Appendix One: SSI’s Management Guidelines
Social Services, Inc. (SSI) has Management Guidelines its Managers follow. Equally importantly, all SSI staff members are given copies of the Guidelines. This enables them to know what they can expect in their interactions with SSI Managers. We have discussed most of the information included here elsewhere in this book. I am including the Guidelines here so they are available in this summary form and to make it more convenient to quickly refer to them.
The central goals of SSI’s Management are:
- To understand and further SSI’s mission as adopted by SSI’s Board.
- To understand and implement the policies of SSI’s Board.
- To define and maintain a rational, flexible Organizational Structure within which SSI staff members function with a minimum of Management interference.
- To provide clear, consistent Direction for SSI staff members, assuring they know and understand what is expected of them, what behavior and actions are acceptable and which are unacceptable.
- To maximize Personal Control for each staff member over his (or her) SSI-related environment and activities.
As SSI Managers work with each other and with other staff members, priority is given to:
- Cooperation – Emphasizing a helpful, supportive approach to relationships and activities.
- Loyalty – Emphasizing working with staff members by accommodating to special needs and interests and by facilitating resolution of problems.
- Caring – Emphasizing concern for and interest in the activities, successes, and problems of staff members.
- Sharing – Emphasizing talking with staff members, reciprocal assistance, and mutual problem solving.
- Respect – Emphasizing acceptance of staff members’ beliefs and values, receptivity to their thoughts and ideas, and sensitivity to their feelings and interests.
- Trust – Emphasizing giving staff members the benefit of the doubt without blaming, accusing, or threatening.
- Integrity – Emphasizing keeping commitments to and agreements made with staff members.
- Conflict Resolution – Emphasizing identifying, understanding, and working through conflicts and tensions among and between staff members.
Management Approaches and Behavior:
SSI Managers follow the guiding principles and emphasize the management priorities shown above in all of their SSI management practices. Within these principles and priorities, management practice within SSI focuses in twelve areas as shown below. Under each area are the knowledge, approaches, behavior, and management techniques expected of SSI Management staff members.
A. Supporting and furthering SSI’s mission
· Understanding and valuing SSI’s mission.
· Valuing SSI’s staff members and activities.
· Seeing SSI’s goals as personal action steps.
· Being responsive to the needs and interests of SSI’s stakeholders.
B. Participating on the Management team
· Understanding their roles with others, where and how they fit-in.
· Working within the scope of their responsibilities and authority.
· Following SSI’s policies and procedures.
· Seeing how their duties or responsibilities relate to other areas of SSI.
· Understanding SSI’s budget, financial reports, and other management data.
· Respecting the confidentiality of Management discussions and problem solving activities.
· Supporting Management when they or other staff members are unhappy with policies and decisions.
· Not passing their frustrations and negative opinions along to others.
C. Bringing leadership to their levels within SSI
· Bringing the same energy and commitment to the job when things are not going well as when they are.
· Accurately understanding and valuing their skills and limitations.
· Being well-organized and prepared when handling any job.
· Handling tasks in a timely manner.
· Taking personal responsibility when they see something needs done and no one is doing it.
· Pitching in and working a little harder, doing a little more when necessary.
· Investing most of their time and energy in getting the job done.
· Focusing primarily on what is working, on what is going well.
· Focusing their and others’ attention and energy on how to get ideas to work and away from why they will not work.
D. Receiving input
· Not holding themselves out as the standard for how other staff members should think, feel, and behave.
· Assuming staff members believe what they say and do not intentionally misrepresent anything.
· Understanding staff members seldom complain when there is not a real problem.
· Staying open to the ideas and suggestions of all staff members.
· Seeing and understanding problems and ideas from other staff members’ points of view.
E. Defining tasks and assignments
· Making sure a job needs done and is worth doing before having anyone do it.
· Making sure a job can be done before holding staff members accountable for it.
· Providing clear structure and direction for staff members.
· Helping staff members understand how their responsibilities fit in with SSI’s goals and expectations.
· Building on staff members’ abilities and strengths instead of focusing on their limitations or weaknesses.
