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Study Unit

Human Relations
Part 2
By
Michael Milone, Ph.D.

Author Acknowledgement
Dr. Michael Milone, your course author, brings the authority of
experience to the Human Relations course. As an educator, his
teaching experiences provide insight concerning problem areas in
his students development. As an author, he addresses these areas
so that his students and others can succeed. Developing Reading
Powers, texts designed to teach reading comprehension, and
Scoring High, texts designed to improve student performance on
achievement tests, are just two series authored by Dr. Milone to
supplement the educational curriculum.
Dr. Milone has also co-authored or written chapters in textbooks
dealing with gifted education, special education, reading management,
research on handwriting, and learning styles. In his award-winning
monthly column in Technology and Learning, he reports on computer hardware and software topics that are of interest to school
administrators.
Dr. Milone holds active memberships in over a dozen professional
associations in education and psychology. He has served as chairperson of the Technology and Reading Committee of the International
Council of Teachers of English, the Association for Supervision of
Curriculum Development, the Council for Exceptional Children, the
Association for Children with Learning Disabilities, the National
Association for the Education of Young Children, TALMIS,
Educational Computer Conferences, and the Educational Press
Association of America.

All terms mentioned in this text that are known to be trademarks or service
marks have been appropriately capitalized. Use of a term in this text should not be
regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.

Copyright 2014 by Penn Foster, Inc.


All rights reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright may be
reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval
system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be
mailed to Copyright Permissions, Penn Foster, 925 Oak Street, Scranton,
Pennsylvania 18515.
Printed in the United States of America
09/08/14

In the first unit of this course, you learned the basics of


human relations. Now youll put some of your knowledge to
practical use. In this study unit, youll learn more about
using human relations skills in the workplace.

When you complete this study unit, youll be


able to

Describe different kinds of relationships

Explain how to maintain relationships

Define vertical and horizontal working relationships

Discuss the nature of working relationships

Explain how to build good vertical and horizontal


working relationships

Define the terms mutual reward theory, value conflicts,


ethnic implications, sexual overtones, age differences,
irritation threshold

Explain the characteristics of a supervisor

Discuss how to work with supervisors

Explain leadership and followership

Discuss the need for supervision

Explain the productivity equation

Preview

As you work through this study unit, youll notice activities


titled From Your Point of View. In these activities youll
answer questions or think about situations youve experienced. By doing so, youll be applying your human relations
skills immediately.

iii

RELATIONSHIPS

THE VERTICAL WORKING RELATIONSHIP

What Is a Vertical Relationship?


Building a Good Vertical Relationship

THE HORIZONTAL WORKING RELATIONSHIP

16

What Is a Horizontal Relationship?


Building a Good Horizontal Relationship

THE NATURE OF WORKING RELATIONSHIPS

22

Mutual Reward Theory


Value Conflicts
Ethnic Implications
Sexual Overtones
Age Differences
Irritation Threshold

YOU AND YOUR SUPERVISORS

32

Characteristics of Supervisors
The Supervisory Role
Working with Your Supervisor

UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP AND


FOLLOWERSHIP

37

The Need for Supervision


Learning How to Follow

THE PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYEE

44

The Productivity Equation


Standing Out in the Crowd

SELF-CHECK ANSWERS

51

Contents

Types of Relationships
Maintaining Relationships

Human Relations, Part 2

RELATIONSHIPS
Relationships are complex, and its hard to say just what
theyre made of. One way to understand relationships is to
consider the characteristics, or ingredients, that theyre based
on. You can think of these ingredients as a general recipe for
a relationship.
A relationship involves at least two people. However,
more than two can be involved. When three or more people drive to work together every day, they share a
relationship.
A relationship is influenced by the ideas and attitudes of
all those involved.
A relationship is influenced by its purpose. For example,
a relationship can be personal, social, business related,
based on religious beliefs, or have other purposes.
Often, a relationship is voluntary. The people who share
it choose to become involved with one another. They can
also decide when the relationship will end.
Relationships vary in strength of feeling. Intensity affects
the strength of the relationship. For example, in a romance
there are strong emotions. In other relationships, feelings
are less intense. A group of people who attend the same
exercise class probably have only weak feelings concerning one another.
A relationship requires trust. The people in a relationship know they can depend on one another.

A relationship requires that the people who share it


spend time with one another. This contact can be in
person, through letters, telephone calls, or even by sharing friends.
Although relationships are often complicated matters, becoming part of a relationship is often very easyit just happens.
This example shows how it can happen.
John stocks snack vending machines. Almost every day,
he stops at Genes workplace. Theyre always nice to one
another and often chat for a minute or two. One Saturday
afternoon, John and Gene run into one another at the
local bowling alley. They decide to bowl together and then
go out for a bite with some friends. They get along well
and become good friends.

From Your Point of View


Think about your friends for a minute. How did you meet them? What
helped start your relationship? Write a few sentences about how you met
one friend.
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
Remember: From your point of view exercises are included to get you
thinking and learning about human relations. Do not send your written
answers to the school.

Types of Relationships
Relationships can be current or past, social, family, or working. People share many different kinds of relationships during
their lives.
A current relationship is one thats active now. You see the person(s) once in a while and do something together every so often.
A past relationship is one you had in the past. For some reason, you no longer have contact with the other person(s).
Your relationship has become weaker. Relationships weaken
because people no longer see, write, or talk to one another or
their attitudes toward one another have changed.

Human Relations, Part 2

Past relationships can often be brought back to life. This is


especially true for relationships that once were close but
weakened because of distance, lack of time, or a change of
attitude.
A social relationship is one you have with friends. People who
are related to one another form a family relationship. A working relationship happens between people who work together.
Social, family, and working relationships can be current
or past.

From Your Point of View


Write the names of people with whom you share(d) the following types
of relationships:
Current relationship: _________________________________________
Past relationship: ____________________________________________
Social relationship: __________________________________________
Family relationship: __________________________________________
Working relationship: _________________________________________

Maintaining Relationships
Communication, honesty, contact, fair expectations, and
reinforcement help to maintain relationships.
A relationship is like a car. If its built strong, it can stand up
to many things. But like a car, a relationship needs maintenance. You can service a relationship by communicating,
being honest, keeping contact, holding fair expectations, and
reinforcing others.

Communication
Open communication is important to a relationship. You
should communicate clearly and honestly with all people
involved. The communication neednt always be positive, but
it should be honest. If someone hurts your feelings, its much
better to let him or her know than to pretend that everything
is just fine.

Human Relations, Part 2

Countless relationships have been damaged or destroyed by


poor communication. Keeping strong feelings inside can
change your attitude towards someone, and your relationship
can suffer. In time, the relationship might be damaged
beyond repair.

Honesty
Of course, you shouldnt try to hurt people by being honest.
Nor should you use communication to control them. Saying
things that make your point without angering people is very
important to human relations. Here are several examples of
honest communication that people in a relationship might use:
To someone whos usually late: I know you have a good
reason for being late. But each time I arrive for you, I
wait fifteen minutes. Can you begin getting ready early
enough so that we can leave on time?
To someone who has just done a great favor for you:
Thanks for taking care of that. You really helped me
out. It feels great to know I can depend on you.
To someone who makes you an offer that seems a little
dishonest: Thanks for the offer, but Id feel a little funny
doing that. How do you feel about it?
Consider the question in the above example, How do you feel
about it? This question is an example of how effective communication works. The chance youve been offered isnt one
you want to take, and youre not sure its the best thing for
your friend. Instead of being critical, youve encouraged your
friend to talk things over. By doing this, you might discover
that his offer isnt dishonest, or at least that your friend
doesnt think it is. The discussion might also convince your
friend not to take the offer. In any case, the method of communication you chose will help your relationship grow.

