August 15, 2020

Richardson Column in The Free Lance-Star

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson’s weekly column in The Free Lance-Star discusses TREATING PEOPLE WITH RESPECT.

 

Once upon a time, there was an organization. This organization welcomed a new head person. This person had come from a similar organization where he had years of experience as the head guy.

Months into the new person’s tenure, a beloved manager was visited by the new boss—she was not doing things as he expected. Even though she was an expert, he wanted to tell her how to do her job. She pushed back a bit. At the next staff meeting, with all of the managers in attendance, he demeaned her in front of her peers.

Appropriately, she went to him privately after the meeting and expressed her distress at being berated in front of her colleagues. He was dismissive of her remarks. She soon resigned.

People in the company took sides. There were those who thought he was well within his rights to have both told her what to do and, when she wasn’t willing to roll over, talk about her to her colleagues. Others were appalled at his behavior. Certainly, they agreed, he could express his desires about how she did her job, but they could not believe he made derogatory remarks about her in front of her peers.

Many in the latter group went to the employee who resigned and asked her to reconsider. She would not. A schism formed within the organization.

What went wrong? Read more.

Richardson Column in The Free Lance-Star

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson’s weekly column in The Free Lance-Star discusses being bold about your organization’s plans for after the pandemic. Read IMAGINING THE FUTURE.

THE PANDEMIC has totally disrupted so many parts of our lives, not the least of which is the workplace. So I’ve been wondering how our organizations will look in a few years.

In conversations with people who work in a variety of industries, a common theme is astonishment that work requiring an office setting a year ago can effectively be done from home today. One person said to me, “If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it.” We can relate.

While what we do may be similar, how and where we work is different. So where do we go from here?

Richardson Column in The Free Lance-Star

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson’s weekly column in The Free Lance-Star discusses holding employees to their commitments. Read ACCOUNTABILITY IS MY SUPERPOWER.

 

A colleague told me that accountability is my superpower. After reflecting a bit, I determined there was merit to her statement.

First, I hold myself accountable. When I say I’m going to do something, you can count on me to get it done. Whether it’s attending a meeting or completing a task, if I commit, I will do everything in my power to fulfill the commitment. In Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment, responsibility is one of my top five strengths. Gallup’s definition of responsibility equates to accountability.

But I don’t think that’s what my colleague was referring to. She noticed that I hold others accountable.

The first step in holding others responsible is communication. Before others can be held responsible for their actions, they must understand what is expected of them. If you work in my unit and have no clue what you need to do, how can we hold you accountable? Read more.

Richardson Column in The Free Lance-Star

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson’s weekly column in The Free Lance-Star discusses how to enforce regulations in a company when it comes to employees with differing abilities. Read APPLYING RULES.

 

I heard a story that broke my heart. A young man on the autism spectrum has a job in a well-known organization. He made a snack purchase on the honor system at his office break room. When he scanned the item, he hit the wrong button and ended up canceling the transaction instead of charging it. But he didn’t realize what he had done and ate the item.

Later, he was confronted about stealing the $5 item. It’s my understanding that he didn’t explain what happened well, and was placed on suspension for a week. He thought he was going to lose his job, including his important benefits.

I first became aware of the situation while he was on suspension. A relative of his had shared the story and was concerned about what might happen. While I certainly had no way of knowing why he was suspended for a week over such a transgression, I was confident that he would not lose his job over it. The relative indicated he had worked there for 2½ years, had never been late, had never called in sick and volunteered to work late. He had even won a productivity award in a previous month. Read more.

 

Richardson Column in The Free Lance-Star

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson’s weekly column in The Free Lance-Star discusses the importance of reaching out to Black employees and colleagues in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Read MANAGEMENT MATTERS: DON’T BE SILENT.

George Floyd’s senseless death on Memorial Day has caused many people of all races to find their voices. Protests are happening around the United States in communities of all sizes. While most of these happen at nights and on weekends, they impact normal work days, as well, as we work with people who are distracted and may be emotionally and perhaps physically empty.

While colleagues of all backgrounds are impacted, as a manager have you reached out to your black colleagues to see how they are doing? They are certainly the center of attention right now. Do you recognize how your black colleagues are being treated on a daily basis? Are you intentionally holding conversations about racial biases in the workplace with your coworkers?

What are your African American colleagues feeling right now? Do you know? Have you asked? If so, good for you! Only by asking will most people share. And if you haven’t asked, why haven’t you? Do you ascribe to the mindset of “if I don’t acknowledge it, it’s not happening?” The frustration and weariness among our black colleagues is real. If you don’t know that, it’s because you just aren’t paying attention. As a manager and leader, your job is to serve and support each of your subordinates, not just the ones who share your same ethnicity. Read more.

