GETTING TO KNOW YOUR EMPLOYEES

                                 SELLING SAFETY

Think of three men that you have known during your life and that you admire most.

These men may be from all walks of life, business, politics, military, sports, education,

Now stop and think. What did they have in common?

Each of the men most likely had a deep knowledge of their chosen profession.

They had the ability to communicate their ideas to others in an effective manner.

Each of them most likely had what is known as CHARISMA.

They all most likely had the ability to communicate their ideas effectively to others.

If you take the time, you will most likely discover many qualities that these men had in
common, but sustaining all their virtues would be one skill in particular; that being,
their extraordinary ability to persuade others to see things their way and to win the
cooperation of those they supervise.

The men who get things done, by themselves and through others, are almost always
master salesmen.

                              YOU ARE ALL SALESMEN

You are all salesmen. We all know that SAFETY can use some salesmanship.

Those of you who are married or have been married consider what you really did
when you proposed to your wife. Didn’t you do everything in your power to sell
yourself to her? Didn’t you promise to do everything possible to make her happy?
You took extra pains to package yourself as attractive and positive as possible.
Didn’t you?     You even went out of your way to make your competition look
unappealing by comparison to you. Didn’t you?

Do you remember how you got your first job? Again, you were the product you were
selling and odds are that you “sold” yourself by emphasizing the benefits your future
employer would realize if he “bought” what you were selling. You were hopefully
selling yourself as a willing worker, reliable, trustworthy and skilled.

                                         Page 1

When you wanted your son or daughter to do their homework, what was your
approach? Most likely, you explained how important a good education was in the
world as you knew it at the time.

Are you a salesman?              YOU BET YOU ARE!


Do you remember when you bought your first car? You most likely had a very clear
idea of what you wanted – four doors, radio, heater, that would provide comfortable
and long lasting transportation for you and your family.

Do you remember the salesman? Was he a TRUE salesman? If he was you most
likely ended up with much more of a deal than you bargained for.

If the salesman was on the ball – and all the good salesmen are – he got to know a
little about you: He found out how large of a family you have or were planning on
having, he found out how much driving you do on a daily basis, he found out where
you went on vacations, he found out if you were a two car family and so on. His
approach to salesmanship probably went something like:

“You say you want a four door sedan? Oh yes, it would be your best bet for all
around performance.”

You listened ever so complacent.

“You say your wife will be using it, too?          She will want an automatic
transmission, of course.”

You could not deny that he was right ---- again.

“She will need power steering, you wouldn’t expect her to park a machine that
weighs 3,000 or more pounds without a little help would you?”

You agreed.

The salesman continues, “With those frisky youngsters of yours, the automatic
lock is necessary for the overall safety of the children.”

You agree.


The salesman went on and on and you could not find anything that you could
legitimately take issue with.

Before the day was over, you bought a four-door sedan but it was far from the car you
originally had in mind.

And you know something? You were glad you listened to him!

How did he do it? How did a total stranger manage to talk you into buying more
features than you originally wanted when you entered the showroom?

His success was simple:

He took the trouble to get acquainted with you and your unique needs. Then and only
then was he able to tailor his sales presentation to fit your needs. You could not
disagree with a person who knew what was good for you.

That is the secret of being a successful salesman – get to know your “prospect”, then
design your presentation to his/her specific needs or desires.

                       THE SUPERVISOR AS A SALESMAN

As a manager of men, you are a highly specialized salesman.

You sell safety, punctuality, loyalty to the cooperative, a sense of responsibility,
quality of work, cooperation with others, adherence to specifications, recognition of
potential hazards and many other things to the employees who work under your
direction. These employees are your PROSPECTS.

As does the automobile salesman, the SUPERVISOR/SALESMAN – must get to
know your employee-prospects as individuals, each of whom has individual unique
ambitions, hopes, fears, dreams and needs. Just as any effective salesman searches
for his prospect’s “hot button” in order to aim his presentation most effectively, so
must you discover how the individual employee ticks and what motivates him.

                                       Page 3

                          WHAT MAKES PEOPLE TICK?

Before you consider subordinates as an employee, you should explore them as

The fact that the subordinate is a human being is a major clue. Each and every one
of us is subject to hierarchy of needs and desires. We all have the biological urges
that drive us -- hunger, thirst, sex, avoidance of pain – the most common
psychological denominators are:

      1.     The desire for recognition. Nobody likes to think of himself as a
             faceless member of a group. Each and every one of us craves
             recognition of our individuality by those whose esteem we value –
             parents, neighbors, fellow workers, superiors. We like to think of
             ourselves as unique, unlike anyone who has ever existed in the past or
             will ever exist in the future – as indeed we are.

