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Consult with your organization's human resources representative regarding sick leave issues and how to manage these absences and record the leave status. PAS can accept formal referrals from supervisors when employees have job performance issues, quality of work problems, conduct and behavioral issues, and attendance problems. So, consider referring your employee. Make it a formal referral. Is the employee unable to adequately perform his duties because of the absenteeism? If so, make note of it. It makes no difference whether the employee is being seen by a psychiatrist. This fact does not preclude a referral to PAS. Many issues could exist in this situation, including improper treatment, a problematic relationship with the doctor, poor medication compliance, sudden loss of medication effectiveness, and a host of other factors. PAS will obtain a release to communicate directly with the psychiatrist and assess what's going on. If the employee is reluctant to accept a referral, discuss next steps with PAS.

The most important thing is to form good working relationships. Supervisors can learn many different skills and tactics, but few will be effective without positive relationships. Understand the concept of "essential attitudes" for a supervisor. Essential attitudes for success exist in every profession, whether you are a teacher, scientist, minister, pilot, or supervisor. Here's one: assume your employees are doing the best job they can from their point of view. This attitude will affect the way you speak, act, nurture, and support them. It might even help you remember to use PAS more often as a resource to improve performance. Another: spell out for employees what they need to do in order to succeed and then give them the ability to do it. Imagine how these essential attitudes influence a positive relationship, and how lacking they are with many managers.

You will hear a lot more about Generation Z as these employees enter the workforce. Gen Z are those born between approximately 1995-96 and 2010-14. This is the group following the millennials. Generation Z is more influenced by concepts like "finding my true purpose" and "making an impact." They want to be independent and are highly attracted to learning new things. They are confident and respond positively to companies that are engaged in resolving social problems. They are entrepreneurial, realistic, hungry for experiences and want to see the world. Gen Z employees want to be experts and may accept challenges more readily than prior generations. When writing the essential functions of job descriptions, consider the above values and employee traits to help you maximize productivity and employee job satisfaction. Gen Z employees are less put off by the idea of getting counseling and more likely to use supports like PAS to improve their lives. Learn more from the book "Meet Generation Z" (2017).

Most supervisors know conflict is normal in the workplace, and responding to conflict is part of a supervisor's job, but there are important guidelines. It is not necessary to intervene in every conflict. On the contrary, it is usually better to leave employees alone and let them work it out. If supervisors involved themselves in every conflict, they would likely create more of them because it would send a message that employees need not cooperate, compromise, or work out power struggles with each other and instead let you work it out. These relationship skills can be undermined by the authority of a manager. A better tactic is often to monitor what is taking place. So, when should you intervene? Intervene when the issues pose some sort of larger risk to the organization, as in the case of harassment, discrimination, or potential for violence. Hold employees responsible for resolving conflicts. Never let them perpetuate. PAS can be a resource for supervisors when conflicts remain unresolved and you decide to speed up resolution by referring employees for additional help or getting a supervisor consult for more resources.

Well, maybe. An open-door policy encouraging workers to visit and discuss issues and concerns requires more than simply a door swung open. You must also have a psychologically safe workplace. A psychologically safe workplace naturally encourages employees to stick their necks out, approach you, and take advantage of what you are offering. They do so because they are confident they will not be rejected or punished for admitting a mistake, bringing a complaint, asking a question, or offering a new idea. Help employees feel respected, accepted, and comfortable at all times. Model this to others. The bottom line is: How you interact with employees outside your office will determine whether they will walk through your open door later.

Studies indicate that 50% of employees have quit a job because of a bad boss. One study reported that 75% consider their boss a major source of stress, but most have no plans to quit. The health issue is stress. Here's a list of common complaints from a Harris Poll in order of severity:

  1. not recognizing employee achievements;
  2. not giving clear directions;
  3. not having time to meet with employees;
  4. refusing to talk with subordinates,
  5. taking credit for others' ideas;
  6. not offering constructive criticism;
  7. not knowing an employee's name;
  8. refusing to talk with people on the phone or in person; and
  9. not asking about employees' lives outside of work.

