You may not realize it, but you can actually use your psychology skills in the workplace, especially if you are team lead, supervisor or manager. How is that? Well, when you analyze the motivations of your employees and/or explore their behaviors within the workplace, you are using psychology, although it may not feel like it. Also, when you promote employees to higher level positions and/or hire prospective candidates for specific positions, you are putting your psychological expertise to work. So, even if you are not working in a “psychological field,” you can still put your psychology degree to good use! If you are looking for ways to use your psychology skills to manage employees – you have come to the right place. This article will teach you how to utilize your psychology skills in any field or industry.
Listed below are ways that you can use your psychology skills to manage employees:
• What motivates your employees?
What motivates your employees to work? In other words, do they come to work every day because they need the money to pay bills and put food on the table, enjoy working with others in a team environment, desire prestige, status and respect and/or simply want to add purpose to their lives? Truth-be-told, most people have to work to provide for themselves and their families, but many times there is a reason why they choose to work in a specific field or industry. What do you think your employees expect to receive from the job? Do you think the job is meeting their expectations? Think about what motivates you and apply that same motivation to others.
In other words, your motivations are probably similar, if not the same, as most employees. Moreover, when you interact or “coach” your employees, keep in mind their motivations. For example, if an employee wants to advance from customer service representative to team lead, get to know him or her to see what motivates him or her. Once you have a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the employee, assign him or her tasks and projects that will help him or her excel. FYI – the best way to learn the motivations of your employees is to get to know them.
• What does your boss want from the employees?
What does your boss want from the employees? In other words, what the purpose and mission of the company and what are the job functions of the employees? What are the production and quality standards and are the employees meeting those requirements? If the employees are not meeting those requirements, what can you do to help them meet them? Is your boss more concerned with the “numbers” or with people “liking” him or her? Your job is to determine what your boss wants and expects from you and your employees. Once you have a good idea of what your boss and the company is looking for, you can help your employees meet those metrics. FYI – the best way to boost quality and production scores is to provide a positive and upbeat work environment. Acknowledge and reward the employees that are meeting or exceeding expectations and coach and encourage those who need a little extra help.
• How are your leadership skills?
How are your leadership skills? It is important to note that everyone is not a leader, which is not a bad thing. If everyone was leaders nothing would ever get accomplished! It is also important to note that there is a difference between being a leader and being a manager. A leader is a visionary. This person thinks ahead towards the future. He or she also sets both short-term and long-term goals. A manager, on the other hand, manages or supervises employees. This person makes sure that employees are effectively performing their jobs. He or she takes direction from upper management and then passes those directives down to the supervisor, team leader and employees. Regardless of whether or not you are destined to be a leader, leadership skills are a plus – especially when combined with psychology skills. Sharpen your skills by attending leadership seminars, conferences and classes.
• What are your employees’ strengths and weaknesses?
What are your employees’ strengths and weaknesses? In other words, what areas do your employees excel in and what areas need improvement? Before picking an employee to complete a special project, task or assignment, consider his or her strengths and weaknesses. Why? Well, because it will help you choose the right person for the job. When discussing weaknesses/areas of improvement, make sure you are direct, honest and respectful. In other words, make sure that your employee understands that this is a learning experience and not a criticism. Also, make sure your employee feels as if you actually care about him or her. Employees that feel respected and valued work harder and more efficiently than those who don’t.
American Management Association. (2014). The psychology of management: Why people do what they do. Retrieved from http://www.amanet.org/training/seminars/The-Psychology- of-Management-Why-People-Do-What-They-Do.aspx
California State University – East Bay. (2014). Career relevant skills psychology majors can acquire. Retrieved from http://www20.csueastbay.edu/csci/departments/psychology/careers/skills.html