Contact
Relationships need exercise to survive.
They get it when people have contact with one another.
Ideally, people in a relationship will have time to spend

Human Relations, Part 2

together (Figure 1). If they dont, calling by telephone and


writing letters will often help. The important thing is that
they strengthen their relationship through quality time
together.
FIGURE 1You have to
make time to develop
and maintain a relationship that you enjoy.

Quality time is time thats meaningful (planning for the


future, working in a volunteer organization), productive
(painting a room, repairing a car), enjoyable (bowling, going
to a movie), or simply relaxing (a day at the beach, watching
the sunset). Reading a letter from a friend is quality time. So
is talking to the friend on the telephone.

Expectations
Expectations are also part of relationships. The people in a
relationship expect certain things of one another. These
expectations vary widely from relationship to relationship.
Some people might expect a deep emotional bond. For others,
a casual activity such as jogging together at a pace you both
enjoy is enough. When peoples expectations are met by their
behavior towards one another, relationships grow.
Expectations can be clearly stated, as in a workers contract.
Or, they can simply be understood, as when two friends meet
in a gym every Monday and Wednesday to work out. Realistic
expectationsones the people involved can meetcontribute
to a successful relationship. The following examples show
how expectations can help or hurt a relationship.
Tom and PJ work at the same plant and live near each
other. Tom gives PJ a ride to and from work, and because
the plant is some distance away, they share the cost of

Human Relations, Part 2

gas. One morning Tom was ill and could not go to work.
He called PJ very early so that he could find another ride.
Tom knew a friend who might stop for PJ, and he provided a phone number. PJ called the number and got the
ride. Tom and PJs relationship became stronger because
Tom met PJs expectations. Because he gave Tom gas
money on a regular basis, PJ expected that Tom would
help get him to work. Tom realized PJs expectations and
met them by helping to arrange a ride when he was sick.
Terry and Cathy decided to rent a house together. They
agreed that they would share expenses for the house.
After two months, Cathy told Terry that she didnt have
her part of the rent money. Terry said she understood and
paid the rent for both of them. A week later, Terry saw
Cathy wearing a new outfit. Terry became angry with
Cathy because she had bought the outfit with the rent
money. Their relationship suddenly became very unpleasant because Cathy hadnt met Terrys expectations.

Reinforcement
Finally, a relationship is reinforcing to the people in it. A relationship is like a reward. People in a relationship get something
out of it, so they spend more time with one another. If you
and some friends play basketball every Saturday and enjoy
the game, you experience positive reinforcement. Youll likely
continue playing. If you quarrel or play so rough that frequent
injuries occur, youre negatively reinforced. Your basketball
relationship might come to an end.
Sometimes its hard to figure out what people find reinforcing
in a relationship. How often have you heard something like,
Why does so-and-so date whats-his-name? Theyve nothing
in common, they fight all the time, but they still go out with
one another. In a case like this, it might be that the couple
has a great time together when theyre alone. Or they might
have become dependent on one another or are too set in their
ways to look for someone else.

Human Relations, Part 2

Self-Check 1
At the end of each section of Human Relations, Part 2, youll be asked to pause and check
your understanding of what youve just read by completing a self-check. Writing the
answers to these questions will help you review what youve studied so far. Please complete Self-Check 1 now.

1. Which one of the following is an important ingredient in relationships?


a.
b.
c.
d.

No more than two persons can be involved.


It must be voluntary.
Strong emotions or feelings are necessary.
It will be influenced by its purpose.

2. A relationship between you and a friend you see every day is


a. past.
b. current.

c. familial.
d. professional.

3. Communication in a healthy relationship


a. doesnt need to be open.
b. needs to be positive.

c. will avoid strong feelings.


d. will be characterized by honesty.

4. As an element of relationships, expectations


a.
b.
c.
d.

dont differ much from one relationship to another.


must be clearly stated, not simply understood.
when realistic, contribute to a relationships success.
may be a satisfactory substitute for contact.

5. Saying that relationships need exercise to survive means


a.
b.
c.
d.

there should be a mix of positive and negative communications.


varied expectations will strengthen it.
the persons involved must maintain contact with one another.
the persons involved must get something

Check your answers with those on page 51.

Human Relations, Part 2

THE VERTICAL WORKING


RELATIONSHIP
What Is a Vertical Relationship?
So far, weve discussed relationships among equals like family and friends. Relationships also exist among people who
arent equal. Parents and children are not equal in their relationship, nor are a teacher and students. These relationships
are called vertical relationships.
The relationship you have with a supervisor at work is also a
type of vertical relationship. In the supervisor-employee relationship, the people involved dont have equal status, control,
duties, or earnings. One member is more dominant and is
the leader. The other is the follower (Figure 2).
FIGURE 2Your supervisor
can guide you as you work
toward your performance
goals.

The lack of equality in a vertical relationship isnt a problem.


The leader in the relationship is usually more experienced
and has a great deal to teach the follower. The leader can
help the follower perform a job correctly and learn the skills
needed to move into a supervisory position. The person in the
leadership role can guide the follower in the right direction
and give advice.

Human Relations, Part 2

From Your Point of View


Write down the names of two people with whom you have a vertical
relationship. It can be in the family or at work.
1. ________________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________________

Building a Good Vertical


Relationship
For this discussion, assume that youre an employee in a
vertical relationship with a supervisor. It might be in your
current job or a job you hope to get. In any case, you want to
build a healthy vertical relationship. What can you do?
The secret to building a good vertical relationship is simple:
the same human relations skills youve already learned will
work in a vertical relationship. Thats the nice thing about
human relations skills. With changes to fit the situation,
they work well.

Productivity
The working relationship is unique in one respect. The goal of
the working relationship is stated more clearly than in other
relationships. While youre at work, your performance goal is
to finish jobs. Given the performance requirements of the
workplace, the most important thing you can do to build a
good vertical relationship is to be productive.
Being productive, that is, accomplishing your goal (effectiveness) by expending as few resources as possible (efficiency),
means you help your supervisor do his or her job. Your productivity adds to that of your supervisor, so both of you gain
a strong sense of satisfaction. Moreover, your productivity
will contribute to your financial success at work and the
financial success of your supervisor. Clearly, being productive is the best way to build a successful vertical relationship.

Human Relations, Part 2

From Your Point of View


Write a few sentences describing your production requirements at work.
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________

Style
Recognizing and reacting to your supervisors style of management is another factor that will help your relationship.
Take some time to think about how your supervisor works.
One way to do this is to ask yourself these questions.
Does your supervisor like to maintain a great deal of
control or let you work independently and provide help
when necessary?
Does your supervisor remain distant or try to build a
more personal relationship?
Does your supervisor follow a strict set of rules or
respond flexibly to situations as they arise?
Does your supervisor focus on long-range or short-range
goals?
Answering the above questions will help you assess your
supervisors working style. Then, consider how to work in a
manner thats consistent with your supervisors style. For
example, if your supervisor likes to keep a great deal of control, ask questions or explain what you plan to do before you
try something new. If your supervisor likes you to be independent, dont ask more questions than are necessary just to
make your supervisor feel informed.
In a vertical relationship, the employee (or follower) must
often do more of the adjusting. This might not seem fair, but
when you think about it, its not that bad a deal. Remember,
even though youre doing more of the adjusting, youre also
learning much from your supervisor.

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Human Relations, Part 2

From Your Point of View


Complete each sentence below about a supervisor in your current job or
another job youve had.
The best thing about my supervisors style is _______.
I wish my supervisor would change style concerning _______.

