Firing-Discipline Interview

For this week’s interview about firing-discipling, I talked with Kyle Wright, who is the owner of a lawn care company, CutWright Lawn Care.  This was an interesting interview, because it was for a smaller business. It was interesting to learn of some of his experiences with firing or disciplining problem employees.  Here is the list of interview questions:

  1. What is your process of steps to take before firing an employee?
  2. Who else is involved during the firing process? 
  3. How many steps are involved from first offense to dismissal?
  4. What does your disciplinary plan usually look like?
  5. Do you collect anything from the employee before termination?
  6. Do you offer warnings before disciplinary action or dismissal is taken?
  7. If disciplining or firing someone goes wrong, or the employee responds inappropriately, how would you handle that?
  8. Do you give the employee an opportunity to “defend themselves”? Do you offer second chances based on what they say?
  9. After firing an employee, how do your other employees typically respond?
  10. After disciplinary action is taken or someone is fired, how do you motivate your other employees? How do you keep your other employees accountable?

The main thing I realized, is that there is a more laid back vibe with this business.  It is a small business that started out just with family members running it.  It has grown since this, but still is small.  He spoke a lot of one specific employee who needed disciplining.  It was difficult because this particular employee was his best worker in regards to his performance, experience, and relationships with clients.  The employee’s downfall was getting to work on time.  Kyle really didn’t want to lose him as an employee but knew he needed to take disciplinary action and go from there.  He had already given him multiple warnings (more than one verbal). Eventually he had to suspend the employee.  Suspension finally helped the employee learn the seriousness of being on time to work.  Kyle has yet gotten to the point of needing to fire an employee.

 After the interview, I took away the idea that there are many different leadership styles, and these styles reflect in how they choose to discipline problem employees.  I am sure there would be other businesses that wouldn’t have tolerated Kyle’s employee’s tardiness as long as Kyle did.  However, it worked out for Kyle because he said he didn’t lose his best performance employee and eventually taught him his lesson and had him show up on time after suspension.  

I hope when I am in a leadership position, I will be able to find a good balance of not being too laid back but definitely not too strict.  I think balance will pay off when it comes to the successful running of an organization.

Ethics in Nursing Leadership

I really enjoy the topic of ethics.  It was interesting to review different ethical issues in nursing and understand what should take place to present something to the ethics committee.  Before this lecture, I didn’t know much about ethics committees.  I learned how important an ethics committee is!  It seems they are under-utilized, too.  

The group discussions were beneficial in helping support my opinions with ethical dilemmas.  My team all had the same opinion on the ethical situations discussed from the very beginning.  However, I am positive this isn’t always the case on an ethics committee. I wonder how it would be to have opposing, strong opinions within the same committee.  I imagine there are times it is extremely difficult to come to a consensus, especially with such crucial scenarios such as life vs death.

After learning about ethic committees and understanding that floor nurses can suggest certain situations go to the committee, I hope to imply this more into my practice.  For example, as a hospice nurse, ethical dilemmas arise often (as they do in all nursing specialties).  I have had experiences where families ask about scheduling morphine, lorazepam, and haldol before the patient is actively dying.  Or, the polar opposite occurs and patients want to force feed an actively dying patient.  It is some times difficult because when I am in the patient’s home, it is only me.  My team isn’t just down the hallway.  I hope to utilize this information and avoid feeling like I need to make decisions all on my own; rather, be sure to make calls, postpone intervention and inform the family that discussion in the health team, or ethics committee, needs to occur prior to further action. 

Performance Appraisal Interview

This week we were asked to interview someone in a leadership position who is responsible for performance appraisals for their employees. I chose to interview Larry Wright.  He recently retired from US Synthetic.  He was the administrator for the Safety Inspections team.  The following is a list of the questions I asked him:

  1. What criteria scale do you use for performance appraisals?
  2. How long do your evaluations typically last?
  3. Do you include peer evaluations? Why or why not?
  4. How frequently do you hold performance appraisals?
  5. How do your performance appraisals tie into determining salary raises for your employees?
  6. Do you provide an opportunity for employees to express concerns about their performance or growth prior to beginning a formal evaluation?
  7. Do you feel like your current protocol for performance appraisals have lead to stronger relationships between you and your employees?
  8. How do you organize your performance appraisals with so many employees?
  9. What are some positive outcomes you see from conducting performance appraisals?
  10. Are there any negative outcomes you see from conducting performance appraisals?
  11. What role does goal setting and accomplishment play when it comes to evaluating your employees’ performance?
  12. How do you handle underperforming or problematic employees?

