Older Team Members are assets ( post 4)

I am volunteer coordinator at my rescue, but also VP of dog care. Since we have no paid staff we depend entirely on volunteers to ensure the animals are getting the proper care they deserve and our facility is being sanitized two times a day to ensure that we do not a disease breakout. I find the most effective way is to hold my volunteer accountable as if they were paid staff and while they do not get payments in money there are several very rewarding benefits of working with us. In case one of my volunteers dont show up or we dont have enough volunteers to cover shifts , I and the president of the organisation end up doing all the work. Ensuring 185 dogs are fed ,cleaned , watered and medicated , let alone take care of their mental needs is exhausting and impractical. So I always appreciate dependability.  I find through my personal experience I find that most of my older volunteers have more free time to volunteer, a lot of them are not working full time or even if they have jobs are now looking for something more meaningful , they have more flexible schedules, they seem to get instructions quicker (ie. I dont have to show them how to do them several times) . Also since they have more free time they are my backup volunteers , that means if a day is getting to overwhelming or if theres 50 adopters on a saturday and only 3 people to hold the fort down or in an emergency situation I can always call upon them. All my volunteer who are older than my parents and more close to my grandparents age are top volunteers, I absolutely love working with them. When they do have some constrains like they cannot do physical labor for 8 hours straight, they make up for in other ways. They spend their hours at the facility doing making 3 hours of serious labor intensive tasks and then spend the rest of the day doing more light tasks like maybe bathing , sweeping or walking a little dog. I actually find my oldest volunteers are even more dependable than my young stay at home moms and young house wives. When they do have life crisis’s like a major operation etc, they stay in touch , come visit and take over tasks that they can you their intellectual skills in. We only want people who understand the essence of our work and who have worked with us closely to undertake those specific tasks because they will be dealing with the public and other people and will influence the perception of the public when it comes to or rescue.

I personally see all my older team members as great assets

http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2010/07/older_employees_an_asset_to_fi.html

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/older-workers-untapped-assets-for-creating-value/

http://www.economist.com/node/18527063

http://internsover40.blogspot.com/2012/01/older-workers-are-americas-most_31.html

Mistakes While managing older employees -( post 3)

When I first started working I was just out of highschool and in engineering college. I did not have much of a management background other than books and commons sense. So I did have some preconcieved notions and make some mistakes along the way.

older-employee

Here are some of the mistakes people make while managing older employees:-

  • You think you cant relate. – Just because they are your parents or sometimes even your grandparents age you think you cant relate to them and do not take an effort to build a healthy , friendly work relationship. I made this mistake at first . Now when I manage my volunteers I deal with a lot of older, retired or almost retired people with free time. I now can call a lot of my older volunteers my good friends or even close acquaintances. It never fails to surprise me, but we are all more similar than different. Forging personal connections with my older volunteers helps me create a better environment for my animals needs to get met and I have found that they stay loyal and will come back no matter what life throws at them. Even if for some reason ( its mostly health reasons) they have to stop doing physically tedious work, I now have a volunteer that understands the behind the scenes and can do things for me that do not require physical labor like fund raise or collect supplies or network or even work on a newsletter or press release. Remember you can always connect over something movies , books in my case our love for animals and our dog struggles , it could be the simplest thing.
  • You run the show, so you automatically know more- I have found that telling older volunteers what to do has to be approached more delicately and in a different manner. Asking and even validating their experience and input is important. The great thing with working with older people is that they have years of experience and knowledge and judgement that comes with that and you get to use that without actually going through all those years they put in. So definitely be open to learning . So every day, I learn from them. I ask them if they’ve seen a particular problem before, and if so, how they solved it. I ask their opinion on new processes that I’m thinking of implementing, or how they would suggest making the department more efficient.
  • They dont need feedback or training – Giving feedback to older employees also has to be done in a more delicate and different manner than other people. Giving feedback is important and sometimes we are reluctant to do that because we figure they must know what they are doing. we do try to appraoch it as what you percieve happening and be a little less inclined to judge. Delay the process of offering solutions to give them an opportunity to explain whats going on and think about doing things differently.
  • You assume they dont respect you because of age- While this sometimes may nbe the case on their end understand that your very much part of this relationship and your actions and your confidence in yourself is a huge factor to this situation. Dont let your lack of confidence infiltrate your management style , always hold employees responsible and dont let poor performance slide, In my experience if you set up the right environment 99% of the time the older employees do it better, faster and get it the first time as opposed to my younger team members. You will gain their respect by doing your end of the job right.