Attitude
Your attitude toward your supervisor, or toward life in general, will greatly affect your relationship. Try as you may to
control yourself, a negative attitude will affect your performance. Eventually your supervisor will be forced to confront
you about it. Even a hidden attitude from far in the past can
hurt your relationship. Perhaps your supervisor reminds you
of a teacher you didnt like or another supervisor in another
job. This hidden attitude may damage your relationship. If
you find that theres just something about your supervisor
that turns you off, you may want to look inside yourself and
see if a past experience is hurting your current relationship.
To succeed in your job, keep personal feelings and problems
separate from the workplace. Develop a positive attitude
toward your supervisor, even if it requires much effort. You
dont have to become personal friends with your supervisor
or admire him or her. However, you should realize that your
supervisor deserves respect. He or she is one of the keys to
your success at work.

Loyalty
Being loyal to a supervisor is a small chore that goes a long
way toward building your relationship. This isnt a case of
My supervisor, right or wrong loyalty. Instead, its just
showing that you place your trust in your supervisor and are
willing to support him or her.
How do you show loyalty? Giving your supervisor credit for
good ideas is one way. Showing appreciation is another way,
as is giving your supervisors ideas and suggestions a fair
shake. Nothing damages the vertical relationship faster than

Human Relations, Part 2

11

taking sides against your supervisor or suggesting that your


supervisor is not doing a good job. The following example
demonstrates this.
One of the employees at a post office, Chris, had just been
promoted to supervisor. She was doing a good job and
making many improvements. Almost all her employees
respected her and knew she did a good job. Ray, however,
didnt like working for a woman. He always complained
when Chris wanted to change things. He also tried to get
the other employees to work against Chris. The other
employees knew Ray was being unfair and began to dislike him. Soon even the Postmaster knew that Ray was
being disloyal to Chris. Eventually, the other employees
began to ignore Ray. After a while, things got so bad he
had to ask for a transfer.

Consideration
Even though your supervisor occupies the leadership role in
the vertical relationship, he or she will still respond well to
your being thoughtful. Lending a hand when your supervisor
or coworkers need it and offering congratulations when your
supervisor is successful are just two ways of showing
consideration.
Responding to your supervisors needs before your own is another
way to be considerate. The following example points this out.
Imagine that Eugene is your supervisor. He has just been
given a rush job, and he asks if youre too busy to give him
a hand. Youre almost through with your task and would
like to finish it before you go home. Instead, you say, Im
almost finished, but this can wait. How can I help? Your
willingness to help shows that you recognize and respect
the leadership position of your supervisor. You can bet
your supervisor will remember your thoughtfulness.

Listening
Practicing good listening skills with your supervisor accomplishes two goals. You learn more quickly because youre
paying closer attention, and you make it clear that you value
what your supervisor has to say (Figure 3).

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Human Relations, Part 2

FIGURE 3Ideally, both


you and your supervisor
should be a good listeners.

How do you show that youre a good listener? Establish eye


contact with your supervisor and concentrate on what he or
she is saying. Nod occasionally to show youre understanding. If you arent exactly sure what youre to do, repeat his or
her instructions to make certain you have them right. If there
is a physical activity involved, such as changing an engine
part, follow your supervisors directions and ask for feedback.
Feedback means asking questions such as, Is this right? or
Is this what you want me to do?
Asking for feedback means you want your supervisor to confirm what youve heard or are doing. It shows that youve
listened, want to get it right, and are willing to change if
youre not doing the job correctly.

Reinforcement
All these suggestions are meant to reinforce your supervisor
so your relationship will continue. They make your supervisor feel that he or she has done a good job.
The suggestions will also reduce stress in your relationship.
Stress is the feeling you get when there is conflict in a relationship. Your relationship with your supervisor will suffer if
it is always under stress. Stress is like pumping more and

Human Relations, Part 2

13

more air into a tire. Sooner or later, the tire is going to


explode. Pumping stress into a relationship does the same
thing. Reinforcing your supervisor can help to eliminate the
stress in your vertical relationship at work.
When you practice human relations skills, stress will be
replaced with comfort. Feeling comfortable is wonderful reinforcement. Think of your favorite sweater, a pair of old
athletic shoes, or a fireplace on a cold night. These are comfortable and you enjoy thinking about them. Comfort does
the same thing in a relationship. When your supervisor is
comfortable with you, he or she will want the relationship to
continue and grow stronger, so both of you will benefit.

From Your Point of View


Write down two things you do that positively reinforce your relationship
with your supervisor.
1. ________________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________________

14

Human Relations, Part 2

Self-Check 2
Indicate whether each of the following statements is True or False.

______ 1. A relationship between equals is called a vertical relationship.


______ 2. Human relations skills are useful in building good vertical relationships.
______ 3. In your relationship with your supervisor, you must often do more of the adjusting.
______ 4. The most important thing you can do to build a good vertical relationship is to be loyal.
______ 5. One way of showing loyalty is to consider your supervisors ideas fairly.
______ 6. Good listeners learn more quickly from their supervisors.
______ 7. Stress in a vertical relationship is good.

Check your answers with those on page 51.

Human Relations, Part 2

15

THE HORIZONTAL WORKING


RELATIONSHIP
What Is a Horizontal Relationship?
The relationships you share with your coworkers are called
horizontal relationships. The word horizontal is used here to
mean that you and your coworkers are equals or near equals.
This is very different from the unequal, vertical relationship
you have with a supervisor.
Your horizontal working relationships are also very important
to your success. You may like your coworkers more than
your supervisor, and you may feel more comfortable with
them. You may even socialize with them outside of work. But
in the work situation, your relationship with them is secondary to the relationship you have with your supervisor.
Establishing and maintaining positive horizontal relationships will make your work day more productive and pleasant.
Good horizontal relationships also lead to successful vertical
relationships because your supervisor has an easier time
managing employees who act as a team. Good human relations skills will help you form constructive horizontal
relationships.

Building a Good Horizontal Relationship


Balance
Establishing and maintaining good horizontal and vertical
relationships at work requires a sense of balance. You must
meet your productivity requirements by working fairly and
respecting others. Make sure you clearly understand your
performance goals and efficiency guidelines. Work productively and share responsibility for the success of the team.
Avoid favoring one or a few coworkers at the expense of others. It is natural for you to prefer certain people over others
in the social situation, but at work, there just isnt room for
favoritism. When you pay too much attention to just one per-

16

Human Relations, Part 2

son, you might treat that person better than your other
coworkers. You might come to depend on the person too
much and lower everyones productivity. This example will
point out the problem.
Jan works with four editors at a publishing company. All
five have equal importance in the company, but Jan and
Sharon are good friends. Whenever Jan has to deliver a
story to an editor, she picks Sharon last so she wont be
too busy. The other editors see this and dislike Jans
actions. They also feel overworked when they see Sharon
not doing her fair share. The worst part is that Sharon
feels bad because the others have so much work and she
has so little. Shes even beginning to wonder if she might
lose her job because shes less productive than the other
employees.
This situation could have been avoided if Jan had simply
been fair with everyone. Jan must realize that she can
give Sharon work and still be her good friend. Jan has
forgotten that at work all employees must do their share
of the work. By favoring Sharon over the others, she disturbed the balance of everyones horizontal relationships.

From Your Point of View


Think of your horizontal relationships at work. Are they all equal? If
theyre not, are you doing something that might be a problem?

Carrying Your Own Weight


Youve probably heard the expression, Carry your own
weight. This is nowhere more true than at work. The productivity of the work team and the success of horizontal
relationships depend on people carrying their own weight.
When you start a new job, find out what your supervisor and
coworkers expect of you. Then do your best to meet their
expectations. Every once in a while, take a look at your own
performance. Ask yourself if youre carrying your own weight.
Do you feel that your coworkers know youre carrying your
own weight? Ask them how youre doing. Communicate

Human Relations, Part 2

17

openly and honestly with them, and when they make suggestions, consider them seriously.
And dont be afraid to help others. Of course, you should
avoid criticizing your coworkers, but if someone is struggling,
lend them a hand. If theyre doing something wrong, see if
you can teach them the right way or encourage another
coworker to teach them. Again, be sensitive and use your
human relations skills in this situation. No one truly wants
to be viewed as lazy. If you can help someone get on track
without hurting that persons feelings, he or she will be grateful and your work team will be more productive.