I really enjoyed hearing Larry’s responses to these questions.  There were a few points he made that I found particularly interesting and feel I will apply to my possible future leadership positions.  One of the topics that Larry really focused on was his attempts he makes to have the evaluations be a dialogue between him and his employee.  He said he feels it is very important for his employees to feel they can communicate openly with him.  He typically will give them several different opportunities to comment or ask questions during the evaluation.  He said this helps build trust and encourages his employees to understand their scores and have a desire to improve.

I also liked his response to how he handles underperforming employees.  He said that because he creates a relationship with his employees, it helps him address the underperformance without offending.  I hope that if I am in a leadership position, I will be able to address underperformance in a professional manner and successfully encourage employees to seek toward improvement. 

 

Performance Appraisals/Problem Employees

I actually learned a lot from this unit.  I’ve never taken the time to contemplate performance appraisals from a leader’s point of view.  I realize the importance of consistency.  Also, I like how we learned the importance of explaining the criteria scale.  It’s true, we as nurses are accustomed  to feeling we have to get an A or else we have failed.  It would help me feel better for my nursing leader to explain the criteria scale before telling me what my score is.  

The team activity this week was to come up with questions to ask a leader who does performance appraisals.  All of us contributed a few questions and all liked the sum of questions. It helps to come up with these questions as a team to really think of different angles than just what I would have come up with.

This class has really helped me look toward the future.  I am sure there will be job positions in the future where I am in a leadership role and perhaps the one doing performance appraisals for the employees.  I have found that this information sticks better when I picture myself in a leadership position.  If/When I am ever responsible for performance appraisals, I will be sure to be consistent, explain the grading scale, and establish connections with my employees. 

Also, if I ever have to confront a problem employee, I will be sure to have someone else (like HR personnel) in the room as well. That way there is a second witness as to the conversation had between me and the employee.  

I hope I will remember these tips for the future.  However, as of right now, I will be sure to remember how I can be of use with peer evaluations and also be more receptive to my performance appraisals and ask for clarification with the criteria scale!

Team Work is Crucial!

I enjoyed the team collaboration activity this week.  It taught me a lot about a team and what it means to be a helpful participant in a team.  There were situations where I my opinion on something was different than those of my teammates.  I realized the emotions that can provoke when I am the only one thinking certain way.  I also realized the importance of being open-minded and hearing others’ opinions.  As I consider my profession as a nurse, it is obvious that team work is crucial!

Respect was noted in my team, and I think this goes a long way.  We were respectful of others’ opinions and had a desire to understand why they held that particular opinion.  As a team in the nursing professional, this is equally as important.  I relate it to my interdisciplinary team right now.  I actually love my team and think we are very effective.  The effectiveness comes from traits such as respect, willingness to collaborate, being willing to lead and also follow, and all having the same goal in mind.  

The collaboration activity helped me realize how important team work is- it is crucial!

Hiring Interview

This week I used the list of questions my team and I came up with to actually interview a leader responsible for hiring employees.  I chose to interview my mother-in-law, Kathy Linebaugh, who is the owner of her family’s restaurant, Taco Amigo, located in Orem, Utah.   Here is a list of the questions I asked her in the interview:

  1. What is your process for selecting individuals to interview?
  2. What are important things you look for on a resume?
  3. How carefully do you review a resume before interviewing a candidate?
  4. What are you looking for when you reach out to the interviewee’s references?
  5. Do you ask potential coworkers, HR, or other leadership to be in the interview with you?
  6. Do you usually have a pretty good idea about whether or not you would like to hire an individual as soon as the interview is over?
  7. Do you appreciate it when individuals follow up with you after an interview?
  8. How long do your interviews last?
  9. Are there any major red flags you keep an eye out for during an interview?
  10. How important is it to you that the interviewee ask you questions? What kind of questions do you hope they ask?
  11. What qualities and skills do you look for in every interviewee?
  12. What impresses you most about a potential employee?