      2.     The desire to excel.       Some say that it goes back to our cave
             dwelling ancestors, who had to beat off the other caveman in order to
             survive, or some perverse urge in human nature to outperform others in
             order to prove our own worth to ourselves, the wish to do at least one
             thing better than most other people is a strong human trait.

      3.     The desire for status.       External or symbolic proof of individual worth
             is akin to the other desires but somewhat different. This may take as
             many as a hundred forms – a big house, a fancy/flashy car or truck, an
             important sounding title, membership in an exclusive club. Whether or
             not we are willing to admit it, all of us are victims of this passion for
             grown-up toys. We all need tangible proof of our achievements and
             our position in life, whatever they may be.

             The strength of these basic desires is not equal in all people. Some
             have a stronger desire to succeed and less of a need for status.
             Others have less of an urge to excel, but a strong need for recognition.
             You will not be wrong if you assume that your subordinates are driven to
             some degrees by these desires.

             Cater to your subordinates when possible and you will be on your way
             toward making the “sale”.


                       THEY ARE NOT SO DIFFERENT FROM YOU

Your employees are motivated by many of the same considerations that you are.
Getting them to cooperate takes skill and patience on your part. It also requires
giving them what you yourself desire.

As example, do you appreciate praise and recognition of achievements? If so, why
not give it? Do you like to get credit for your ideas? If one of your subordinates
comes up with a good one – even, if it’s not completely worked out – give the person
credit for it. You will be on the way by enlisting his strong cooperation.

Most of you like clean-cut work assignments. You like to know exactly what you are
expected to do, why not delegate work in the same clear manner.

You like to understand the “why” of what you are doing. If so, you can safely assume
that it would boost a subordinate’s interest and his will to cooperate if you explained
the purpose of his part of the job and where it fits into the overall picture.

We all like to have attractive and understanding listeners. When we have something
to say, we like our listeners to stand still and really listen to our suggestions or
complaints about the job. So do your employees.

We all like for management policies or procedures that direct our activities to be
consistent and well thought out. Nothing can be as demoralizing as poorly planned
policies that head in one direction today and shift tomorrow. Take at look at your
policies that affect your subordinates in this light.

Everyone resents being criticized in front of others. Constructive criticism is often
necessary, but in most cases it should be done in private.

Finally, we all like to work for someone you respect. It brings out the best in most of
us. A person likes to feel that his boss knows his job and is giving his best to it every

If your employees are like you, you can anticipate their desires and understand their
motives simply by asking yourself, “what would I want if I were in their shoes?”

                                         Page 5

                         WHAT EMPLOYEES WANT MOST

As a supervisor, you are in for a rude awakening if you believe you can intuitively
grasp the needs of your subordinates.

A study was conducted during 1985 by two psychology students at a small mid-
western university. These two students designed a questionnaire for employees and
then approached a number of industrial plants and utilities in the region. With the
permission of each company’s management each employee of the organization was
interviewed. The purpose of the study was to measure employee attitudes toward
various on-the-job morale issues.

Each employee was given a list of 10 items and asked to arrange them in what
he/she considered their proper order of importance. Their supervisors were given the
same list and invited to guess how their subordinates would answer.

In the appendix of the participant handout is a copy of the list of 10 items that was
provided to the employees. Here is your chance to take the same test yourself.
When you finish, you will have an opportunity to match your answers with those given
by the employees and supervisors of the companies who participated in the study.
How you reply will tell you a lot about yourself – how much sympathy you have for the
aspiration of others, your grasp of what motivates your workers and your opinion of
your fellow man. In short, you will find out what your Supervisory I.Q. is.

Let’s do this short study at this time and when you are finished with it you are free to
take a break. When the break is over, we will look at the study and see how you
compared to original participants in the study.

                            LIST OF STUDY QUESTIONS

      A.     Feeling “in” on things                           1) ___________
      B.     Full appreciation of work done                   2) ___________
      C.     Good wages                                       3) ___________
      D.     Good working conditions                          4) ___________
      E.     Interesting work                                 5) ___________
      F.     Job security                                     6) ___________
      G.     Personal loyalty to workers                      7) ___________
      H.     Promotion and growth in company                  8) ___________
      I      Sympathetic help on personal problems            9) ___________
      J.     Tactful disciplining                            10) __________

                      GETTING TO KNOW YOUR EMPLOYEES



The supervisors at these companies were dumbfounded!

They had worked with the men under them for anywhere from a few months to 35
years. They had talked with them, joked with them, even counted some of them
among their close personal friends. They presumed that they knew what their
subordinates wanted.