From Your Point of View


Think of someone you work(ed) with who doesnt do a good job. How
can you help this person improve?

Socializing
Coworkers often become friendsnot necessarily best
friends, but good friends. It is normal for friends to enjoy
doing things together, and friends can often work well
together. However, a problem might develop when friends
spend too much time socializing in the workplace.
Positive social feelings can actually increase productivity.
However, maintaining control over socializing is necessary.
Too much talking and too little working can create productivity problems. Standing around and discussing your favorite
team or a recent shopping adventure when you should be
working keeps you from reaching your performance goals.
Then everyone suffers.
A second problem with socializing is that it can throw your
horizontal relationships out of balance. Developing cliques, or
in-crowds, that exclude other employees is a natural part of
human nature. Certain personalities are attracted to others.
People sharing a natural attraction often feel more comfortable working together and are very productive. However,
when cliques lead to favoritism and friction in the workplace,
productivity suffers. The following example shows how easy it
is for this to happen.

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Human Relations, Part 2

Pedro, Alan, and Henry play basketball together on


Saturday mornings. They also work together at a hospital
pharmacy. The hospital employs ten full time employees
in the pharmacy, and they all fill prescriptions and deliver
medication for patients in the hospital.
Pedro, Alan, and Henry are continually discussing their
basketball games. This makes the other workers feel left
out. These three also like to goof off by playing hoops
with medication containers and the trash can. When they
deliver medicine, they sometimes have cart races.
Although their actions appear harmless, Pedro, Alan, and
Henry have formed a clique which is negatively affecting their
coworkers. The others feel left out, and they resent that the
three friends are not carrying their own weight. The pharmacy is a busy place, and by their actions, the clique is not
delivering medications on time. Also, coworkers must work
harder to fill more prescriptions.
In any job, new or old, you should not allow socializing to
decrease productivity. When at work, make your coworkers
feel that youre treating them fairly by behaving consistently
toward all of them. This consistent treatment will be a bond
that strengthens all of your horizontal relationships.

From Your Point of View


Can you think of a time at work when a group socialized and didnt get
the job done?

Harmony
Teamwork is special. Groups who respect each other and
share ideas and responsibilities work well together in harmony. One place to find harmony is in a musical group.
When the members play in harmony, their music is better.
The sound is richer, the music more appealing, and the performance is better than the individual members can make
alone. At work, a group that works in harmony is more
productive and they feel better about one another. Their relationships with one another are richer, theyre able to work
without stress, and they accomplish their goals efficiently.

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19

Harmony develops over time. If youre able to work in harmony, your horizontal relationships will be stronger.
The way to work in harmony is to avoid the things that cause
its opposite, disharmony. Another word for disharmony is
discord. Following are a few suggestions to help you avoid
discord and build better horizontal relationships.
Dont be bossy. If its not your responsibility to tell others
what to do, suggest and encourage.
If someone is having a bad day and seems to be looking
for an argument, dont get involved. It takes two people
to make a conflict, and if you dont give in to your anger,
the other person will soon cool off.
If youve had a bad experience outside of work and your
attitude isnt the best, leave your attitude at home. Your
coworkers didnt cause your problem, so you shouldnt
aim your aggression at them. When youre having a bad
day, keep it to yourself.
Dont blame others when the group fails to meet its
goals. Look at the problem and discuss it among yourselves. Try to get to the bottom of it without being
negative or critical.
Be alert for days youre feeling tired or sick. These are
times when you might not have enough energy to use
your human relations skills appropriately.

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Human Relations, Part 2

Self-Check 3
Match each phrase in Column A with its description in Column B.

Column A

Column B

______ 1. Horizontal relationship

a. Treating one coworker better than others

______ 2. Favoritism

b. When people work together smoothly and


productively

______ 3. Carrying your own weight

c. A relationship you have with your coworkers

______ 4. Socializing

d. Wasting time at work by talking too much with


your coworkers

______ 5. Harmony

e. Doing your fair share of work

Check your answers with those on page 51.

Human Relations, Part 2

21

THE NATURE OF WORKING


RELATIONSHIPS
You probably already know that relationships vary greatly
from situation to situation. Family relationships, for example,
are involuntary. You dont choose the people who are in your
family. Instead, youre born, adopted, or married into it. This
adds a high level of acceptance and permanence to family
relationships. Members of a family are more tolerant of each
other than they are of outsiders. They also know that the
family relationship will last a long, long time.
Social relationships among friends are almost completely voluntary. You can choose your friends, choose when you want
to be with them, and choose what you do with them. The voluntary nature of a social relationship means that the people
involved control how the relationship grows.
The working relationship is different from both the family and
social relationship. Youre not born into a job, but neither are
you completely free to choose your coworkers. A working
relationship falls somewhere between family and social relationships.
In the remainder of this section, well discuss six major characteristics that affect relationships. Well focus on how they
apply to the working relationship.

Mutual Reward Theory


Weve spoken already about reinforcement and how its like
a reward. When you try a new restaurant, for instance, and
enjoy a wonderful meal there, youll be more likely to return
to the restaurant. Going to the restaurant is the behavior and
enjoying a good meal is the reinforcement or reward. If youre
wise in selecting a restaurant, your reward is a good meal.
For a relationship to continue in a positive direction, it must
be rewarding to those involved. This is called Mutual Reward
Theory or MRT. Mutual rewards are forms of reinforcement
that are exchanged between people.

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Human Relations, Part 2

Mutual Reward Theory suggests that relationships will grow


as long as the people involved reinforce one another. The following example will clarify what this means.
Tom and Frank began working in a printing plant at the
same time. Because they were new, they attended the
employee training program together. They shared their
training experiences, and they both did well. When they
started their jobs in the plant, they got together at lunch
and discussed their new jobs and coworkers. Although
they worked in different departments, Tom and Frank
found that they could help one another. When Tom
unloaded paper from a truck, he knew that Frank would
have an easier time moving it if the skid faced a certain
direction. Frank learned that when he returned the empty
skid, if he pulled the staples from it, there was less
chance that Tom would hurt himself when he stacked it.
The above example shows several different types of reinforcement or rewards. When they started working, Tom and Frank
provided one another with emotional support. Their discussions helped them succeed in the training program. They
continued to support each other when they began working in
the plant, and were even able to increase the productivity of
their departments. All of these things generated a good feeling and helped Tom and Frank succeed at work. Their
behavior was mutually rewarding, so it is likely that their
relationship will grow.

Value Conflicts
In the human relations field, values are those ideas, things,
or events people believe are important. Some commonly held
values are family relationships, church, life style, and even
the way you want other people to think of you. People have
different values, and sometimes conflicts can arise as a
result.
Noreen worked for Robert in a small business supply
store. One of Noreens values was her strong religious
beliefs. Because of these beliefs, she chose not to work on
Sunday.

Human Relations, Part 2

23

One of Roberts jobs was to take inventory. Sometimes, to


get the job done, he worked on Sunday. He asked Noreen
if she wanted to work, and she explained why she couldnt.
The situation had the potential for a conflict of values.
Noreens religious beliefs were in conflict with Roberts
needs.
This conflict could have ended the working relationship
between Robert and Noreen. But with a little consideration, the conflict was solved. Noreen asked Robert if she
could work on Friday night or all day Saturday in order
to complete her inventory tasks. This would help solve
the problem. Robert was flexible and accepted Noreens
request. As it turned out, neither of them had to work on
Sunday.
Sooner or later, people involved in a working relationship will
experience value conflicts. When this happens, consideration,
flexibility, tolerance, and honest communication can prevent
the conflict from becoming a serious problem. In fact, it can
turn the situation into a positive experience in which mutual
respect develops.