· Giving staff members reasons or explanations when requested.
F. Delegating responsibilities
· Clearly defining and communicating their goals and motivations.
· Being clear about what they want or expect from staff members.
· Being sure staff members know why tasks need done, why they are important.
· Making sure staff members know how to do what is expected before holding them accountable.
· Retaining general accountability when delegating tasks and activities.
· Not delegating responsibilities requiring their direct action.
· Not delegating a task and then trying to manage it.
· Delegating both operating responsibility and functional authority.
· Delegating as much responsibility and authority as necessary to get the job done.
G. Coordinating resources
· Being familiar with and knowing how to use outside resources to benefit SSI and its stakeholders.
· Being familiar with and using all SSI resources.
· Understanding and appropriately using informal procedures and processes within SSI.
· Being familiar with and accessing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of staff members.
· Making sure work and responsibilities are distributed fairly.
· Distributing work and responsibilities based on staff members’ strengths and preferred areas and away from less strong areas.
· Not taking advantage of staff members who cannot refuse.
· Not taking advantage of staff members who are especially good-natured or cooperative.
H. Supporting staff members
· Not holding themselves out as necessarily the best judges of how the SSI environment is for staff members.
· Advocating for the needs and interests of staff members within the context of the needs and interests of SSI.
· Trusting staff members to act in the best interest of SSI and its stakeholders.
· Giving staff members as much personal control as possible over their SSI environments.
· Giving credit where and when credit is due.
· Being sensitive to the motivations and interests of staff members.
· Being sensitive to the feelings and opinions of staff members.
· Valuing the varying styles and personalities of staff members.
· Being patient and tolerant with staff members.
I. Problem solving
· Anticipating problems and opportunities.
· Dealing with problems and conflicts as soon as they become aware of them.
· Being slow to confront or argue.
· Fitting the intensity of their responses to the seriousness or importance of the problem or incident.
· Being assertive but tactful.
· Asking staff members to help solve SSI-related problems instead of simply trying to get them to accept Management’s solutions.
· Dealing more with the problem and less with the people when staff members are upset or unhappy with each other.
· Being flexible and willing to compromise.
· Not dealing with staff members in win-lose terms.
· Accepting shared responsibility for assuring staff members get their interests met.
J. Decision making
· Remembering and owning what they have said, agreed to, and what they have done.
· Working to minimize any use of power and control and to increase their influence.
· Seeing each of their decisions as an opportunity to improve outcomes for clients or staff members.
· Trying to understand the what and why of problems before taking action.
· Evaluating the costs and benefits of actions before taking them.
· Making difficult or unpopular decisions and being accountable for them when they believe the decisions are necessary.
· Being prepared to handle staff members’ being upset or unhappy with them at times.
K. Monitoring activities
· Understanding there are ordinarily several ways to get the job done and usually not a best way.
· Attending to details without getting bogged down in them.
· Understanding the 80% rule: not until 80% of staff members are doing a task correctly 80% of the time should they expect 100%.
· Giving staff members clear, frequent, and accurate feedback.
· Spending as much time telling staff members what they are doing right as what they are doing wrong.
· Assuming staff members are trying to do well, are trying to succeed.
· Assuming staff members do not know how, do not think it matters, or are being prevented from succeeding, if they are not being successful.
· Teaching staff members to work more effectively instead of pressuring them to work harder.
L. Corrective action with staff members
· Being quick to praise and slow to criticize.
· Holding staff members responsible only for what they can do and can control.
· Handling it as a training problem when staff members cannot do what is expected.
· Handling it as an attitude problem when staff members will not do what is expected, being sure not to confuse will not and cannot.
· Seeing attitude problems as management opportunities and intransigent attitude problems as Management failures.
· Complimenting publicly, criticizing privately.
· Making sure staff members knew what behavior was expected, knew how to do what was expected, could have done what was expected, and actually did not behave reasonably and responsibly, before recommending or taking corrective action.
· Keeping it short, limited to their immediate point, and ending by affirming the staff member’s value and abilities, whenever taking corrective action.