Monday, December 28, 2009

How Do you go from Super Work to Supervisor?

How Do You Go from 'Super Worker' to Supervisor?

The function and role of a supervisor is critically important to an organization. But what is a startling fact is that most supervisors are promoted from within, with little or no training. They go from being a 'super worker' on Friday to a supervisor on Monday.

They get promoted because of their knowledge, skills, and sometimes because they are just a nice person. Now certainly those are important qualities as a worker and you wouldn't want to promote someone that didn't have these qualities. (Why would you promote someone that just isn't a nice person, are not dependable, and unable to do their job?) But the qualities that made them a 'super worker' are not necessarily the same qualities they need to be a supervisor. In fact, surveys have shown that only 15% of the reason people get a job, keep it, and move ahead is due to your technical skills and knowledge.

What about the other 85%? Studies have proven that the other 85% of the reasons you get a job, keep it, and move ahead is due to your people skills and people knowledge. You must be able to get others to do what you used to do so well.
But where do you get these people skills? Often this is what gets overlooked. It's usually by trial and error. (And we all know what happens when we do that.)
It is vitally important to develop these "people" skills ASAP!

Use this list below to evaluate yourself and to create a plan of action to become the best supervisor in your company.

Successful Supervisor Traits:

1) Ability to motivate others in a positive way to get results
2) Self starter and takes initiative to do what needs to be done
3) Communicates well with the management team, colleagues, subordinates, and other supervisors
4) Has great organizational skills and planning capabilities
5) Possesses good decision making skills
6) Able to adjust to change
7) Have good goal setting and achievement skills
8) Have a great attitude

In addition, you must think in terms of excellence, profitability, return on investment, and effectiveness.

Successful Supervisor Traits Evaluation and Action Plan

Evaluate each supervisor trait below by asking yourself the question. Decide if the trait is a strength or a weakness. Upon completion of the exercise, develop action steps to improve on the weaknesses you identified.

1. Do I motivate others in a positive way to achieve the desired results?
2. Am I a self starter and do I have initiative?
3. Do I communicate well with others?
4. Am I organized and do I plan well?
5. Do I have good decision making skills?
6. Do I resist change or embrace change?
7. Do I set and achieve goals?
8. Do I have a great attitude?

Your action plan should state specific steps towards improving on those traits you feel are not as strong as you would like. Concentrate on your weaknesses, but be sure to review your strengths to determine if there is more you can do to reinforce your strong traits. ~ Copyright ©2009, Gary Sorrell, Sorrell Associates, LLC

Ann Rosser is a business coach, success facilitator and certified mediator by the Supreme Court of Virginia. Her firm, Finding Resolution works with successful individuals and organizations to take them to the next level through measurable return on investment, producing a better bottom line and increasing productivity and efficiency.

Please contact Ann today or visit her website at

Finding Resolution, LLC
Ann W. Rosser, CEO
Phone: (703) 536-6915

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Cost of Overexposure

I realize that anyone looking for a job right now is doing everything they can to secure one. Do you know that agencies are doing the same thing. With firms trying to save money and agencies trying to get the few remaining jobs out there the market is saturated with ads. The problem is, if you send your resume to every ad then you are 100% sure to crossover with firms and other agencies. There is nothing more frustating then to take the time to screen, test and meet a candidate only to find out when you present them to a client they have been presented by three other sources and many times the poor candidate has no clue.

Protect yourself by only registering or sending your resume to no more than 2 agencies to start and ask the firms to tell you where you are being sent. Provide the agency with a list of firms you have spoken to, sent a resume to or interviewed with. It saves time and the embarassment of overexposure. Instead of answering a blind ad, send a short email asking to be called or to find out if they are an agency or a firm. If they do not respond then don't send it.

At Steffan & Co., we treat you with respect and confidentiality and make you our priority and partner in placement.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Finally, the market has turned!

After ten months of steadily declining numbers of both job orders and clients in need of employees, we at Steffan & Co. are happy to report that July marked the end of the recession and the beginning of the recovery. May and June were flat months as far as growth, but July has brought 11 of our old and dear clients back to us looking for their first new hires on 2009. And we have has an abundance of new clients calling us looking for new placements as well.

We are happy to be working with some of the area’s most stable and growing businesses. But even with the economy finally taking a turn for the better, it is just as difficult as ever to find the perfect candidate who is needed to help a business grow and succeed. This is a fact that agencies are happy to hear, for this means that they are still a necessity.

We are noticing salaries are a bit lower and job orders are more specific. Many firms are looking for more entry to mid-level candidates because they have the time to train them and the workload is lighter, for now. Firms are still looking for people with great tenure, who are currently employed or recently laid off. As always, great skills, clean backgrounds and strong references are plusses that will not be ignored. Most importantly, employers are looking for dead-on skill sets and years of relevant experience. Unlike in 2007 when a waiter could be hired as a paralegal and trained from the ground up because the market required it to be done, in 2009, firms want it all, and frankly, they have that luxury right now.