Nearly all of these complaints fall in the realm of communication, and some you may find surprising. For example, employees want you to know more about them personally. Do any apply to you? PAS can help you become a better supervisor on any of these issues.

PAS could discuss a manager's concern about a pending decision to use disciplinary action to help him or her gain clarity, offer support in managing stress associated with the decision, or address personal fears. However, PAS would not render a psychological judgment in general regarding the risk of a disciplinary action. Doing so interferes with management processes and violates an ethical boundary of non-interference by PAS. If PAS engaged in this process, it could be viewed as authorizing, consenting to, approving, and/or sanctioning the decision. This could produce division within your management group if PAS was counter to the opinion of others. Some managers might agree, while others may not. Management might feel forced to accept whatever PAS recommended. This bind would potentially compromise PAS's ability to attract employees and managers. A consult with Duke Human Resources' Staff and Labor Relations, a third-party consultant, or other management advisors should be considered.

It is important to document specific details in a corrective action letter. You should send the letter to your department head and HR representative for approval prior to giving the letter to the employee. Here are some of the key elements to include in a corrective action letter:

  • Include date incident occurred.
  • Cite the specific behavior that was seen, heard, said, etc.
  • Mention negative effects or outcome of incident on immediate work unit or operation.
  • State unacceptability of event/incident and why it is unacceptable.
  • Reference any similar past events. For example, ___.
  • State larger impact and effect on productivity for organization.
  • State that you are anticipating this won't happen again.
  • Invite employee to meet and discuss issues, concerns, or precipitating events to prevent any future incident.
  • Provide a strong recommendation to visit PAS confidentially to discuss any problem that may be associated with the issue.
  • Give phone number to PAS.
  • Thank employee for attention to the matter.
  • Invite employee to discuss any other concerns.
  • Copy next-level supervisor and HR representative.

This is one example of a structured letter with essential elements. However, your HR department may also have recommendations for you.

Speak to your employee in private to inquire about this situation. Employees are your most valuable resource. Their safety is paramount, and your concern stems from this principle. Your suspicion is based on what you can see is a disheveled appearance, so you have enough to justify your concern. Sleeping in a car can be dangerous for many reasons, but it's important to help your employee feel comfortable enough to visit the PAS for help and assistance. According to one survey, one out of 10 employees has experienced homelessness due to a wide variety of financial problems. A referral to the PAS program can assist the employee with the emotional issues connected with this situation.

Today's workplace has changed. Employees are much more desirous of positive, nurturing, and socially connected environments. This is especially true of younger workers, who also appreciate supervisors who are willing to be more vulnerable and open about their feelings with them. Given these new expectations and to help retain employees longer, offering guidance on coping with work stress is appropriate for supervisors. This can include, for example, counseling employees about taking risks, managing fear and work stress, coping with mistakes, not regretting missed opportunities, and overcoming fear of taking chances, as well as supervisors sharing information about their personal failures and successes. These things help employees build "emotional resilience" to better cope with errors, mistakes, work crises, coworker conflicts, disappointments, missed promotions, upsetting performance reviews, and more. All organizations want lower turnover, and helping employees build emotional resilience clearly has a business rationale. (NOTE: It is important to distinguish between the examples above from acute issues, which would dictate a referral to PAS.)

You are reporting that your employee's performance is acceptable and that you have no concerns after so many years. You should monitor his performance as you always have, and if problems return, engage PAS and follow the supervisor referral process recommended to you. There is no other action for you to take unless there is an active contract with Employee Occupational Health and Wellness (EOHW). If so, it would be appropriate to inform EOHW. Performance and ability to perform the position's essential functions are the dominant concerns of the employer. His potential relapse would be his personal medical concern for the moment. It is possible that the relapse will not affect his performance again, or problems could return. Your vigilance as a supervisor will help you intervene early if needed to provide support.