Ethnic Implications
When you come right down to it, you might not have much
choice about the people you work with. Earning a living is
something most all of us must do, and its likely that well
come into contact with people of different races or backgrounds. For some people, these differences are a significant
problem. Others, however, have learned that because someone is different doesnt mean he or she is less capable or
acceptable (Figure 4). The following example shows how people can be surprised by others who are different.
When Ned showed up for his first day at the garage, he
was surprised to learn that one of the mechanics was a
woman from a foreign country. Ned had never worked
with a woman mechanic before. Also, he had never met a
person of Tanyas race. Ned didnt dislike minorities. Its
just that he grew up in an area where few people of any
minority group lived. Ned soon noticed that Tanya was a

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Human Relations, Part 2

FIGURE 4People with


different backgrounds
can learn to work well
together.

good worker. She had been in her countrys army and had
been trained very well as a mechanic. She also seemed to
get along well with everyone and had a great sense of
humor. Ned still felt uncomfortable with Tanya, and
couldnt think of anything to say to her. That morning, at
coffee break, Tanya came over and introduced herself. She
told Ned that if he needed any help, shed be happy to
give it to him. Then, just before lunch, she asked him to
lend her a hand on a car that afternoon.
We dont know how this situation will end, but its getting off
to a good start. Ned felt uncomfortable with Tanya. This is an
honest feeling thats perfectly understandable, especially with
his starting a new job. But Ned recognized his feelings and
was careful not to confuse discomfort with dislike. He wasnt
comfortable with Tanya, but he didnt dislike her. Tanya used
positive human relations skills to make Ned feel at home. She
introduced herself and offered to help Ned if he needed it.
Whats even better, she later asked for his help. Her willingness to help Ned showed him that she was sincere and made
it more likely that he would succeed in his new job. Also,
Tanyas asking for help suggested to Ned that she knew he
was capable, a feeling everyone enjoys.
Ethnic differences between people dont have to cause problems. You dont have to be best friends with everyone. However,
by showing respect for people who are different and spending
time with them, youll learn more about them. The more you
know, the more likely youll be to get along with them. Your
working relationship will grow stronger, even if you dont
share a social relationship.

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25

From Your Point of View


Think of a person you know whos very different from you. How did you
feel when you first met the person? Did your relationship improve as you
got to know each other better?

Sexual Overtones
When women and men work together, there is always a
chance for a working relationship to develop into romance.
This is a natural development, and no matter what management says about romance on the job, it is going to happen
anyway. Some working romances end up just fine, while others bring about problems for everyone involved.
Jerry and Cathy worked in a nursing home. They knew
each other for a few years, but never really dated. Both of
them ended a relationship at about the same time, and
because they were lonely, they started seeing one another.
Their romance grew, but they didnt want it to affect their
work. They didnt hide their relationship from their
coworkers or supervisors, but they did their best to be
productive. They also worked hard to keep positive relationships with their coworkers.
The case of Jerry and Cathy shows that an on-the-job
romance can work out well if the people involved are clear
about their feelings and keep personal or work feelings and
roles separate. By being aware of their feelings and controlling them, Jerry and Cathy were able to maintain good
working relationships.
Romance can also occur between a worker and a supervisor.
Again, such a relationship can be positive, but there is
also the possibility that it may negatively affect the work
environment.
Kent, the son of the founder of a company, began working
in the company as vice-president. Justine, the office manager, had a great deal of contact with Kent. She was
flattered when Kent began paying attention to her, and
was overjoyed when he asked her out.

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Human Relations, Part 2

The other people at work, however, felt that Justines relationship with Kent was unfair. Soon, Justines coworkers
began to ignore her and Justines productivity at work
began to fall. Kent, who was something of a ladies man,
let Justine know he was no longer interested in her. He
began dating some of the other women in the office.
Before long, the whole office was suffering from lack of
productivity and many people had been hurt.
In this situation, Kent was inconsiderate. He used his position to
make advances toward the women at work. He was very thoughtless and insensitive, and as a result, many people suffered.
Workplace romances are risky. They can result in a happy
relationship, but they can also come to an unpleasant end.
As a rule, you should approach them with great caution.
Think about the consequences, both current and future, and
be especially sensitive to your coworkers. Perhaps the best
way to consider a workplace romance is to ask yourself this
question: Is my job worth it? There are times when workplace romances result in one or both people either leaving the
job or moving to another position. You must decide if youre
willing to pay this price.

Age Differences
Todays workplace includes people of all ages, from the late
teens through the early seventies. When individuals of different ages work together, there is both an opportunity to learn
from one another and the possibility of disharmony. Older
workers can offer younger workers a great deal of experience,
knowledge, and patience (Figure 5). Younger workers bring
new ideas, enthusiasm, and high energy. When their efforts
combine, the results can be productive and satisfying for
everyone involved, as in the following situation:
Lynn is the head clerk in a supermarket and has worked
there for over 20 years. Ann is much younger than Lynn
and has just begun working in the store as a checker.
Lynn and Ann have an OK working relationship, but its
not very good. Ann just doesnt like being told what to do,
so she isnt learning her job very quickly. Lynn is disappointed in Ann because she thinks Ann is lazy.

Human Relations, Part 2

27

FIGURE 5In todays


workplace, people of
different ages must
learn to work together.

One day Lynn asked Ann if she knew a faster way to find
prices for unmarked items. This chore slowed her checkout speed and often led to customer complaints. Ann had
an idea for solving Lynns problem and shared it with her.
Anns solution worked and Lynn complimented her. Later
that day, Ann asked Lynn to show her how she bags groceries so quickly.
The conflict between Lynn and Ann is a typical old-young
conflict. Almost always, a conflict like this is ended when the
people involved take a chance and ask for or accept help
from each other. The next step is that the people begin
respecting one another. Soon, the relationship is moving
along smoothly.
The source of conflict between older and younger workers is
sometimes found in the paycheck. An older worker with
many years of seniority earns much more than a younger
worker doing similar tasks. The younger worker may feel the
company is being unfair and might resent the older worker.
The older worker may dislike having to train another rookie
who keeps making the same mistakes. Other sources of conflict between older and younger workers include value
conflicts, differences in life styles, and opposing attitudes
toward work.
Age-based conflicts can be avoided by following good human
relations skills. Tolerance, consideration, communication,
and flexibility will make it more likely that a positive relationship will develop. Correct or positive self-talk will also help.

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Human Relations, Part 2

An example of correct self-talk for the older worker:


Hes young and inexperienced. I was like that once, and Im
sure hell grow into the job. He has a lot of energy and learns
quickly. Perhaps I can teach him the job and help him mature.
An example of correct self-talk for the younger worker:
Shes not so bad. She knows the job well and is trying to
help me. So she doesnt like my music and the way I joke
around. Its no big deal. I can tone it down. Maybe Im old
enough to be acting more mature, at least at work.

Irritation Threshold
The people in a working relationship spend much time
together. Sometimes this close contact weakens their relationship because of something called the irritation threshold.

From Your Point of View


Write down the name of an older person with whom you work and one
thing you like about the person. Then write one thing you think the person likes about you.
Name of older person: ________________________________________
What you like about him or her: ________________________________
What he or she likes about you: ________________________________

In human relations, the irritation threshold is the point at


which a person notices something and becomes annoyed. The
action that causes the annoyance can be anything from
excessive complaining (Would you stop whining!) to a personal style (Just once you should do the job my way!).
What makes the irritation threshold so hard to determine is
that its always changing. An action thats acceptable today
can be annoying tomorrow. There are five factors that affect
the irritation threshold.
The behavior itself. Some things are just more annoying
than others. Bragging, being negative, and acting like a bully,
for example, can be more irritating than coughing, speaking
too loudly, or acting shy.