 

Richardson Column in The Free Lance-Star

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson’s weekly column in The Free Lance-Star discusses the importance of making sure outsiders who do business with your organization understand your terminology. Read JARGON IN THE WORKPLACE.

 

Several years ago, we began a mentoring program in my business school. Students requested an alumni mentor, and we had a stable of alumni volunteers. We paired the student with someone in an area of the student’s interest.

It was up to the duo to figure out how they would meet. Many mentors were not in the local area, so most communication occurred via phone and email. But not always.

One day I ran into a local alumnus who had been matched with a student. I asked how it was going. Read more.

College of Business Congratulates Class of 2020

UMW’s College of Business created a YouTube video to congratulate the Class of 2020, and specifically COB graduates, on completing their degrees. Compiled by Assistant Professor of Management Alexandra Dunn, the video features COB Dean Lynne Richardson, President Troy Paino and faculty from across the college.

Richardson Column in The Free Lance-Star

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson’s weekly column in The Free Lance-Star discusses setting routines and limits to your work schedule. Read SCHEDULES AND BOUNDARIES.

 

One of the biggest challenges of teleworking concerns schedules and boundaries. While some folks have adapted well to working from home, others would say they are failing.

Let’s start with college students. As I talked with faculty and students weekly during the last half of the spring semester, one of the recurring themes was the inability for many students to create a schedule for themselves.

It was especially difficult if the course had become asynchronous—it was not meeting at its regular time. Instead, faculty were posting videos of lectures and expecting students to watch the lectures and take quizzes or complete assignments to indicate they were “attending class,” albeit virtually. Some students, without the structure their face-to-face class schedule provided, were struggling to re-create their schedules at home. Read more.

UMW Professors Find Creative Ways to Teach Through COVID-19

Assistant Music Professor Christopher Ryder (top, center) teaches conducting over Zoom. “I’ve been impressed by the students’ ability to adapt to very difficult circumstances,” said Ryder, who is among the UMW faculty who are now finding new and creative ways to teach remotely.

Assistant Music Professor Christopher Ryder (top, center) teaches conducting over Zoom. “I’ve been impressed by the students’ ability to adapt to very difficult circumstances,” said Ryder, who is among the UMW faculty who are now finding new and creative ways to teach remotely.

Teaching at Mary Washington looks a bit different lately. Andi Smith films YouTube videos with her children to demonstrate architectural principles. Zach Whalen uses cartoons to teach a digital studies lesson. Smita Jain Oxford holds Zoom office hours for business majors on her daily jog.

When the University moved to virtual classes last month due to the coronavirus pandemic, UMW faculty had to adapt quickly. Some already had experience with online instruction, while others became students themselves, seeking advice from tech-savvy colleagues – as well as the Digital Learning Center, Center for Teaching and UMW Libraries. Armed with a variety of technology tools, they’ve been finding creative and engaging ways to educate, support and stay connected to students through the end of the semester and beyond.

Students are facing multiple challenges as they complete their coursework, said Janine Davis, an associate professor in UMW’s College of Education. Dealing with limited internet access, caring for sick family members and serving in essential jobs are among their chief concerns, she said, and they’re also managing a wide range of emotions.

“We have to give students some space,” Davis said, “but also let them know we’re here and we want them to succeed and be healthy.” Read more.

Richardson Column in The Free Lance-Star

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson’s weekly column in The Free Lance-Star discusses how we should reconsider our spending and saving habits in the wake of the pandemic. Read LIVING BELOW YOUR MEANS.

 

THE COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the financial lives of many Americans. Between jobs lost or hours dramatically cut back, many are facing financial ruin. The stock market was in free fall for a bit, but seems to have moderated a bit lately. While no one could have predicted the impact the virus would have on the economy, it has caused many of us to consider, or perhaps reconsider, our lifestyle.

Financial advisors recommend that we save enough money to be able to pay for our living expenses for three to six months. Our living expenses would include the “must haves” and not the “wants.” Your mortgage or rent, utilities, car payments, insurance premiums, food costs, and other items specific to your situation—such as baby formula or medicine—would have to be covered. Items such as new clothing, vacations, concert tickets, would not.

Another tip from financial advisors is to live below your means. Just because you can afford something doesn’t mean you should purchase it. A couple of examples come to mind. Read more.