One more trend we have seen is that clients are looking for bargains, deals, lower fees, and longer warranties. Here, at Steffan & Co. they are getting what they want. As one of our service manager’s jokingly said to one firm who asked for the moon,
“I’ll give you the moon today but please remember this when I ask for it in a year.”
So enjoy our August special and even if you are not looking to hire today, call and introduce yourself and your firm, and get to know us. For you will need us in the future as we need you today (and forever).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

You can't fix dumb

A phrase my Mother would use often with reference to people and their decisions.

Yesterday brought Washington, DC its first major snow event of the season. Those who are not familiar with the DC snow mentality find it hysterical and baffling. First, the meteorologist makes a comment about the possibility of snow and the town is on alert and talking about nothing but the weather. Second, the snow event is moved to a warning and there will be accumulations. The town hits the stores for toilet paper, milk/alcohol and canned food, because if we are hit with the “big one” the stores on every corner will be closed for months. Third, it starts to snow and employees start the ritual calling of the company’s weather line hoping to hear the news “we’re closed”. They wait for school closings and pray the federal Government closes because if they do, it is an automatic closing for their company. Fourth, employees get up at 5:00 am to look out and see hopefully see 12” of snow. Then they turn on the TV to find only certain schools close and only a 2 hour delay. DARN!!

What do you do now? Well, yesterday many DC area employees decided to take a vacation day, some called in and others just “forgot” due to the horrible roads and conditions at 8:00 am. Many administrators, office managers and coordinators showed up yesterday to find 80% of their staff missing. By 10:00 am all main roads were clear, the sun was out, the sidewalks were shoveled and all public transportation was on time. So the 2 hour delay was perfect to allow employees to arrive by 11:00 am safely as all employers expected. But what happened?

Employees stayed home, went sledding with their kids, went out shopping and ran errands. By 11:30 am yesterday I had many angry and frustrated employers on the phone venting and asking for temps. It is great for us, but very BAD for you employees. Why? You ask, let me tell you. There is no excuse for you not to be at work unless you are stranded out in the country with a dead battery and no phone. You should have a backup plan in place if your children’s schools are closed that does not inconvenience an employer. You should have been able to shovel your car out with the delayed start to drive slower and after to get to work. You had time to catch a bus and take Metro to work; there was no excuse for an employee without children to not be at work except you wanted a day off.

DUMB! You are crazy? Well, many employees were and it will cost them in the long run. Managers will remember who took advantage of the situation and showed no loyalty. When it comes to the next round of layoffs or if a promotion is between 2 staff members and one took yesterday off. The other will get the promotion. I heard story after story yesterday about the behavior of employees. My favorite was the employee who didn’t call in and when the manager called their home, they got the answering machine and chose not to leave a message. About 10 minutes later, the employee emailed the manager with this in the subject line: You called? What do you need? Needless to say the manager forwarded it to the HR department and let them handle it. I think that employee is wishing they had gone to work yesterday.

On the bright side, all those dedicated, hard working and loyal employees that showed up for work yesterday and pitched in to pick up the workload became Rock Stars and moved to the employee of the month in owners, partners, and managers’ eyes. These will be the people who are safe from RIFs, get better raises and bonuses and promote faster in a firm. It is amazing how one single event can affect people so differently.

This is the appropriate response to snow or any other event. You go to work unless the Federal Government is closed but always call in and leave a message, check with your manager to see if you can work from home but don’t just, not call into work. Managers do worry about their staff. The night before you make sure you have a plan for your children if school is closed, gas up your car, make sure buses are running on schedule, get your shovel and snow scraper out to use and lay out warm clothes, boots and gloves. In the morning you check the roads, listen to the TV and call any weather lines to tell you what is going on. If your firm is 2 hours late then you get out and shovel, dress warmly and head to work. If you truly cannot get out of your home after all that work, then you call your manager, explain the situation and say that you will try it again in an hour, but you can never, just not show up. The effort will be recognized and appreciated.

Today an offer came out on a candidate who braved the weather to make a 10 am second interview yesterday while her two competitors canceled. She was a strong second but they all wanted another candidate who had more experience. After meeting her again and talking after she left, they felt that if she could come in during the weather that she was more interested in the firm and would go above and beyond in the position. They never rescheduled the other two. The other two are still unemployed.

You can't fix dumb.

Friday, February 6, 2009

STOP! Watching the news or reading the paper...

Unless, you are watching or reading something positive, creative and uplifting. Sadly, the media today looks for the worst rather than the best in a situation. We believe the media is feeding the downward spiral of our economy for ratings. Yes, things are bad but not as hopeless as the media would like you to believe.

The best example of this is a report that came out the other day that stated Macy's was hit hard by laying off 7,000 people. OH NO!!! What they did not tell you was the layoffs were mostly season and part-time employees. Macy's has close to 906 stores and that means an average of 7 employees per store were laid off. Many stores have 100-200 employees which would mean they lost 3.5-7% of their staff. An elevated number, not out of the ordinary for any retainer after the holiday season. Bad weather and post holiday bills can also cause a huge decrease in revenue.

The Washington, DC area still has one of the strongest economies in the country and we have seen a 700% growth in new client orders in the last week which we are thrilled to report. Now that the new administration is in, winter is winding down and layoffs are slowing things should settle down and start growing again in a few months. You have to remain upbeat and forward thinking to survive this economy.

We all will and are better for it.