Human Relations, Part 2

29

FIGURE
19Use this
problem figure
determining
the value
The frequency
ofexample
the behavior.
Howfor
often
something
hap-of
C.
pens determines how annoying it is. Someone who coughs
once in a while isnt annoying. Someone who sits beside you
on a plane from New York to San Francisco and coughs for
six hours straight can test your patience.

The strength of the behavior. A strong behavior or attitude


is more annoying than a weaker one. If you dont like the
mayor of your town and say so after the election, very few
people will be annoyed. If you direct all your conversations so
you have a chance to criticize the mayor, your friends will
consider you annoying.
How long the behavior lasts. If your favorite team loses
the big game, you might be down for an hour or two. The
next day, you might even talk the game over with your
friends and express your disappointment. This isnt annoying. If you continue to replay the big game for six months
and remain depressed about it, theres no doubt that youre
annoying people.
The attitude of the people around you. People who are in
a good mood are more tolerant of things that might otherwise
be annoying.
The irritation threshold is a greater problem in working relationships than in the family or among friends. Fortunately,
you can avoid crossing the irritation threshold by considering
these five simple questions.
Is there an action I do thats annoying in general?
Is there an action I do too often?
Is there an action I do that involves strong feelings
others might not share?
Is there an action I do over and over for a long time?
What is the mood of the people around me?
If you answer these questions honestly and are willing to
change your behavior, you can prevent yourself from crossing
the irritation threshold.

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Human Relations, Part 2

From Your Point of View


List two actions that other people do that annoy you.
1. ________________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________________
Do you have any behaviors that might annoy others?

Human Relations, Part 2

31

YOU AND YOUR SUPERVISORS


The most important working relationship you have is with
your supervisor. Your coworkers might be closer to you personally, but your supervisor is your guide to a successful
career. You should know as much as you can about the role
of supervisors so you can build positive relationships with
them at work.

Characteristics of Supervisors
The chief reason a person becomes a supervisor is workrelated knowledge. Supervisors have learned about their own
job and the jobs of their employees through experience. They
have gained experience in their present company or while
working for another company. Supervisors have confidence in
their abilities. They believe they can get the job done and that
they can help others work better. They also believe they have
the personnel skills necessary to get the most out of their
employees.
A third characteristic of supervisors is strength of personality.
Supervisors must be strong enough to motivate themselves
and other people. They want to get the job done and are able
to overcome problems when they arise.
Finally, you must remember that supervisors each have a
unique style. They have many similar characteristics, but
theyre also very different from one another. You should keep
this in mind so you dont always respond to all supervisors in
the same way.

From Your Point of View


Think of a supervisor youve worked with. It can be your current job or
another job. Ask yourself these questions:
Did the supervisor know the job?
Did the supervisor appear confident?
How did the supervisor show strength of personality?
What was the supervisors unique style?

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Human Relations, Part 2

The Supervisory Role


Supervisors do much more than check on you once in a
while. They actually play many different roles that affect you
and your career. These roles greatly affect your relationships
with them.

Teacher
First and foremost, supervisors are teachers. They teach you
how to do a job. If you know the job already, they should
help you improve your performance. Supervisors are also
expected to teach you new skills when they become necessary, as the following example shows.
Brandon works for an overnight delivery company. The
company has just started using a new hand-held computer to schedule deliveries. Two weeks before issuing the
computers, Brandons supervisor Janice spent a few days
with him. She showed him how to use the computer and
how to solve problems when they arose. She also spent
some time explaining how the computer would make
Brandons job easier and would help him serve his customers better.

Leader
In the example about Brandon and Janice, Janice did more
than just explain how to use the computer. She also helped
Brandon understand how it would help him provide better
service to his customers. By doing this, she showed leadership. She strengthened their relationship by leading him to
do a better job and to feel better about his job.

Counselor
At times in the vertical relationship, the employee might need
more than job knowledge. A personal problem might arise
that the employee cannot handle alone. When this happens,
the supervisor may become a counselor. A counselor is a person who helps someone see a situation or problem clearly, so
the person can decide what to do.

Human Relations, Part 2

33

Counselors dont really give advice. Instead, they help a person make a wise decision by providing information to clarify
feelings. The following example shows how Janice helped
Brandon by counseling him.
Janice trained Brandon by teaching him how to use the
handheld computer to schedule deliveries. During that
time, Brandon asked Janice if she thought it would be
wise for him to take a night school course about computers. Instead of saying, Yes, or No, Janice asked
Brandon why he wanted to take the course, if he anticipated any problems getting to school, and if he was
willing to make the commitment to complete the course
once he started. Following the conversation, Brandon
decided that he did indeed want to take the course. He
would work hard to succeed, and he would finish.
This situation makes an important point about the counseling role supervisors play. They dont make decisions for
people or push them into something. Janice helped Brandon
clarify his thinking. Then, he was able to make the right
choice on his own.

Advocate
The fourth role supervisors play is as advocates. An advocate
is a person who supports your efforts and who looks out for
your best interest. Supervisors usually serve as advocates for
employees when its time for a promotion, salary increase, or
solution to a job-related problem.
After deciding that he wanted to take the computer course
at night, Brandon learned that it started at 6:00 P.M. This
was a problem because he didnt finish work until 5:30,
and the school was 45 minutes from the garage. He discussed his situation with Janice.
Janice went to her boss, the district manager. She
explained the situation to him and suggested that
Brandon could come to work half and hour early and
leave at 5:00. Her boss agreed and Brandon was very
pleased.

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Human Relations, Part 2

The advocacy role of the supervisor is essential to your


career. Supervisors stand between the employee and the
upper levels of management. You communicate through your
supervisor with upper management. If your supervisor is also
your advocate, you can be sure the communication is in your
best interest.

From Your Point of View


Think about a good supervisor youve had. How did the person act as a
teacher, leader, counselor, or advocate?

Working with Your Supervisor


The roles of the supervisor suggest some things you can do to
work well with your supervisor:
Be a good learner. Because supervisors have considerable
knowledge, you should try to learn as much as you can from
them. You can learn by watching, by listening, and by asking
questions. Remember, if you work at being a good learner,
your supervisor will have an easier time being a good teacher.
Be a good follower. Leaders need good followers, so you
should trust that your supervisor is moving you in the right
direction. Cooperate with him/her, so you can work together
as a team. Youll find that your work is more pleasant and
that youre more productive.
Seek counsel when you need it. When you have questions
you cant answer or problems you cant solve alone, turn to
your supervisor. Your supervisor cant be expected to make
decisions for you. You must make the decisions about your
life, but your supervisor can help you organize your thoughts
and feelings to lead you to the correct decision.
Depend on your supervisor as an advocate. When its
time for you to communicate with upper level management,
go through your supervisor. Along with demonstrating trust,
youre also avoiding the problem of going over your supervisors head. Bypassing your supervisor and contacting
management directly may cause serious problems.

Human Relations, Part 2

35

Self-Check 4
1. Consideration, flexibility, tolerance, and honest communication
a.
b.
c.
d.

are types of Mutual Reward Theory.


can help in overcoming value conflicts among workers.
cant turn negative situations into positive situations.
are factors determining the irritation threshold.

2. Before becoming romantically involved with a coworker, you should


a.
b.
c.
d.

get your bosss permissions first.


apply for another job at another place.
carefully consider possible present and future consequences.
find out if it would bother your coworkers.

3. While persons sometimes get jobs they arent qualified to do, the chief reason a person
becomes a supervisor is her or his
a. unique style.
b. strength of personality.

c. confidence.
d. work-related knowledge.

4. What do supervisors do in their capacity as counselors?


a.
b.
c.
d.

They
They
They
They

help workers to make good decisions.


check upon workers while theyre working.
tell workers which decisions are best.
teach workers how to do their jobs.