It is difficult to see how the supervisors could have been more mistaken.

How did you do when comparing yourself to this group? Does your list look like the
one made by the supervisors?

Did you make the mistake of assuming that workers respond most favorably to
material rewards, or did you correctly predict their distinct preference for psychic
income? Did you rate good wages as one or two or did you realize by intuition that, to
a worker, money is only of middling interest?

If you did well, great! You have a head start on most. If you called all or most of your
shots wrong, you can see how easy it is to think you know your employees when in
reality you do not.

 How the supervisors assumed the                    How the employees actually answered:
 Employees would answer:
  1)      C – Good wages                                 1)    B -- Full appreciation of work
  2)      F – Job security                                           done
  3)      H --Promotion and growth                       2)    A-- Feeling ―in‖ on things
               in company                                3)    I --Sympathetic help with
  4)      D -- Good working conditions                               personal problems.
  5)      E – Interesting work                           4)    F -- Job security
  6)      G --Personal loyalty to workers                5)    C – Good wages
  7)      J – Tactful disciplining                       6)    E – Interesting work
  8)      B – Full appreciation of work                  7)    H-- Promotion and growth in
  9)      I -- Sympathetic help on                                  Company
               personal problems                         8)    G-- Personal loyalty to worker
 10)      A—Feeling ―in‖ on things                       9)    D-- Good working conditions
                                                         10)   J – Tactful discipline

                                                Page 7

                                  THE SELF-IMAGE

It is important to bear in mind that the results of the employee poll reflect the average
of all the answers given, not any of the individual responses. It is obvious that every
single worker did not list the various items precisely in the order given. There are
variations in each reply.

Such variations are understandable. Every man – including those who work under
you – is an individual, with unique values, ambitions and goals. The sum total of those
values, ambitions and goals as well as many other things, like inherited,
characteristics and environmental influences are reflected in the picture himself that
every man carries in his own mind. This picture, which is frequently referred to as his
SELF-IMAGE, is a major clue to his psychological makeup.

One person may see himself as the epitome of all of the major virtues, a born leader
and better than most people.

 Another person may view himself as possessed of a keen analytical mind, unswayed
by emotional considerations. A third may carry around an image of himself as a great
innovator and idea man.

As a general rule, people tend to respond positively to those external forces that
affirm their own opinions of themselves and negatively to those external forces that
deny them their self image.

If you have employees are fall into these categories how you appeal to them is
important. To the first, your most effective appeal might be, “Everybody looks up to
you, Joe. If you made a point of wearing the hat the others would follow your

To the second, your approach might be that “These hats have reduced head
injuries more than 96 per cent wherever they’ve been used in our industry,
George. Don’t you agree that they’re worth using?”

The third employee would most likely respond to an approach like this: “You’re a
bright guy, Jim. I don’t have to draw pictures for you on the subject of safety.
These hats have been tested out and we want all you men to take advantage of
the latest safety equipment.”

What you have managed to do in each case is to put what you want done in terms of
each employee’s self-image. Childish? - Maybe. Immature? – Perhaps. But it


                              SUPERVISOR SLEUTHING

As a supervisor, you realize that you have to approach one of your employees
through his self image, how on earth can you determine how he views himself?

You find any of the information you need in his personnel file because that
information is only factual information of his past. Statistics are cold, inanimate things
and you are trying to determine and measure the human dimension of the employee.

You must try some other approach. It may take more time and effort than you wish to
spend, but is the only way to get to know your employee.

You must do some good, old-fashioned detective work. Here are some suggestions.

Talk to Him

You probably think that you already do this, but if you will take a few moments and
reflect upon it you will probably realize that most of your communication with a
subordinate takes place at the job level. You issue instructions, answer questions
and check on progress.

An employee’s motives and attitudes are heavily conditioned by their personal
situations, well beyond their operations, warehouse or administrative work. An
employee’s morale and performance can be more affected by how he got along with
his wife over the breakfast table than by how happy he is with his vacation schedule.

If you want to know your employees thoroughly you have to tactfully draw the
information out in conversation with them. This is easier to do on the personal level
through normal chit-chat, when a person’s guards are down we are most likely to
confide in friends than it is in a rigidly structured interview session.

This in no way implies that you must pry into your employee’s lives. There is a
distinct difference between taking an interest in people and pumping them for
personal information. Within the bounds of good taste and proper diplomacy, there
are areas that are still open to you:

         How he spends his leisure time.