In years gone by, your approach may have been commonly recommended. However, in today's world of work, not taking action after being informed of offensive and hostile behavior is usually viewed by courts as a failure to act and negligence. Likewise, procrastination or putting off investigating the matter can be seen as apathy. This is why sexual harassment policies support employees going to the next level of management when lodging complaints. It's better to ask, "How do I act now in order to get a fast, fair resolution regarding this incident?" Think speed and responsiveness. The employee should be offered support, and Personal Assistance Service can help. Referring the employee to PAS can reduce the risk to the organization and help employee manage any sort of emotional issues brought on by the incident.

You have enough information to document this situation and be rightfully concerned about it. Consult with Personal Assistance Service and discuss an approach that will support a successful constructive confrontation with the employee and a referral to PAS. PAS will role-play with you the best approach. Be sure to talk to your employee in private. You don't have to wait until the next incident, but it will be helpful to have the following: clear examples of the behavior that is concerning, its impact on others and work productivity, and what changes you would like to see. The employee is likely aware of his explosive style because others outside of work have either remarked about it or been victims of it. Coworkers should be discouraged from finding this behavior as a source of entertainment, including taunting the worker. Employees with explosive rage can act with violence while feeling detached from their ability to control their behavior.

There are techniques for changing your mood. A frequent need to improve your mood could be a sign of depression or another medical condition. In this case, visit Personal Assistance Service for an assessment to see whether there are other steps worth considering. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Exercise regularly. It will influence your mood to keep it more positive.
  • Feel an undesirable mood coming on? Go for a short "exercise snack," a 10-to-15-minute walk outside or in a new environment.
  • Sit quietly, and for five minutes, imagine some activity you experience great pleasure in doing, such as fishing, gardening, hiking, or playing with grandchildren. This will influence a more positive mood, and it helps you keep life in perspective.

Moods are related to subtle negative "self-talk." Your mood can change as you change your inner dialogue. You will notice an improved effect with practice. Make an appointment with PAS if you remain concerned about the need to alter your mood, chronic feelings of irritability, or a communication style that does not facilitate a positive relationship with your employees.

Your fears may be normal in the face of a rapid rise in your career. Many people with fears similar to yours have discovered nothing came of them despite the anxiety they often felt. The collection of symptoms you describe is sometimes called "impostor syndrome." Don't panic. Talk to PAS, and allow professionals there to guide you in gaining relief. Be prepared to share more about your concerns, career path, supervisor relationship, and specific fears. Impostor syndrome is an internal sense of fear, not based on reality. The impostor syndrome can be exacerbated by a difficult relationship with the boss or peers, or by a true shortage of skills, but rarely by the inability to perform the job or rapidly learn it.

Meet with your employee. You already have a history of referral to PAS and post-treatment management of his performance. Of course, you will not be able to determine the accuracy of anything he says regarding reestablishing an effective recovery program, or even regarding his abstinence. Only a professional can do that. However, you can recommend strongly that he visit PAS as a self-referral so the program can help him reestablish such an effort. Relapses happen. They are nothing to panic about, but the sooner you have a discussion like the one you will hopefully have, the faster he will join the recovery program and the more successful he will be at sticking with i

Any employee, whether or not they are a supervisor, or whether or not the nature of the discussion is about a personal problem, is covered by the program's confidentiality policy. Using the program to get help is what defines you as a client, not the type problem you bring. Ensuring that your discussions with PAS are confidential reduces risk to the organization because it helps ensure that you are likely to visit the program without hesitation, seek its help in dealing with troubled employees, and thereby reduce risk that employees will be mismanaged. Mismanagement of employees can lead to wrongful discipline, workplace violence, conflicts, absenteeism, legal claims, and much more. When managing troubled employees or simply seeking to elevate their potential, consider what role PAS can play. PAS counselors acquire experience on motivating workers, documentation, confrontation, praising and inspiring employees, making observations, and conflict resolution, and can guide you in "what to say" and "how to say it" no matter what the communication need might be.