Here are some links I used to study further about the topic :

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/haydn-shaw/the-3-mistakes-not-to-mak_b_5325348.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2013/02/12/4-mistakes-not-to-make-when-managing-older-employees/2/

Ceo of Wildfyr: managing older people ( post 2)

During my research about how to better manage workplace situations where you are in a position of power over older people I came across this video by the Ceo of wildfyr Patrick McConlogue . I find everything he talks about resonates deeply with me.

He states 3 ways to effective manage this relationship.

The first one is getting rid of titles, by this I think he is trying to say, more than titles throw out the egos that sometimes come along with it and recognize that we are all people with valid and useful inputs and we can all work together in a team.

The second thing he suggests is to empower their experience , since it does feel awkward and uncomfortable to be aware that someone way younger than you maybe even your child’s age is directing your livelihood and career. Recognize that everyone has something to offer which is essentially why we work in teams and empower your people by giving them the recognition they deserve and put their valuable experience and skills to the best use possible so that they feel valuable and like they are a contributing member to your team.

On the flipside of being this compassionate empathetic kind person while working with people older than you , you must also not be afraid to use your power and set boundaries and sometimes even need to crush ideas in case the situation comes up. This is a tactical maneuver not only to set an example but also to draw and establish boundaries and for your team members to recognize that you do hold significant weight in the equation.

One really interesting thing he says is : if you cannot make those hard calls and put your foot down sometimes then you should not be in a position to lead in the first place. I find that is very true, the organisation I work with has shown me that good leaders must be strong enough to make those difficult decisions even when it does lead to situations where you cannot please everybody

These are some of the basic approaches you must implement to successfully have team members that are older than you. I was happy to see almost all of his points were a reflection of my previous post, this makes me feel motivated , I may not have my own multi million dollar company but atleast I know I do have some of the skills to be capable. :)

Managing Older people : Why I chose this topic and my Background

I am a 21 year old animal rescuer/ business student/ future business owner. I used to work for my dads company in India and unfortunately I didnt start at the bottom. In hindsight that would have given me a broader perspective about the inner workings of the company. I now spend all my spare time at an animal rescue, infact Im at one as I type this. I currently am Volunteer Coordinator , but as it is common in humane/ non profit organisations I juggle several roles. I also plan to take over my dads company once I graduate and I am currently working on apply to get my own 501c3 (non profit ) , although still Im still in the beginning stages of drafting a business plans and coming up with a proposal etc. In my short life I have been in several situations where I have had older people reporting to me or I was supervising in some form. It is no longer a huge obstacle to me but I can as with everything improve in this area. At first it was a daunting task as in India age is a big deal , age signifies superiority and it is a cultural thing to respect older people no matter what. So when I was in India giving direction to managers 50 years older than me with 30 years more experience than me I used to feel a sense of embarrassment and as if the roles should be reversed. I also got the sense that some of them resented it. I faced several challenges mostly it was just a sense that they did not respect me or felt they didn’t need to answer to me and I quickly lost interest and passion for my job. I have since moved to California , grown older , more mature and become a more well rounded person. I have also gained a better understanding of human beings and know how to deal with situations like these better.

In this post I will discuss solely my ways to deal with the situation :

1) Understand that we are all human beings on our own journey and age and other factors do not matter as much as we think they do, in the end we all are more similar than different. Once you understand that and see people not with judgement but compassion a lot changes.

2) Everyone has something to offer and you can learn from EVERYBODY. Everyone is a teacher and is skilled in a certain way as leaders we need to match a persons skill with his/her job. This keeps you open to learning and people feel that and respond better to you.

3) Going into a situation like this with confidence is important as the moment you lack confidence or feel inferior people pick up on that and respond accordingly, but know that you made it into this position for a reason and if you were a complete nincompoop, you would not be in a position to supervise older people in the first place.

4) In very rare cases when you do come across an older person you supervise who crosses a line and disrespects you , immediately address the situation in a very professional and polite way to make sure you set boundaries. While you kill them with kindness ensure that they know that such behavior will not be accepted and tolerated as we are to work together and not as adversaries.

These are some of the core principles that I have used and seem to have worked so far. I hope to learn more and I do more research about this topic.

Here is the link to the rescue I work with wawr.org . I am very proud of the work we do in 2014 we managed to get 734 dogs adopted out with just a 5 acre facility and no paid staff only volunteers. It has taken extraordinary effort on everyone’s part and I have learnt more in this past year that in the past 3 years combined. What Im very proud of is we have better adoption rates than even” best friends ” the oldest and largest non profit in the US who has 3000 acres. With the team we have I am excited to see where we reach.

Basic Obedience Dog Training WEEK 1 , PART 1.