The man who enjoys improving his home, keeping his lawn looking good and
puttering with his car is a different kind of person than the one who prefers to go
hunting or mountain climbing and camping on his time off. The first employee is
probably family-oriented, with a strong sense of responsibility – a man who takes

                                         Page 9

pride in his being the bread-winner. The second, may also enjoy his family, to be
sure, is more responsible to challenges, with a leaning toward solitude and self-
reliance. He is something of a loner. It is important to understand that no individual
can be compartmentalized as a pure family man or an absolute loner, for everyone is
a subtle mixture of many tendencies. In every person, there is a dominant passion
that can, with due patience, be pinpointed.

You should be able to recognize that two employees such as those described are
motivated by different considerations. The family man is likely to respond to an
approach that appeals to his dependability. The loner would be more likely to react
positively to a this – is – the- situation- we- leave – it – to – you gambit.

On the purely conversational level, you should find that it is not difficult to discover
what your employees do in their spare time. Use the knowledge you gain to add to
your own persuasive ability as a supervisor trying to sell safety.

        Accomplishments of which he is proud.

If you can find out what a man considers his finest achievements you have an
important key to his character. If he recalls with pride how he solved a particular
voltage problem, you may safely assume that he would tackle other problems with
enthusiasm and ability. If he cites a pride for leading others such as in the military or
as a crew foreman – he would probably react well to appeals to his sense of

What an employee is proud of can range from his children to his skill with a bass bug.
It is up to you as a supervisor to translate those achievements into the correct manner
in which to make an on-the-job motivational appeals.

        His life goals.

If you are able to discover from an employee what he has his eyes on, what
objectives he concentrates most of his energies to, you should be able to determine
the dominant strain in his character. Is he looking for a better paying job? Early
retirement? Financial security? Or, does he consider other pursuits such as helping
others, working for a better community – more important? No matter what his goals
are, you should be able to motivate him by putting your instructions in terms of his
major interest.


        People he admires.

Employees, especially men, talk about people whose characters, personalities and
achievements they look up to. Some find those who took the ruthless path to power
praiseworthy; others prefer the world’s humanitarians. One man may admire a
particular business magnate; another, a leading sports figure. Jones may find
vicarious satisfaction in the exploits of whatever playboy or celebrity is currently
making headlines. Smith may feel that the astronauts personify all the virtues worth
emulating. Get an employee to tell you whom he admires and you have achieved a
great step toward sizing him up.

        What he likes to talk about.

There is one group of specialists (professionals) whose primary job is listening. They
talk only when it is absolutely necessary and even then it is usually only to pose a
question so that the person speaking may continue. These specialists are
PSYCHOANALYSTS. By not setting any limits on what their patients talk about they
discover what is uppermost in the individuals mind because when people are allowed
to their own devices, sooner or later they speak of the things that count to them.

We can take a tip from PSYCHOANALYSTS. From time to time, let your people
choose the subject of the conversation. There will be a lot of small talk. Eventually
the true and abiding interests of the speaker will come out. When this happens make
mental notes. These notes will be invaluable clues to what makes the employee tick.

Time is money and as a supervisor it is very valuable. You have very little of it to
spare. You most certainly don’t have the time to enter into a psychoanalytical session
with an employee. However, whenever the opportunity does present itself, seize it
and encourage your people to open up to you. It might be highly revealing.

No matter how good a conversationalist you are, no matter how adept at drawing out
others, some employees simply won’t respond or they will not be very articulate or
they will jealously guard their privacy.

Luckily there is another option open to you. That option is OBSERVATION. An
individual can disguise his true character behind a curtain of words, but his actions
are an open book, available for study by anyone with a discerning eye. In particular,
watch for clues to his character.


        How he accepts praise and criticism.

Compliments may cause one employee to reach new heights of achievement, but
only inflate the ego of another. Some employees take praise and put it to work for
them. They will use it as a secret source of energy and inspiration for further
accomplishments. Others see it as a signal to coast on their reputations. Watch how
an employee takes a pat on the back because it will tell a great deal about his level of

The other side of the coin is criticism which can be even more revealing. None of
your employees want to be told that they made a mistake, but the serious employee
will accept criticism as a springboard to improved performance by taking whatever
steps are necessary to be sure that he won’t repeat his mistake.

The less stable employee who may lack self-confidence will balk at the suggestion
that he goofed. He may even try to place blame on other employees. Depending on
the seriousness of the incident, he may accuse his critic (you) of hidden motives. An
individual such as this is not ready for more responsible work.

        How he gets along with others.

Real character can frequently be assessed by noting how a man treats the people
with whom he comes into daily contact. Is he cooperative, willing to help others when
the occasion arises? Does he claim that everyone else is conspiring against him at
every turn? Does he involve politics for personal advantage? Does he share credit
for personal advantage? Does he share credit for accomplishments or is he a glory
hog? Is he a buck-passer, rumor monger, character assassin?