Yes. Periodically, all managers learn personal information about their employees through private conversations, employment records, hearsay, and personal notes provided to them. Sometimes employees accidentally disclose personal information under emotional stress. Your possession of this information carries with it significant responsibility, and the appropriate care of it is a matter that shouldn't be taken lightly. Here are some rules to follow: Consider all personal information about employees as private and never disclose it unless compelled to do so, such as in cases of threats of harm to self or others. In all cases, talk to your HR manager or legal advisor and don't act alone without such advice. Also, it may be tempting to share personal information about an employee in confidence with another manager/colleague and ask him or her to not re-share it. Don't do this.

Giving feedback to employees is not about delivering the good with the bad and hoping for the best. Your attitude and approach are critical. Do you show annoyance over the shortcomings of your employee's work, or do you deliver feedback with judgment-free specificity? The latter approach works better because valuable employees are hard enough on themselves. More importantly, give feedback with the intention of motivating employees. If an employee is not energized following a feedback interview, you have taken a step backward in that relationship. Whenever possible, use feedback meetings to teach new skills. Develop good working relationships with your employees and discuss how you will give feedback to them. Let them know that the purpose of feedback is to help them excel, not to find fault or shake their confidence. Use these guidelines the next time you give feedback. You will enjoy giving feedback more often, and you'll do it more effectively.

There is a difference between employees expressing humor within a psychologically safe workplace and the supervisor over-employing humor as a way to interact and manage employees. Overuse of humor can heighten employee vulnerability and make supervisors less approachable. Ironically, some humor may contribute to an intimidating and offensive work environment. Overused, humor can also send a message that there is nothing very serious about what we do here-that mistakes and problems are not to be taken seriously. This results in the loss of a healthy sense of urgency and leads to diminished performance by employees. This dynamic can prompt employees to focus on personal matters rather than workplace productivity; indeed, research has shown this to be the case. However, humor is a natural human behavior. It is not something that has to be deliberately learned or practiced. Naturally occurring, it can be an indicator of a positive work climate where employees are able to be happy, healthy, and productive.

It is a myth that leadership can't be learned. Here are a few rewarding challenges to master-all teachable:

  • thinking and acting in ways that encourage others to trust and follow you,
  • creating a vision or a direction in which you want to lead a team,
  • having a personal vision for yourself within a leadership context,
  • considering crises that can happen and how to respond to them,
  • being optimistic (optimistic authority figures inspire others),
  • resolving conflicts; taking charge before being told what to do,
  • pulling others into the action,
  • striving for excellence, not perfection,
  • maintaining high standards and giving others credit where it is due,
  • praising employees frequently to inspire them to produce,
  • taking risks out of your comfort zone,
  • being truthful with yourself; knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and depending on others with skills you lack to achieve work-unit goals,
  • building your brand as a leading expert in one or two areas; being a credible resource others trust,
  • being a role-model for compassion, commitment, effort, integrity, teamwork, good communication, and vision, and
  • getting to work on time.

In this case, you could make a formal referral or wait to see if the attendance issues clear up. Since a release has been signed, consider letting the PAS counselor know about the attendance issues, but do not expect follow-up reports, due to the limitations of the release. Without making a formal release, the employees' release may be rescinded at any time, leaving the PAS counselor without the ability to communicate with you. The counselor will not be able to acknowledge follow-through with recommendations or share status of participation. That said, none of this will interfere with your ability to manage performance. A formal supervisor referral allows you to request more structured (but not clinical) communication.

There are many reasons people hesitate to make decisions. Fear of being wrong is one, but it is worth exploring what drives this fear? Making decisions can sometimes be difficult, and anxiety around decision-making can translate into stalling techniques such as 1) perfectionism (it slows progress), 2) fear of disapproval, and 3) over-analyzing. Great leaders have a history of making and overcoming mistakes by trusting their gut, a process that improves over time. This is your goal: to be a great gut-level decision-maker who is often right, but not perfect. This is a skill PAS can help you understand more clearly.