English: A one-year-old White German Shepherd ...

English: A one-year-old White German Shepherd dog ready for a command in the woods in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all know how important it is to Train our dogs , if you dont , then …… GOOGLE it !!!!!!!!!

Most important to me Is safety above all , In emergency situations I would like some semblance of control over my Puppies . 

I just enrolled my Indog mix , Twitches , for Basic obedience training . For those wondering what an INdog is heres a helpful link :http://indianpariahdog.blogspot.com/

Now Twitches has already had A LOT of training by me , she has PERFECTED HER SIT STAY and has the vocabulary to rival a three year old , But I’m not a professional and I cant seem to get a few things down. Also you cannot enroll in intermediate obedience without beginner classes , so I went with it .

Im going to document EVERYTHING I learn in this class and already know about training , so you guys can train your dogs , FOR FREE :D . I hope this reaches all the dog fosters and rescuers and just anyone who wants to train their babies :)

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I urge you to take this STEP BY STEP , Even if your dog knows more , try going with it , even if it is just to strengthen his basics.

Things you will need :

FLAT BUCKLE collar , PLEASE do not use any kind of choke a prong collar at this stage . That should be your LAST alternative .

Standard 4 to 6 feet leash

TREATS

Note : depending on where you are training the Treats you use change , eg at home no distractions use a very low value treat maybe ever kibble or just a piece of bread , vs very high value treats for high distraction areas like the dog park or a store in which case you could use real meat bits.

Remember , Do NOT make a MEAL out of the treats , The treats need to be TINY , like half the size of your thumb nail .Also try not to feed the dog A HUGE tasty meal right before training , we want her to want the treats .

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The first and the MOST important thing to teach your dog is , The LOOK at me command . 

Where this is usefull : In a stressfull situation when you want your dogs attention , great for helping fearful dogs and dogs with aggression issues , and this is a building block to a ROCK SOLID COME . 

Start by saying your dogs name and when your dog make EYE CONTACT with you , mark that moment with a YES , and treat the dog. 

It is important that you reward EYE CONTACT , so make sure your dog is looking at you and not the treat in your hand , You can also get the treat near your face until he figures out what you want him to do . 

Why yes is an important marker? You can replace a clicker with the word yes , this way you don’t always have to carry a clicker with you , its just as effective as a clicker and its shorter and easier than good girl/boy . So make sure you SAY “YES ” the moment the desired behavior is achieved so your dog knows what is expected of him , accompany every YES  with a treat , so he knows yes is a good thing . Eventually , much much further down the road we can even remove treats and depend on the Yes . 

Remeber to practice this often , Through the week , or how many ever weeks you want at random times and with increasing levels of distractions , also get several people to do this with your dog and do it in several places. 

Tip: Make use of everyday opportunities to do this , like any occasion when your dog is distracted with something else . 

A very important thing to remember , DO NOT REPEAT YOUR DOGS NAME SEVERAL TIMES , DO IT ONCE , then lure your dogs face towards you with the scent of the treat , keep the treat near his nose and move it in such a way that he turns towards you . Then when he makes eye contact . BAMMM!!!!! Seal the deal with a YES , followed by the treat . 

Remember , DOGS DO NOT generalize . They might master this trick with you in your kitchen , but they will not know you expect the same in the bathroom , the living room , with some one else , let alone outside , or in the park . SO do it several times , several places , increasing distractions SLOWLY  and remember say his name ONCE . 

Also try to do this while your standing up , at least the first few times and try to not crouch and intrude into the dogs personal space , some dogs dont like that . 

OK .. its late and I gotta study , more to come soon :)

Feel free to email me any questions and comments on glowded@gmail.com , I love dogs and anyone who wants to make their lives better :) 

PS: a tip for all those fearful or aggressive dogs .

In case your fearful pup is flipping out at the sight of a giant malamute or something , this handy trick will redirect his attention towards you , and with treats instead of correction he will learn that furball malamutes = treats = good= furball malamutes not so bad anymore .

There was a case where this dog was super aggressive towards certain kinds of people , ” people with hats and sunglasses on at the same time ” , and now the owner uses this trick to redirect their attention and they immediately turn towards her waiting for treats instead of biting those people which they had done in the past . 

A simple correction is often not enough , we do need to teach our dogs WHAT TO DO INSTEAD , because the dog dosnt how else to react unless we teach them .

Twitches herself is a very fearful dog , But we are making GIANT leaps of progress everyday , ok maybe not giant , but progress all the same .

as always : DONT SHOP , ADOPT .

OH and spay and neuter 

Love you , Now go walk your dog :P