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Hire a Shrink and Fix Your Business: Ask Noah

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Q: Hey, Noah. Quick question; As a small business owner, I have had some success. My company has always turned a profit and I am well aware that, in this particular cycle, that is quite an accomplishment. However, we always seem to be in crisis mode. From employees getting into idiotic arguments with each other to what someone has called "top down leadership issues" (I'll take the blame for that!) -- our business culture is flawed and often dysfunctional. I've been told I need to give up on my tough bullying act, and create a more "harmonious office." I've looked into hiring a reputable organizational psychologist to assess the work environment. Do you see a benefit in this sort of 'intervention'-- or is this an internal problem that I can fix myself?

A: If you knew how to fix the situation you would have done so already. Your responsibility is to solve the problem by any means necessary. The benefits of having an organizational psychologist work with you are immense. Remember your financial success is dependent upon the happiness and comfort of your employees.

Your employees will perform better when the culture in which they work is supportive, uplifting, well-organized, consistent and respectful. All too often, CEOs think the way to increase productivity is through intimidation and or manipulation.

But the opposite is true. Aside from the obvious ethical issues involved, it is just bad business to be an unapproachable bully. When an angry boss indiscriminately yields power or force over his or her employees, the employees act fearfully and often become dreadfully unhappy at their jobs. Inevitably, office performance suffers.

When frustrated employees can't imagine bringing their work issues to their superiors out of fear, they begin to fight with one another. In lieu of concentrating on or even enjoying their work achievements, they become eaten up with anger toward "David, the account manager," or "Sheryl, the supplies manager."

An organizational psychologist can improve your staff's performance in the following ways:
  • Improve the way employees process information.
  • Teach them vital interpersonal communication skills.
  • Educate them on basic principles of fairness and equality.
  • Increase overall morale and well-being, thus improving creative thought.
  • Help employees to clearly delineate between rational and irrational thinking patterns.
  • Define empowerment and find ways in which employees can be more involved in the company's growth.
  • Address burnout issues.

In terms of leadership training, industrialist psychologists are absolute experts in executive coaching techniques and management development. They can help you to take inventory on each individual employee's efficacy, as well as help you to spot your future team leaders and supervisors!
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