lifestyle, adaptability, coping skills) interact with our genes and environment to create conditions of a healthy or a diseased brain.  If you would like to read previous issues of the Centered Pendulum newsletter or to subscribe, please visit the archives at http://www.centeredpendulum.org/newsletters.htm.