        His work area.

Whether it is a small workshop cubicle in an office or an impressive $250,000 aerial
device, the condition of an employee’s work area is a reliable index to his makeup.
Neat? He probably is orderly in other ways and appreciates precise, clean-cut
assignments. Sloppy? This will reflect his approach to whatever he does. Don’t
overlook the caliber of a man’s housekeeping. It speaks volumes about him.


         His “frustration tolerance.”

How an employee reacts to setbacks can tell you a great deal. If the employee is
intelligent and well-balanced, he won’t sulk (At least not for very long), but will try to
learn from his failure. If he dwells on it, boring those around him with endless
excuses and is quick to take offense at any reference to his mistake, he is not as
mature as he should be. Such employees are not ready for greater responsibilities.

         Personal mannerisms.

Most of us have little habits that provide insights into what makes us tick. The
knuckle-cracker is probably trying to relieve tension. The employee who dominates
conversation tends to be self-centered. The day-dreamer may be trying to
unconsciously escape from his job. As a supervisor you should keep an eye peeled
for those telltale signs; they can be very informative once you gain experience in
recognizing them and interpreting them.

         How he reacts to challenges.

Some employees thrive on the new, the strange and the untested. These employees
find within themselves untapped resources upon which they can draw to meet new
responsibilities head on. If there is a problem, they will dig for the solution until they
find it. If they think there is a better way to do something, they will experiment until
they hit upon the solution. The word “CAN’T” is not in the vocabulary of these

There is another group of employees that never dream of sticking out their necks or of
striking out on their own from shore. Their status quo is their safe haven and once
they have been shown the standard procedure for accomplishing a task that is their
way for all time. These employees do not care for the departure from the norm nor
added responsibility. They consider challenge to be for oddballs. The word “CAN’T”
is their basic philosophy.

The challenge-meeters are tougher to supervise than those who duck their
responsibilities, but if you put what you want done in terms geared to capture their
imaginations you will have highly motivated employees.


                                   LISTEN TO HIM

A third technique for getting better acquainted with your employee’s falls somewhere
between conversation and observation: This does not suggest that you become an
eavesdropper, but that you keep alert to the verbal clues to character that employees
frequently drop. These include the following:

        Ideas.

A worker who continually suggests ways to save time, money and energy is deeply
involved with his work and most likely more ambitious than the worker who single-
mindedly does his job. Even if his ideas are not always good ones, or if they are not
entirely practical, their existence signifies a thinking man. However, if the ideas are
continually absurd or overly complicated, the employee may simply enjoy hearing
himself talk.

Imagination is rare enough to warrant encouragement wherever it is found, but it must
be at least tinged with basic reasonableness. The idea man is most likely
enthusiastic by nature, impatient with having things spelled out for him. The best way
to win his cooperation is by explaining clearly what is expected of him, then leaving
him to his own devices as much as possible.

        Complaints.

Those things that irritate a man can be a key to his character. If he objects or takes
offense to responsible regulations he may lack self-confidence. If however, his
complaints are not frequent and are usually justified he is probably a well adjusted

The employee who thinks others are being favored over himself; whose gripes center
on the authority others have over him; sees conspiracies everywhere may have a
personality problem such as delusions of persecution. An individual such as this
may require professional help.

Gripes can be a healthy outlet for high spirits and many are expressed simply as a
form of friendly bantering. This type of activity actually signifies good morale and can
be discounted.

What generally disturbs an employee, however, should be considered in your total
assessment of his character.


        His sense of humor.

Mark Twain said, “Never trust a man who doesn’t laugh” and that is very good advice.
Humor is one very important safety valve for venting human emotion. The employee
who never opens this safety valve may be allowing too much hostility to build up in
himself. When it does finally manifest itself, it may take the form of overt anti-social
behavior like hatred or violence. In particular, look out for the employee who cannot
laugh at himself. This individual is in psychological trouble, rigid in his thinking and
laughing in the ability to see his own shortcomings.

On the other hand, the employee who makes butt of all his jokes may really have a
very low opinion of himself. Two such different types, naturally, must be handled
quite differently by you, their supervisor.

Finally, you should watch for the worker whose humor is aimed at minority groups,
the handicapped or anyone who happens to be different from him. This individual is a
candidate for a psychosis, so unsure of his own words that he must constantly
enhance it by belittling others.

Section One Conclusion.

You have been exposed to some of the major personality signals that your employees
send out to you. To the extent that you read those signals shrewdly and tailor your
own “safety sales pitch” to the individuals whom you supervise, to that extent you will
improve your performance and, consequently, the safety performance of your


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