Check your answers with those on page 51.

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Human Relations, Part 2

UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP
AND FOLLOWERSHIP
In the productive workplace, there are leaders (supervisors)
and followers (employees). Both are necessary, and neither
can exist without the other. To be productive and move up
the career ladder, you must know why leadership is so
important and how to be a good follower.

The Need for Supervision


To achieve a goal, you must have direction. Action is necessary, of course, but if action is not aimed in the right direction,
its wasted. Supervisors provide the direction thats necessary
to reach goals.
Some employees ask, Why is a supervisor necessary once
Ive learned how to do the job? This is a fair question, and
there are several answers.
Most employees can quickly learn how to do a job if everything is running smoothly. When a problem arises, however,
an employee might not have the experience necessary to
solve the problem. This is where supervision comes in.
Because of their experience and job knowledge, supervisors
can often solve problems before they get out of hand.
Consider the following:
Kim worked for a landscaping company driving a riding
lawn mower. She had been doing this job for several summers and knew it well. She began to think that the
supervisor of her crew wasnt necessary.
One day she was driving the mower when it just stopped.
The motor was still running, but she couldnt get it to
move. She didnt know what to do, so she called to her
supervisor. Kim was afraid she had damaged the mower.
Her supervisor smiled when he came over and told her
not to worry. He explained that the drive belt had broken.
Then he shut the mower off and began teaching her how
to replace the belt. That day, Kim learned two important
lessons.

Human Relations, Part 2

37

Kims supervisor was there when she needed him to solve a


problem. He also showed her how to solve it herself in the
future. He had confidence in her, and by teaching her how to
fix the mower, he prepared her for the day when she would
be a supervisor herself.
Supervision is necessary to provide motivation. Jobs, even the
very best ones, can sometimes become boring. Supervisors
can lift the spirits of their employees so they overcome boredom and do the best job they can.
Kate supervised three employees who cleaned houses. She
received some complaints from her clients about the
houses not being cleaned as well as they had been in the
past. Her employees also seemed to be bored and didnt
work as well as they had when she started the business.
Kate solved the problem by changing the system so that
each employee learned a new part of the job each week.
She taught them what to do and worked with them until
they learned how to do it. They began to change cleaning
tasks each month. The employees were happier because
they werent bored with always doing the same work.
Kates clients were also happier because their houses were
cleaner.
Supervision is necessary to provide training. Remember
the example concerning Brandon and his supervisor Janice?
Janice taught Brandon how to use a new hand-held computer. The computer would make Brandons job easier and
help him to provide his clients with better service. She
trained him how to be more productive, which is just what
supervisors should do.
Supervision is necessary to guarantee quality control.
Quality control ensures that the goods or services provided to
customers are of high quality (Figure 6). This is one of the
most vital parts of any job. Without quality control, a business can fail and you can lose your job.
The Acme Brass Company manufactured doorknobs of the
highest quality for many years. Recently, a number of
their customers complained about the knobs becoming
discolored after a few months. The customers werent very
happy. Fritz and Linda, two supervisors at the factory,

38

Human Relations, Part 2

FIGURE 6Supervisors
help to solve problems
and provide quality
control.

asked their employees if there was a problem. The


employees all said no. Fritz and Linda decided to spend
several days with their employees to see if they could discover the source of the problem.
After three days, they had found nothing. The employees
seemed to be doing the job correctly and the machines
seemed to be operating just fine. While discussing the
problem, Fritz and Linda thought of a possibility. The
brass itself could be the problem. They checked the stock
they were using and found that a new supplier had been
giving them poor quality brass. They contacted the supplier and explained the situation. He checked it out and
found that one of his machines was working incorrectly.
He was able to repair it and give them better brass. The
problem was solved.
The above example shows that supervisors, because of their
experience, can often solve quality problems others cant.
They know the job, the employees, the equipment, and the
raw materials. Their knowledge, plus the help of their
employees, will go far in ensuring that the highest quality
products or services are provided to the customers.
Working through your supervisor is the best way to communicate with management. Employees sometimes feel
that the bosses never listen to us. They often develop a bad
attitude, their work suffers, and they might even quit their

Human Relations, Part 2

39

jobs or be fired. Good supervisors, however, can avoid this


problem by acting as a channel for employees to communicate with management.
The employees in the Centerville Auto Supply store were
not happy. The shelves in the store were too close
together and they could not move around easily when
they had to get parts. The shelves were also poorly organized, and it was hard to find parts. Because the employees
were slow in finding the correct parts, customers became
angry.
The employees complained to the supervisor, Gary. He
couldnt solve the problem himself, so he asked the
employees for some ideas. Then he brought their ideas to
the store owners. They liked some of the ideas and made
the changes the employees suggested. The employees felt
proud that the owners had listened to their suggestions.
They also worked more efficiently, sold more parts, and
had happier customers.
A supervisor can maintain good communication between
employees and managers. Good communication, youll
remember, contributes to employee satisfaction and productivity. When a supervisor can keep the channels of
communication open between employees and managers,
everyone, including customers, will benefit.

Learning How to Follow


Most people know that being a leader requires effort, training, and experience. Not many people realize that being a
good follower also requires effort, training, and experience.
Good followers are made, not born. If you want to succeed in
your joband eventually become a leaderyou must first
learn to be a follower.
In learning to be a follower, you must make a commitment to
do the best job you possibly can. Youll strive to meet your
productivity requirements and achieve your goals. If problems
arise, youll work to overcome them rather than just giving
up. Doing your best shows your supervisor and other managers that you accept your role as a team member.

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Human Relations, Part 2

When it comes time for promotion to better jobs, the people


who make the decisions will be more likely to consider you
because youve shown loyalty and have worked hard. In fact,
doing your best and being a good follower are necessary steps
to becoming a good leader.
When you make a mistake, and everyone does, accept
responsibility for what youve done. Learn from the experience and do better next time. The following example shows
how a mistake can become a successful learning experience.
EJ is a carpenters helper. He was given the job of driving
nails into wood trim and filling the holes with putty. He
liked the job and worked for an hour before the carpenter
came to examine his work.
The carpenter looked at the work and said that EJ was
doing a good job. He added though that EJ had forgotten
to sand the covered nail holes before they dried. This
method, he explained, takes a little more time but makes
the job look a lot better.
EJ admitted that he knew better. He had simply forgotten
and would be more careful during the rest of the job.
Then he asked the carpenter how he could correct what
he had done already. The carpenter taught him how and
EJ caught on quickly. In about 15 minutes he had sanded
all the trim on which he had worked. Then he continued
working, doing the job right the first time.
When the carpenter noticed the mistake, EJ accepted responsibility. He admitted his mistake and showed a willingness to
correct his mistake. His positive attitude impressed the carpenter, and a learning experience occurred. The carpenter
was pleased with EJ and would continue to teach him.
Respect yourself and your work. Its hard to be a good
follower if youre unhappy with yourself or your work. If you
know your capabilities and limitations and understand your
value, youll work productively and be respected for your
efforts.
Jill delivers meals to older people who cant leave the
house. The job isnt very exciting and doesnt pay well,
but Jill knows how important it is to the older people.

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41

When she delivers the meals, she makes sure theyre hot
and look appealing. She helps the older people set up
their table and does a few small chores before she leaves.
One day, Jill was called into her supervisors office. When
she got there, she was surprised to see the town mayor
and newspaper people. They presented her with an award
and wrote a story about her for the newspaper. Everyone
was proud of the wonderful job Jill was doing.
In the many years Jill had worked, she never once
thought her efforts would receive recognition. Still, she
knew the value of her work and the happiness it brought
to those she served. Much to Jills surprise, the older people and her supervisors were all paying careful attention.
Because of her excellent work, she had earned their
respect.

