Archive for March 2015

Lead By Example In Personal Development

March 27, 2015

Most leaders understand the importance of each direct report having personal development goals. Leading by example here provides two benefits: leaders become better and their 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, or 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, or using a Swiss ball for a chair to work your core.

Leaders who empower direct reports to hold down the fort while they break for exercise and demonstrate the benefits of personal development are more successful and effective.

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Job Accountabilities Should Include Success Factors

March 20, 2015

Leaders can accelerate direct report performance using a job accountability matrix.  For each accountability, a job accountability matrix identifies the three to five major functions for a job along with activities, priorities, time percentages, and success factors.  One of the advantages of using an accountability matrix instead of a traditional job description is the documented success factors for each accountability.

When determining success factors, ask “How will I know if the activities within the accountability are done well or at least meets (not necessarily exceeds) my expectation?”  The answer should be specific and as objective as possible.

For example, within a “Manage Team” accountability, success factors might be: 

  • no turnover of “A” players;
  • quarterly performance reviews conducted and documented for each direct report;
  • three personal development programs completed for each direct report. 

Empower direct reports to create, maintain, and manage their job accountabilities.  Review the accountabilities and success factors each quarter and watch job success soar.

Remember The Specific Positive Feedback

March 13, 2015

When asked, about 50% of leaders find it easier to provide positive feedback, while about 50% find course corrections easier.  Regardless of preference, remembering to give positive feedback and do it with specific reference to the behavior, skill, talent, or effort demonstrated is worth more than can be imagined.

For example: “thank you for anticipating our client’s needs — it allowed us to be proactive, making an enormous difference in their overall impression of our project efforts.”  A small comment like this will encourage direct reports to seek similar opportunities in the future.

Giving specific positive feedback allows direct reports to know what leaders find favorable, and empowers them to act confidently and successfully in the future.

Exchange Copies Of Performance Reviews To Ensure Time For Important Topics

March 6, 2015

Focal reviews, also called common date or scheduled reviews, have organizations evaluate all of their employees at one set time; the process usually takes 1-2 months to complete depending on the number of employees and the complexity of the process.

Prior to the review, have the direct report complete the performance review on themselves. There are many reasons for having direct reports complete a self-review, but perhaps the most important is to allow sufficient time to discuss the truly important items.  If the leader and direct report both complete the reviews, and exchange copies a day or two in advance, both can digest the comments and identify the areas in which perceptions differ the most. 

After general conversation about the overall performance, the leader can then guide the discussion into those areas.  Example: “Jim, I believe your overall performance for the last quarter/year was strong, generally meeting all the success factors of your accountabilities and your commitments on quarterly goals, but there were a couple of areas we seemed to have a difference of opinion, so let’s talk about those.”

Simply beginning at the top of a form may not allow sufficient time to discuss the areas of greatest value.

Empower direct reports by allowing sufficient time to discuss performance review discrepancies and the performance management process will be more successful.