Archive for September 2010

Make Your Feedback Clear and Unambiguous

September 27, 2010

After much deliberation, you’ve finally made up your mind: you are going to sever the employment of one of your direct reports.  Of course, if you’ve been giving healthy feedback along the way, the employee should not be surprised.

Before reaching this decision, most leaders have had course correction conversations with the troubled direct report.  When you have these tough conversations, make sure there is no doubt in your direct report’s mind, they will lose their job if their performance does not improve.

Make the course corrections direct and clear.  “I’m not happy with your performance,” or “You are on thin ice” leaves too much to interpretation.  Instead try “Tim, I believe you are capable of completing your work on time and we want you to succeed; but keeping your job largely depends on your ability to deliver your reports accurately and on time.  Let’s review your progress in one week.  In the meantime, don’t hesitate to let me know what obstacles I can remove that will help you out.”

Make your feedback clear and you’ll empower your direct reports for success.

Update Job Accountabilities Regularly

September 20, 2010

Hopefully you have a job accountability matrix for each of your direct reports capturing the job’s activities, priorities, and success factors.  Maybe you have a “job description” instead listing the job’s requirements and expectations.  Maybe you have a tattered sheet of paper detailing what you’d like out of the job.

Whatever you are using to scope your direct report’s job, be sure to review and update it regularly.  We recommend reviewing job accountabilities during each quarterly performance review session.  By reviewing the accountabilities regularly with your direct report, you both are reminded of what is important.

Do not assume the job’s description is static and cannot be changed.  The document is a dynamic, evolving view of the job and should be updated as the job evolves or changes.  Your direct report should be responsible for “owning” this responsibility and keeping you apprised of changes.

Empower your direct reports to manage their job accountabilities and watch both your careers succeed.

Opposites Don’t Attract

September 12, 2010

Have you ever heard the phrase opposites attract? It’s wrong. It makes sense to us but it’s still wrong. The data on relationships are completely convincing – people who are like one another tend to be attracted to one another.

The problem with this “opposites attract” mentality is that leaders are naturally attracted to hiring people who are like them. And, if they only hire people like them, they will end up with a team of people who have all of their strengths, and all of their weaknesses.

What’s the danger in that? If you make a mistake, the other people like you on your team are less likely to catch it. In fact they’re likely to not even notice it is a mistake.

The best way for leaders to solve this problem is to benchmark their jobs and determine the specific profile to be successful in the job and then hire against that profile.  This unbiased, objective job matching approach reduces the chance a leader may hire against their own personality profile.

If very early on in the selection process, you’re “totally in love with” a candidate, we’d suspect that they’re just like you. They may work out fine, or they may be adding to your weaknesses in a way that you don’t expect.

Add empowering behavioral tools to your selection process for future success.