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Human Relations, Part 2

Self-Check 5
Indicate whether each of the following statements is True or False.

______ 1. One of the jobs of a supervisor is to solve problems when they arise.
______ 2. When an employee lacks motivation, a good supervisor may help to supply it.
______ 3. Quality control helps to guarantee that goods and services are acceptable to customers.
______ 4. Its a good idea to communicate directly with management instead of going through
your supervisor.
______ 5. Effort is required to become a good follower.
______ 6. If you make a mistake, you should accept responsibility for it.
______ 7. Knowing your capabilities and limitations helps you to be productive.

Check your answers with those on page 52.

Human Relations, Part 2

43

THE PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYEE


This course has already taught you a great deal about
human relations, productivity, being a leader, and being a
follower. This section explains how to apply your knowledge
to reach your potential on the job.

The Productivity Equation


In arithmetic, an equation shows when numbers are equal.
An arithmetic equation we all know is that 2 2 4. Theres
another equation that we all know, and this one is in the
workplace. It called the productivity equation.
happy employees good supervision productivity
When employees have a positive attitude and are guided by a
good supervisor, theyre very productive. Moreover, they enjoy
their work and feel that theyre doing their best. Theyre productive as individuals, they work well together as a team,
and they reach their goals without wasting time, materials, or
effort. The example below shows a group thats extremely
productive (Figure 7).
FIGURE 7Advanced planning and training prepares
workers to act as a team.

A car skidded on an icy patch of Main Street and swerved


into a tree. The passengers were seriously injured. Within
minutes, the ambulance team was on the scene. The team
leader jumped out of the ambulance and took a quick
look at the situation. While he was looking it over, his

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Human Relations, Part 2

team began unloading their equipment. They moved into


action at once, with the leader shouting orders and the
rest of the team carrying them out precisely.
Because of advanced planning, everything they needed
was at their fingertips. Not a step was wasted as the team
got the people out of the car and onto stretchers. Within
15 minutes, the injured people had received emergency
care and were on their way to the hospital.
This ambulance crew is the perfect example of the productive
team. They enjoyed their jobs and knew how important they
were. They had prepared for their job by having all the tools
and equipment they needed ready. They were productive
because they were well trained and worked well as a team. At
the scene of the accident, they followed the team leaders
directions and went right to work. They achieved their goal
and saved the injured people without any wasted effort.
The example of the ambulance crew points out an additional
benefit of productivity. When you do your job well, many
people benefit. Its not just ambulance crews or doctors who
contribute to society. Every person who performs honest
work to the best of his or her ability is directly or indirectly
helping others live a better life. The following example shows
this.
Tom works in a store that sells mens and womens clothing. This is his tenth year at the store. He has always
done a good job and tries his hardest to help his customers find what they want and get a good price. Even so,
Tom sometimes feels disappointed in himself. He feels
that his job is unimportant and that his friends jobs are
so much better.
One day near Christmas, Bernice came in to buy gifts.
Everyone in town knows Bernice. Shes 85 years old and
has been involved in community affairs for her whole life.
Shes one of Toms favorite customers. With Bernice was
her son Dick, a famous writer.
When Tom went to wait on Bernice, she stopped him and
introduced him to her son, Dick. Tom was surprised when
Dick said, Bernice speaks so well of you, Tom, and its a
pleasure to meet you. Youve helped her pick out gifts for

Human Relations, Part 2

45

the whole family for many years and have brought so


much joy into our lives. I wish everyone could do such a
wonderful job.
The lesson Tom learned is extremely important. Success
should be measured not by what you do, but by how well you
do it. All of us are contributing to the common good, and the
better we do our jobs, the better everyone will enjoy life.
Theres another important idea you should keep in mind. The
world has changed in the last 20 years, and international
business competition has increased. Doing the best job you
can is helping to keep your country strong. If everybody is
effective (reaches goals) and efficient (wasting as little as possible), then your country can produce high-quality goods at
fair prices and remain competitive on the world market.

From Your Point of View


Think about the different ways that the work you do affects the common
good.

Standing Out in the Crowd


Did you ever get the feeling that nobody notices or cares what
you do at work? This is a feeling that many people have, and,
believe it or not, theyre wrong. In almost every job, supervisors, managers, owners, and customers really do care about
you and your work. The problem is that they cant always
find the time to express their feelings, or they might not
know how.
Communicating with them shouldnt be much of a problem
for you, because by now, you know about human relations,
positive attitudes, and productivity. But just in case its a
problem, here are two more suggestions to help you stand
out in the crowd at work.
The first suggestion is to always do your best no matter how
those around youre working. It sometimes happens that a
worker falls down on the job and does just enough to get
by. Other workers realize that the person gets away with it

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Human Relations, Part 2

and decide to try it themselves. Soon all the workers are


being lazy and unproductive. But as the following example
shows, this isnt the way to be.
Manuel is a car jockey. He parks cars at a big hotel
thats near a famous university campus. This weekend,
theres a football game at the nearby stadium and the
hotel is crowded. One of the car jockeys, Adam, decides
that hes not going to hurry to get customers cars. He
tells the others, We still get paid if we work slowly, and
these people dont tip very much anyway.
Soon the other car jockeys are taking more time than is
necessary to get customers cars. But not Manuel. He says
to himself, I wouldnt like waiting for my car, and I know
that other people feel the same way. He runs to get every
car and always says something nice to the people who
own it.
The other car jockeys notice Manuel is working hard and
begin to feel bad. They also see that Manuel is earning
more tips. Theyre not the only ones who notice. The hotel
manager sees how well Manuel is working and sends for
him. He thanks Manuel for doing such a fine job and tells
him that many of the customers have praised his work.
He adds that when the supervisors job becomes available,
he will certainly consider Manuel.
Manuel did the right thing by working hard even though others werent. He also showed loyalty to his employer because
he put the hotels customers ahead of his coworkers. This is
the second way to stand out in the crowd.
How do you show loyalty? There are a number of ways to do
this.
Do your best job.
Listen to your supervisor.
Tell other people what a good product your company
makes or what a good service it provides.
Dont criticize your supervisor or the company. If you
have a complaint or suggestion, talk to your supervisor.

Human Relations, Part 2

47

Dont be negative about the company with your coworkers. Instead, discuss how you can make the company
better.
Keep in mind that your job depends on the success of
the company. If the company is successful, then youll
benefit.
Do everything you can to have good vertical relationships
with your supervisor, the management, and the owners.
Do everything you can to develop and maintain good horizontal relationships.
Treat everyone in the company with respect.
Even if youll someday change jobs, think of the company you work at as the place youll spend the rest of
your life. This will help you do everything you can to
make the company a better place to work.

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Human Relations, Part 2

Self-Check 6
Indicate whether each of the following statements is True or False.

______ 1. Happy employees plus good supervision equals productivity.


______ 2. The common good is served only by people who are doctors, nurses, or other health
professionals.
______ 3. You arent the only one who benefits when you do your job well.
______ 4. When you feel as if no one notices whether you do a good job, youre probably right.
______ 5. Although good workers can influence others to do better work, poor workers dont influence others to be lazy or unproductive.
______ 6. A loyal employee does his or her best for the company.

Check your answers with those on page 52.

Human Relations, Part 2

49

NOTES

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Human Relations, Part 2

Self-Check Answers 1
1. d

3. d
4. c
5. c

Self-Check Answers 2
1. False
2. True
3. True
4. False
5. True
6. True
7. False

Self-Check Answers 3
1. c
2 a
3. e
4. d
5. b

Self-Check Answers 4
1. b
2. c
3. d

Answers

2. b

4. a

51

Self-Check Answers 5
1. True
2. True
3. True
4. False
5. True
6. True
7. True

Self-Check Answers 6
1. True
2. False
3. True
4. False
5. False
6. True

52

Self-Check Answers