Archive for November 2011

Don’t Let Existing Performance Forms Hinder Quarterly Performance Reviews

November 27, 2011

Your organization may have adopted a formal performance review form that feels cumbersome or lengthy discouraging your willingness to conduct quarterly performance reviews.  Here’s a potential compromise: You can still use the short form we’ve been recommending in which you ask the following questions:

  • What have you done last quarter?
  • What will you accomplish next quarter?
  • What have you done to invest in your own personal development?
  • How have you demonstrated our core values?

Just use this format in the quarters for which there is not a corporate mandated form. If your organization insists on a particular form to be used annually or semi-annually, use it; it may not be worth fighting.  Simply use the shorter form on the other quarters and allow that information to populate the corporate form.

 Empower your direct reports by giving them more regular check-points to assure alignment to goals and activities through quarterly reviews.

Prepare For Your One-On-One Meetings

November 18, 2011

The single most powerful leadership practice for accelerating the performance of your direct reports is conducting weekly one-on-one meetings with them.  If you are not having regular one-on-one sessions with your direct reports, start.  If you are having these sessions, make sure you are well prepared.

  • Prior to each session ask yourself these questions:
  • Did I do what I committed to do?
  • What do my follow up notes say I need to check on?
  • What do I need to be sure to communicate?
  • What additional positive feedback can I give?
  • What additional course corrections are needed?
  • Is there something I can delegate?

Effectively preparing for these crucial meetings will make an even greater impact on the performance of your direct reports and empower them even more to succeed.

Give Feedback Based On Observable Behaviors

November 11, 2011

When asked what they would like more of their supervisor, most workers want additional feedback.  Leaders are generally pretty good at giving positive or affirming feedback (though most leaders could give it more often).  However, many leaders make a mistake when giving course correction feedback by offering opinions instead of describing observed behaviors.  When giving negative feedback recount the behaviors you actually observed.  Five common behaviors for feedback are:

  • The Words They Said – “Tim, I appreciate your candor but calling Steve a ‘jerk’ makes you appear unprofessional to others.”
  • How They Said Them – “Sally, I’m concerned that when you yell ‘WELL, GET MOVING THEN’ at Mike, he and others hear that as an aggressive, condescending comment.”
  • Their Facial Expression – “Lisa, you have gained so much admiration through your work efforts but rolling your eyes when Kay gives her report chips away at all the professionalism you’ve worked so hard to personify.”
  • Their Body Language – “Carl, I’m grateful for your passion but slamming the door when Diane leaves is an improper behavior.”
  • Their Work Product – “Barbara, I’m happy you completed the report on time but the spelling errors reduce your credibility.”

Empower your direct reports by giving productive, actionable course correction feedback based on observed behaviors and your team will be more successful.

Lead By Example In Personal Development For More Than One Reason

November 6, 2011

In the Seven Leadership Practices of PerformanceAdvantage™ we stress the importance of each direct report having personal development goals. Leading by example here provides two benefits: you become a better leader and your direct reports see the value of personal development.

Recent Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) studies have shown a strong correlation between the effectiveness of leaders and the extent to which they exercise; even if exercise requires more time away from work.

Along with the traditional ways of working out at a gym, at home, at a club, more simple steps spread throughout the day can yield great results.  Try parking farther from the building, taking the stairs instead of an elevator, using a Swiss ball for a chair to work your core.

Empower your direct reports to hold down the fort while you break for a real exercise, and demonstrate the benefits of personal development on personal effectiveness.