I think one of the main things I took away from the interview was how different leaders can be in their process of doing things, such as hiring.  This particular leader doesn’t have an extensive process for selecting individuals to interview.  In fact, she said depending on how badly she is in need of help, she may choose to interview any application she gets.  I found this interesting.  However, at the same time it may seem more understandable considering the limited criteria needed to be qualified to work in a restaurant.  Another thing that stuck out to me was that she does, indeed, appreciate when individuals follow up with her after interviews.  She told me it shows her a sense of commitment form the individual.  Which, I think is likely true in all workforces.

I think my biggest takeaway from this was that no matter what job you are interviewing for, it is probable that the more professional, interested, committed, and prepared with questions you are, the more attractive you appear as a candidate to hire.  Of course, healthcare professions require much more education, licensing, experience, etc. to be eligible for a job opening than does working in a restaurant; however, either way, an interview is an interview.  They are meant to be professional and to show off your skills and abilities.  Interviewing Kathy helped me realize this.  She takes a lot of seriousness in who she hires.  Though she may offer multiple interviews, doesn’t mean she just hires anyone and everyone.  It is a process.

I hope I can internalize what I’ve taken away from this learning activity.  It will help me with future positions for which I am being interviewed and also for possible future leadership positions where I am the one doing the hiring.  Leaders have many different styles, and performing this interview really helped me solidify my opinion of this.

 

WEEK 3- HIRING

Initially, I wasn’t that excited to learn about hiring.  I am not in a leadership position in which hiring is one of my responsibilities, so I figured, why learn about it?  However, as I started to listen to the lectures, I found the information interesting and pictured myself in a hiring position.  I also related a lot of it to my supervisor who is looking to hire a PRN nurse for our company right now.  Having this situation in mind helped me get more out of this unit.

I think the biggest thing I learned from this unit was the cost of turnover.  I never really took the time to consider the cost of losing an employee and hiring someone new.  Not only the financial cost, but also the experience, relationships, and time.  I also found it a nice refresher to review topics that you can and cannot ask about when interviewing someone.

It was also interesting to read my teammates’ opinions on which candidate they would hire in the scenario we were given.  My feelings didn’t really change after these activities, because most of us agreed on the same candidate from the get-go.  As far as the interview questions, I loved having my team’s help!  They all came up with great questions to ask someone who deals with hiring.  It will be interesting to actually conduct an interview with these questions!

The information I learned about hiring will help me in my nursing practice.  Of course, if I ever am in a hiring position, this lecture will be directly beneficial.  I can also utilize this information for my benefit whenever I am being interviewed for a position.  I can consider possible behavioral questions and be prepared how to answer them.  I will also always be prepared with any questions I might have.

Leadership–My Takeaway

There was a lot of helpful information in this unit!  I read about qualities of leadership, took a personality test to relate it to my type of leading, discussed historical leaders with my team, and watched Ender’s Game which demonstrated a lot about a good leader.  All of these assignments/activities were great and all, but, so what?  What did I actually takeaway from this unit?

For me, the great takeaway was the idea that leadership deals a lot with individual perception.  Let me explain.  Before starting the team activity where we discussed who we thought were past leaders, I listened to the lectures and completed the assignment on the 12 leadership characteristics. At this point, I felt I had a pretty good idea of what qualified someone as a leader.  Then I started participating in the team activity.

I quickly realized some of my teammates did not consider the same people as leaders as I did.  I wrote my list of leaders, and some of them disagreed.  I realized some of my teammates focused primarily on if the people actually lead a group of people right then and there in their time period.  Though I agree these people are leaders, I also think that those who had great influence for future generations should be considered leaders too.  Though it might have been after their time, they still influenced people to follow in their footsteps.  This is one example of how I concluded leadership deals a lot with perception.

Another example came from giving the DISC personality test more thought.  I turned out to be considered a Steady personality.  In the description of this personality, it mentioned how Steady personalities typically are very successful in supporting those in leadership positions and following them.  For me, this is true; however, typically only if I feel they are effective leaders.  I bet this is true for many.  If we think someone is a good leader, we will be more apt to following them and performing to the best of our abilities.What I am getting at is that it seems to all depend on one’s perception and personality. I, personally, do not respond well to autocratic leaders; however, some seem to thrive with this type of discipline and likely consider these leaders very effective.

So, if everyone views different traits as really making up an effective leader, then what does this mean for me in my nursing practice?