If your employee asks for a recommendation for a dentist, there certainly isn't harm in sharing the name of the one you use. However, if the employee begins to share personal reasons for the delay, a recommendation to PAS may be appropriate. Every day, employees share personal problems with coworkers and supervisors at work. There is nothing unusual about the practice. However, some issues that at first appear benign can be associated with severe problems that are suitable for bringing to PAS.

It is important for you as a supervisor to have a sense of curiosity about your employees and their well-being. The rationale is that your employees represent your most valuable resource. This curiosity does not mean involving yourself in employees' personal matters or diagnosing problems. But it does mean going a step further when an employee approaches you with something personal and considering whether a referral to PAS could be helpful. Curiosity means asking why. In your case, a delay in seeing a dentist could be associated with fear or financial hardship, among other reasons.

You may want to start by talking with someone at PAS to review the specifics of your circumstance. You may also find the following tips helpful:

  1. focus on job performance,
  2. be specific in describing behavior and examples,
  3. ask the employee if he/she understands the situation clearly,
  4. ask the employee to paraphrase what the supervisor has said,
  5. ask the employee for a commitment to change,
  6. set a specific time for follow-up and review,
  7. explain that the employee must decide whether he/she should seek help for any personal issue that may be contributing to the performance issue,
  8. explain clearly how PAS works, and discuss confidentiality,
  9. fully assure the worker that use of PAS does not affect job security or promotional opportunities, and it is not punitive in any way.

The most difficult roadblock supervisors face in using PAS to manage troubled employees is making the switch from doing it all themselves to using a systematic approach to assess, refer, treat, and follow up on a troubled employee.

The old approach may include ignoring problems until they precipitate a crisis. Although an employee may sign a release that provides for limited feedback about PAS participation, a supervisor is, by design, removed entirely from involvement in the employee's problems. This shift can be difficult because the supervisor must give up the ability to control the helping process and its outcome. Turning these roles over to PAS frees the supervisor from the burden of being counselor and caseworker. While supervisors may feel competent in handling these roles and may experience satisfaction and meaning by involving themselves in their employees' lives, this approach carries significant risk for all parties concerned.

About 450 homicides occur in the workplace each year in the U.S., and about 85% of these are shootings. An equal number of victims are shot and survive. Robbery is the most common reason for shootings, especially in retail locations. Men are five times more likely than women to be a victim of a shooting, but women are 10 times more likely to be shot when the assailant is a domestic partner, lover, or acquaintance. Domestic violence victimization is one circumstance sometimes shared or known by others at work. It is therefore crucial to refer these victims of abuse and violence to PAS, and not become a private confidant. Only a proper assessment will offer the best chance of identifying the level of risk that might exist, and what to do next about it.

Demonstrating vulnerability will tend to improve relationships in your personal life, but it can undermine your supervisory role in correcting work performance. The workplace operates with a different set of dynamics than your personal life. There are hierarchical differences between workers and those who supervise them. Supervisors possess influence and leverage that allow them the power to correct problems, guide employees, judge performance, and discipline and reward employees. But these factors can be undermined. One way to do that is to give employees the impression that you and they are equal in work-related status. Self-disclosure (being too close and personal) produces this result. If you are perceived as a friend rather than a boss, your employees lose the sense of urgency needed to work under your direction. Coaxing and pleading become faulty tools of persuasion. The same dynamic occurs when parents forgo discipline to become friends with their children. If a supervisor needs help with how to connect with workers and how to share their own issues, PAS can be a good resource to help make a plan on how to do this.

Although education is an important prevention measure, another piece of prevention/intervention is to reinforce complaint procedure so that employees understand the process and are encouraged to use it. As a supervisor, you want to know when employees are being discriminated against, being harassed, or facing other problems like bullying on the job. Periodically, remind employees about the complaint procedure, and be careful not to minimize or ignore complaints brought to you by employees. It is easy to ignore indirect complaints, such as passing comments about problems from third parties. No matter how it is couched, minimized, or diplomatically described to you, treat a complaint as a complaint. Anything less may cause you to overlook victimization. Do not treat harassment complaints as "personality conflicts" in need of some sort of coaching or mediation. Actions that minimize or "define problems down" place organizations at risk of later legal claims that you knew or should have known about the harassing behavior, but did nothing about it.

