Archive for February 2017

Lead Direct Reports Differently

February 24, 2017

Any parent with more than one child knows how different they are (pet owners know this too).  In sports, most of the great coaches are successful because they know each player requires a different type of leadership.  Unfortunately, many leaders have one leadership style they apply to each of their direct reports and expect their direct reports to excel.

Everyone has different behavior styles and workplace motivations.  Some direct reports respond best with a firm message, others with a gentle nudging, and others with lengthy conversations.  Some people are motivated by recognition, some by money, and others by altruism, etc.  The best leaders take time to understand their direct reports’ differences and tailor their leadership approaches to each person.

Empowered leaders understand their direct reports’ behavioral styles and motivations, apply unique leadership approaches, and are more successful.

Hiring Managers Should Recruit Their Own Talent

February 17, 2017

It wasn’t long ago that most leaders had assistance booking their travel, typing their memos, and printing and copying their reports.  Now, with today’s technology, most leaders book their own travel on-line, type their own memos, and have high-speed laser printers for printing their reports.  It’s time for leaders to use technology to do their own recruiting as well.

Today, just like in the days of having assistants typing memos, most leaders seek assistance recruiting their next hire – typically from HR.  These HR experts, while well intentioned, are working with some handicaps.  They typically don’t know exactly where the industry or profession-specific experts are to be found, and if they find the superstars they typically aren’t given access because they lack the credentials to “enter the fold.”  If they do get access to an industry or professional group (online or in person), the passive candidate superstar wants to talk to the industry expert to understand what might be alluring about the work being done in the department with the vacancy, not the HR person.

College athletic coaches understand this the best.  When they recruit superstars, they personally contact the recruit, meet with them, and pitch them and their family on joining their team.  College coaches do not rely on someone from the admissions office to recruit their talent.  Hiring manages shouldn’t either.

There are many easy to use technological resources for leaders to recruit their own talent.  Aside from the common job boards, industry sites, and LinkedIn are often inexpensive ways for effectively reaching passive job-seeking superstars.

Leaders empowered with the tools to recruit their own talent make more successful hires.

Annual Goals Should Have Shorter Sub-Goals

February 10, 2017

At the beginning of the year organizations set their annual goals and most leaders, in turn, set their team’s annual goals.  Goal setting plans should not stop there.

If performance against goals is to be measured and achieved, each annual goal must have shorter sub-goals.  Leaders and direct reports should set and review these sub-goals regularly – ideally as part of their one-on-one meetings.  The organization’s annual goals should be a primary focus for leaders and each of their direct reports as they review progress weekly.

For example, if the organization’s sales goal is $10 million, a sales person’s weekly sub-goal might be to make 20 calls to prospective customers and set three appointments.  Leaders should not be as concerned with what their direct report’s sub-goals are, but whether or not they lead to accomplishing the organization’s annual goal.  If the monthly or quarterly goals are not being met, it allows leaders to have healthy conversations about what has been done, and what adjustments might be helpful.

Leaders who make sure each of their direct reports clearly understand the organization’s goals, and empower direct reports to set and achieve their sub-goals will experience more success.

Call The Elephant Out On The Table…Even If It’s Been There For Ages

February 3, 2017

Empowerment is built on trust and a healthy relationship cultivated between leaders and their direct reports.  With empowerment comes an obligation to call out troubling situations that have gone ignored.  This is most difficult for leaders who greatly care about the person, but that’s when it is most critical.  How much trust can there really be if something obvious is being avoided?

When providing feedback, these steps should help the leader:

  • Take accountability for actions;
  • Describe the situation and behaviors;
  • Assign accountability to the direct report for identifying and implementing a solution.

For example: “I have to tell you, I feel guilty for not having brought up this issue sooner, but I have so much respect for you, I need to share with you something I should have said a long time ago.  I’m concerned you are losing credibility when you are unprepared for client sessions and not meeting deadlines. I’m confident you would never do anything to intentionally harm your credibility or ours.  What do you think you can do to turn the situation around?”

Empowered direct reports know when and how they have fallen short of expectations so they can feel the success of implementing a solution.