Archive for November 2015

There Is Rarely Enough Feedback

November 25, 2015

When asked, “What’s the one thing you most admire about your best boss?” most people answer something about communication and feedback.  When we ask people, “What’s the one thing you’d like more from your boss?” most people answer something about more communication and feedback.

So if communication and feedback is most admirable from leaders AND most people feel they don’t get enough from their boss, what are the chances direct reports are getting all the communication and feedback they want/need?  In the same way leaders want more feedback from their boss, their direct reports want more feedback from them.

When giving feedback keep these basics in mind:

  • Feedback should on-going and delivered frequently;
  • Feedback should be delivered timely, immediately after the demonstrated behavior;
  • The feedback should describe the observed behavior not be personal or an opinion;
  • Tailor the feedback to the direct report’s personality style;
  • Keep the feedback productive, corrections should focus on future behaviors;
  • Deliver both positive and course correction feedback (positive should out-weigh corrective).

Leaders empowering their direct reports with feedback and communication create more success for both.

A Little Attention Increases Productivity

November 20, 2015

In their book “Contented Cows Still Give Better Milk, The Plain Truth About Employee Engagement In Your Bottom Line,” Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden describe how animal science studies have shown that dairy cattle who are given a first name and are regularly called by that first name will produce an additional 60 gallons of milk annually. That’s amazing; simply paying attention to the producer increases their productivity.

How does that translate to leading direct reports? Experience has shown that leaders who conduct regular one-on-one meetings with their direct reports get much more productivity out of those direct reports.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember these one-on-one meetings need to be about what the employee needs, not focused on their boss.  Everyone needs the undivided attention of their boss and it is proven that those who get that attention are more productive.

Empowered leaders conduct regular one-on-ones with their direct reports and experience more success.

Any Strength Carried To Extreme Can Be A Limitation

November 13, 2015

“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” — Benjamin Franklin

Whether it’s the strengths based books from Marcus Buckingham and Tom Rath, a high school sports coach, or grandmother’s sage advice, we’ve all heard the maxim “use your strengths for success.”  Many leaders go as far as to assess their direct reports to determine their strengths and encourage them to capitalize on their unique abilities.  But what happens when those strengths are taken to an extreme?

An excess of anything can result in undesirable consequences.  Leaders need to be aware how this might impact their team.  One of the more common workplace challenges is the domineering associate recognized for delivering results and overcoming obstacles who, when taking their strength to the extreme, alienates those around them.  Another is the deep thinking, reflective associate successful for their profound problem solving abilities who, when getting too wrapped up in collecting and crunching data, fails to meet deadlines.

Leaders should encourage their direct reports to identify, leverage, and capitalize on their talents and praise them when they succeed in this approach but be prepared to offer course corrections if the behavior becomes too extreme.

Empowered leaders understand their direct report’s strengths and help them be leveraged for greater success.

Describe The Person In Selection Ads

November 6, 2015

The best way to source candidates for open positions is by tapping into an existing network.  Sending emails to connections and leveraging LinkedIn networks will turn-up the prime candidates.

When sending these emails or postings, it’s best to focus more on the “soft skills” sought and less on the “hard skills.”  Remember most leaders hire for hard skills but fire for soft skills.  By describing the personal characteristics needed, contacts will better recall someone they know who is the ideal fit.

Consider these two approaches and which one is more likely to conjure up a person you’d recommend:

Wanted: A receptionist capable of typing 100 words per minute; able to answer multiple incoming phone lines; greets and directs visitors; 10+ years experience with a fortune 500 company.

Seeking: A receptionist who loves word processing; who’s smile you can sense over the phone; immediately makes visitors feel comfortable when they visit us; thrives in a fast paced multi-tasking environment.

Empowered hiring managers describe the soft skills they need when looking to fill a position for more successful hires.