I feel like it all comes down to taking the time to connect with those I lead.  If I am able to understand personality traits of my team, then I will be able to better understand how they respond to different leadership styles.  Now, of course I do not think I can go around changing my leadership style with each team member; however, I do think that it is important for my style to be well-balanced with many different traits.  This way, I can emphasize particular traits to which one responds better.  If I can learn how my team perceives an effective leader, then I can go in the right direction of leading them to providing optimal patient care!

 

Characteristic of Leaders

Here are 12 Characteristics of Leaders and how nurses can demonstrate each! Number 1 was an example given by my instructor.  The rest will be my personal opinions of how nurses can demonstrate these characteristics.

1.       Leadership requires personal mastery – Nurses demonstrate leadership when they show competence and mastery in the tasks they perform. Nurses are deemed competent by means of a license to practice nursing (NLN 2010).

2.       Leadership is about values – Nurses show leadership when they lead by a set of good values.  By having things such as honesty, respect, and learning as values, a nurse can be viewed as an honorable and effective leader.

3.       Leadership is about service – A nurse can lead by serving others.  When serving others, others will want to serve in return and all will help each other reach a common goal.

4.       Leadership is about people and relationships – Nurses demonstrate leadership when they are able to form strong relationships with those they are above and those they are under in regards to positions.  Relationships are built by open communication, respect, and listening.

5.       Leadership is contextual – Nurses are contextual leaders when they are able to understand the context of their job position and be able to identify what is important for them to focus on when it comes to leading a group of people.  Different job positions will require different ways to go about leadership, and nurse will need to be contextual.

6.       Leadership is about the management of meaning – Nurses demonstrate leadership by being able to understand the meaning of their job position and acting accordingly.

7.       Leadership is about balance – Nurses can show leadership by balancing their workload and personal life.  A well-balanced life promotes a well-balanced leader. 

8.       Leadership is about continuous learning and improvement – Nurses demonstrate leadership by attending different conferences and sharing what they learn with other nurses, and then be able to apply what they learned to improve their abilities as a nurse.

9.       Leadership is about effective decision making – Nurses can demonstrate leadership by being able to prioritize and effectively deciding what needs to be done first on their to-do list.

10.   Leadership is a political process – Nurses show leadership when they are able to listen to others’ opinions and be open-minded.  Nurses lead by respecting the political process of sharing ideas and connecting with those they lead.

11.   Leadership is about modeling – Nurses show leadership when they set a good example and always dress within the boundaries of the dress code and use appropriate language for professional settings.

12.   Leadership is about integrity – Nurses demonstrate leadership when they show integrity when documenting their hours.

DISC Personality Test

One of our assignments this week was to take the DISC personality test.  After taking the test, the results concluded that I have a Steady personality.  The following is a quote taken from the description of a Steady personality.  “Steady individuals generally thrive supporting a D(dominant) leader and doing the work behind the scenes. These people are loyal, have good self-control, often good listeners and tend to want to avoid disagreements and conflicts” (Results for the DISC, 2019, paragraph 10).  I would have to say my results did not come to a surprise to me, for the most part.  I feel like I can relate with this quote about Steady individuals.  I do thrive by supporting my leaders and being loyal in doing the work they have asked of me.  I also avoid disagreements and am a good listener.  So no, I was not surprised with the results. However, I feel there is more to my personality, and actually, the DISC results supported my feelings.  Let me explain.  The amount of tallies in each column were all very close.  D-4, I-3, S-5, and C-3.  I like to think it can be difficult to place me in just one of these types of personalities, because I also am quite determined, focused, goal-driven, and independent, which are attributes of a Dominant personality.

So what?  What does this have to do with this leadership class?  How will I relate this to my leadership style?

I want to be sure to apply my personality traits in the best way to improve my leadership style. As mentioned before, Steady individuals tend to be good listeners, loyal, and very supportive of their leaders.  When I am in leadership roles, I hope I will be able to flip this slightly, and not only be able to be a good listener, loyal and supportive of those above me, but also to those who I am in charge of leading.  My leadership style will include being loyal to those I lead, listen to their ideas, and be supportive.  

 

Reference

Results for the DISC Personality Test. (2019). Retrieved from https://uvu.instructure.com/courses/486392/pages/results-for-the-disc-personality-test

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