Personal assistance programs are in the business of helping employees resolve personal problems that may affect job performance, so it would never be advisable to encourage an employee to quit as a solution to his or her personal issues if PAS has not been given the opportunity to help the employee. It would be improper for PAS to endorse or discourage disciplinary or administrative actions, but a referral to PAS should be attempted early in the process of this situation you describe. If you have not done so, refer now. PAS can then help the employee make the best decision based upon all the issues discovered in the assessment interview.

Supervisors may naturally come to know their employees quite well as they discover their work goals, ambitions, personality styles, and whatever personal information they choose to share about their lives. It follows that the same supervisors will notice when things are not quite right. It is then appropriate to ask - and supervisors should ask - how employees are doing. These meaningful conversations with supervisors may lead to employees getting help for personal problems. Seeing an employee at his or her desk all day and not interacting with others should concern you if it is uncharacteristic. Showing concern could lead to the discovery of a serious matter and referral to PAS.

Organizational psychologist Glenn D. Rolfsen, Ph.D., discovered through working with more than 200 companies that gossip and backbiting are indeed stubborn problems, but eliminating these problems will increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, and improve morale. The best tactic he discovered was to change behavior associated with gossip, which helped employees acquire new habits of personal awareness to change the behavior. He did three things that produced the result he wanted. First, he educated employees about gossip's toxic effects. Then, he got everyone to sign a commitment to eliminating it. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, he discovered a way to keep that goal in front of everyone effectively to achieve "top of mind awareness." It worked. See his TEDx presentation on this achievement and consider what may fit with your situation. Ask PAS to team with you on projects to improve morale and develop a positive workplace.

When tragedies like the one you describe strike the workplace, the immediate response is usually obvious - engaging first responders and immediate needs. Days later, supervisors wonder, "What's my role in helping everyone? What do I say? How do I act?" You will make a huge impact on employees with the simplest things: being more available, being empathetic, engaging PAS, modeling your own need to process and share feelings, being a good communicator, making it easier for others to spend time discussing or processing their reactions, finding ways to lighten the load, and being flexible with work demands. You will be surprised how employees will thank you later. You may think to yourself, "Wow, I didn't do much." But in fact, you really did all that was needed. Supervisors represent the organization, and tragic events are always remembered in terms of how "the organization responded." That's you.

After many years of engaging in a toxic relationship, a codependent partner of an alcoholic or addict may desire to exit the relationship in the hope that professionals will manage the crisis. All addiction treatment professionals are familiar with this dynamic. Typically, they evaluate and, if possible, encourage postponement of dramatic changes. Contact the PAS, share the information you have regarding this situation, and allow the PAS to work with the treatment program and your employee to ensure the best outcome. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) become relevant when your discussion centers on the existence of a medical problem. If your employee has not stated he or she is depressed or suffers with a condition that needs some sort of help to overcome, then it is better to focus just on the performance-related matters. You’re right; most people know a few or more symptoms of depression, but missing work, coming in late, staring off in a daze, or not engaging with fellow workers effectively enough to manage the work does not necessarily mean major depression. What’s more, these behaviors do not demonstrate that you know or should have known the worker is depressed. Acting as if the worker is depressed would also be relevant to employment laws. The behaviors listed above alone are enough for a supervisor referral. At PAS, the issue of depression or some other condition with similar symptoms will be explored.

Some of the most valuable ways PAS can help supervisors includes: engaging employees, determining how to inspire workers, identifying resources, acting as a sounding board, improving communication orally and in writing, handling stress, improving your relationship with upper managers, helping resolve personal problems, and offering suggestions for  observing, documenting, confronting, and following up with employees after an PAS referral. If you are interested in learning more, contact PAS at 919-416-1PAS (919-416-1727).