Archive for November 2016

Feedback Should Be A Daily Practice

November 22, 2016

Leaders should be providing feedback to their direct reports every day.  Often leaders want to save their feedback for the weekly one-on-one meetings or, worse, performance review sessions.

Don’t overlook the importance of positive feedback – leaders should be giving much more positive feedback than course corrections.  Some effective positive feedback examples are:

  • “I like the poise you demonstrated on that phone call.”
  • “Thanks for coming in early to print the sales reports.”
  • “Your contributions and ideas in the meeting were helpful to the team.”
  • “Great job assisting Sue with her presentation.”

One way for leaders to remind themselves of the importance of daily feedback is to put some coins (start with 3-5) in their left pocket and whenever they give positive, on-the-spot feedback, move a coin to their right pocket. At the end of the day, add the coins in the right pocket to a fund to use as a reward for being a great leader.

Giving frequent, immediate feedback empowers direct reports to be more productive and teams to be more successful.

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Sales People Are The Toughest Interviews

November 21, 2016

When it comes to hiring sales people, hiring managers will likely enjoy the interviews more than a technical interview.  That’s to be expected – they’re sales people. If they are successful in sales, they should be able to make the conversation comfortable and easy.

The hard part is being able to peel the onion back and find out what’s really underneath.  Keep in mind: no one is perfect.  The selection process must be designed to uncover the weaknesses to determine if they are deal-breakers.

The best way to do this is to be clear up front about what is needed so the sales person doesn’t talk the hiring manager into buying something they don’t really need (or hiring someone that doesn’t fit). Assessments can help managers see the potential issues the salesperson would rather not be seen.  The assessment results allow the hiring manager to explore those issues in further conversations and reference checks.

If an organization is hiring a salesperson, empowering the team with a robust selection process that includes assessments creates the best chance of success.

Know Direct Reports Well

November 11, 2016

It’s an established fact that people who have healthy personal relationships have greater trust and are more willing to extend themselves for each other than those who have lesser relationships.  It then makes sense that leaders who want extra effort from their direct reports should have stronger personal relationships.

How well do leaders know their direct reports? They should be able to answer these four questions about each of their direct reports:

  1.  What is the name of their spouse or significant other?
  2.  What are their hobbies or interests?
  3.  What are the names and ages of their children or grandchildren?
  4.  What is the breed and name of their pet?

Leaders don’t need to be overly personal with their direct reports, but they should know a little about them.  A personal relationship can come from casual water cooler type conversations.  Regularly scheduled weekly one-on-one meetings are a great way to develop this relationship.  In our experience, there is no more important leadership technique than one-on-one meetings.

Empowered leaders develop deeper personal relationships with their direct reports that lead to more success.

Strong Critical Thinking Skills Create More Behavior Flexibility

November 4, 2016

Everyone has their own natural behavior style.  This hard wiring is the result of personal DNA.  Ideally, performance is optimized when the job is matched with one’s natural skill set.

Though leaders should strive to fit jobs and direct reports’ skill sets, rarely is there a perfect match for a person and a job.  Most people are required to adapt their natural skills to those required in the job.  However, those people with a more developed critical thinking or problem solving aptitude are better able to adapt their natural skills for short periods of time to accomplish the job at hand.

When evaluating talent or considering job fit, leaders should pay particular attention to critical thinking skills and aptitude.  An increased critical thinking ability provides much more job flexibility and likelihood for success, especially when the tasks within one job set are quite diverse.

Empowered leaders evaluate their direct reports’ critical thinking skills and have more successful performers.