Have you ever watched a YouTube video so you could assemble that futon you bought on Amazon, get your phone to quit that annoying noise your kid programmed in or do any other task beyond your skills? You think you have it figured out- only to discover that you still can't smoothly and effortlessly pull it off like the smiling YouTuber did. It looked so easy.
At Yale University, psychology professor Woo-kyoung Ahn shows a six-second YouTube video of a popular dance to her students, replaying the video and even a slowed-down version, then asks for volunteers to perform the dance steps in front of the class. And eager students - cocky and sure of their prowess - all fail. It looked so easy. Her best-selling book, Thinking 101, recounts this story and many more as she writes about biases that affect our decision-making and actions.
She calls this effect fluency, which is our tendency to be overconfident when we think we know how to do something because we've watched it, read about it, listened to something about it. We're very familiar with it and it comes to mind easily, even though we haven't actually done it.
As supervisors in the workplace, we usually know and can easily recall much of what we need to do - hold people accountable, communicate expectations, reward good performance, coach, discipline, engage, manage conflict. The list for supervisory performance is a very long one. Ask any supervisor and she'll rattle these things off, and more.
We feel fluent in our supervisory roles, giving us confidence that we'll do our jobs well.
Then there is an incident - an employee skips steps in a procedure and it results in damage to plant property and loss of production - and we stumble as we try to act. We don't prepare before we start asking questions. We don't get the right help - from Human Resources or our own chain of command. We don't know what policies apply. We jump to conclusions, then look for evidence to support what we've already concluded. We make snap decisions, affected by emotions. Our actions are inconsistent with past actions. We create poor, or little, documentation as we go. Maybe we even inadvertently violate a company policy or employment law.
We fail as supervisors, and everybody pays for it. Trust is broken. Employee morale plummets. Risk is elevated. Company assets, reputational and otherwise, are threatened. Employees leave. Company and union relationships are damaged. Supervisor reputations are damaged.
And after all, we probably had very little training, if any, on how to be supervisors. Nobody gets to be called an electrician without thousands of hours of monitored, progressive, on-the-job training as well as bookwork and testing. But you can go from electrician to supervisor in a five-minute declaration from the company.
So how do we defeat fluency and other cognitive biases? How do we develop a well-trained, high-quality, well prepared supervisory team?
MARC training for supervisors, with its comprehensive toolkit, is our best bet for trading fluency for real competence, confidence, credibility, consistency, fairness and high-quality leadership.
How does MARC do this? MARC provides hands-on, interactive learning, backed by a tested and timeless manual that is the supervisor's ultimate toolkit. MARC is operational -you learn by doing under the guidance of expert facilitators.
• MARC training is inter-active, enjoyable, and participants develop solutions and plans. The heart of MARC training is a collection of real-life case studies in labor relations that participants vigorously discuss in breakout groups as if they were the supervisors in the cases, creating their own recommendations and actions. Unlike a book, lecture or video, participants are hands-on problem-solvers with a lot of brains in the game together.
• Case study work includes role play, with participants performing fact-finding, leading a job performance counseling session, conducting a union contract grievance meeting, and dealing with the behaviors of a malingering and conniving long-term employee. Good-natured ribbing occurs as those playing roles learn the hard way that this stuff takes practice.
• Time-tested, irrefutable leadership principles identified as "MARC principles" are incorporated as the training progresses to create foundational mental models to guide supervisor behaviors.
• Participant-developed issues, actions, decisions and plans are critiqued, deconstructed, reconstructed and fleshed-out by highly trained and experienced facilitators with successful and long-term labor relations careers. Facilitators are experts in grievance and arbitration handling, labor and employment law, union contract negotiations, mediation, management consulting, coaching and all aspects of labor and employee relations and are carefully selected by MARC for these roles. MARC facilitators have an average of over 25 years experience in labor relations.
• The MARC manual, a time-tested, comprehensive binder of labor relations practice guides and checklists, has for over 40 years been the backbone of the program. Supervisors can easily and quickly access the indexes and tabs (as well the MARC website for on-line materials} to find guidance on a wide array of labor relations topics. The checklists are designed to provide uniform, fair, compliant and consistent methods for supervisors to handle performance management, grievances and complaints, disciplinary action and much more. There are checklists for frequently encountered employee issues, like absenteeism, fitness-for-duty, damage to property and safety incidents. A frequent complaint from unions and employees is inconsistent actions between employees for similar behaviors. Diligent use of the MARC manual and its checklists protects against this risk with a uniform methodology. Consistent processes are real bias-busters - they force rational thinking.
So don't let your supervisors rely on fluency and their untested confidence in what they need to do to be great leaders. Don't send your leaders out there without the know-how and tools they need. No matter how well-read they may be, how many podcasts they digest on long commutes, or how many degrees they have, they need hands-on learning backed by the right tools for success.
Please choose MARC for your labor relations training and support platform. Our clients consistently rate MARC training as one of the most popular training courses in their leadership program. Your supervisors, employees, labor unions and all your constituents deserve it.
Want to know more? Read about our General Seminar Training