Archive for March 2017

Understanding Workplace Behaviors Makes Mirroring More Effective

March 31, 2017

Mirroring is a rapport-building technique in which one person takes on the behaviors of the person with whom they are communicating.  Being naturally wired to connect with others, we all use mirroring, to some degree, in our interactions with others.  But those leaders who use mirroring effectively connect better with their direct reports.

Understanding the behavioral styles of their direct reports allows leaders to adjust their behaviors better to develop greater rapport.  Being able to read another’s natural behavioral style allows one to adapt or mirror their style to create stronger relationships.  For example, leaders who have a naturally more reserved, introverted behavior type should work to initiate conversations and be more direct than they naturally would to better connect with direct reports who have a more extroverted, dominant style.

Some people are better at mirroring than others; it is a skill that can be developed through behavioral training and understanding.  Most behavioral assessments provide insights as to how people behave and provide mirroring approaches.

Leaders empowered with behavioral assessments of their direct reports will experience more success.

Job Definitions Should Be A Group Undertaking

March 24, 2017

Leaders are constantly struggling to find time for the important but not urgent activities.  One of those activities is creating and updating the job descriptions/accountabilities for each of their direct reports.  Though HR or their direct reports may help, they need to take the lead for managing this critical leadership tool.

When creating or updating the job description/accountabilities (they should be updating it at least annually), it is important to get input from the key people interacting with the job.  These “stakeholders” might include the job’s incumbent, direct reports, peers, the leader’s peers, customers, or the leader’s boss.

Engaging all these stakeholders in defining the job creates “buy-in” and makes it much easier for direct reports to do their job.  Because everyone understands the challenges and expectations of the job, support is offered that would not necessary have been provided without an appreciation for the job’s complexity.

Leaders who empower their direct reports by having the key people they interact with help define their job will experience more success.

Conducting Regular One-On-One Meetings Will Save Time

March 17, 2017

Regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings between a leader and direct report are by far the most effective way to accelerate performance.  So, why is this effective performance acceleration technique ignored?

The biggest reason leaders give for not conducting regular one-on-one meetings is they don’t have enough time.  Leaders should conduct weekly 30-minute meetings.  A leader with six direct reports would need to allocate three hours per week.

How does investing in regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings save time for leaders?

  • Both the direct report and leader save minor discussion topics for this meeting rather than interrupting each other continuously throughout the week.
  • Minor issues are addressed before they become full-fledged, time-consuming problems.
  • Leaders’ tasks can be delegated in a venue allowing much easier follow-up.

Skeptical leaders should try conducting one-on-ones with one of their direct reports for six weeks; they’ll find they have more time, a better relationship, and a very disappointed direct report should they stop the meetings.

Leaders who use one-on-one meetings to empower direct reports experience more success and have more time.

Successful Leaders Ask Questions, Don’t Give Answers

March 10, 2017

Most leaders are hard driving dominating problem solvers.  They see a problem, kick into “fix it” mode, and solve it.  That approach made them successful; but as their team grows, solving problems will ultimately restrict growth.

For an organization to grow it takes more than just the leader to be a good problem solver. Leaders must challenge their team to develop by empowering them to solve their own problems.  The best way for leaders to advance their direct reports is to ask questions, NOT give answers, and challenge them to solve the problem without the leader doing it for them.

This is much harder for leaders than it sounds.  It requires great restraint for the problem-solving leader NOT to solve a problem.  Imagine in the heat of the moment a leader seeing what needs to be done, taking a deep breath, and asking others what they think should be done.  Though difficult, this is what direct reports need to succeed and for the organization to grow.

Empowered leaders who ask questions and do NOT give answers experience more success.

The One Meeting That Shouldn’t Be Rescheduled

March 3, 2017

A study by a team of scholars from London School of Economics and Harvard Business School analyzed the day-to-day schedules of more than 500 CEOs from around the world and found executives spent roughly 18 hours of a 55-hour workweek in meetings (33%).  The more direct reports a CEO had, the more (and longer) internal meetings they had.

Given all the constraints on a leader’s time, it is understandable how some meetings get rescheduled in favor of higher priority, more important time commitments.  However, the one meeting leaders should not reschedule is a performance review or succession-planning meeting with their direct report.  Direct reports see their performance review or succession-planning meeting as a significant, event often fretting over the meeting for weeks.  Many direct reports lose sleep the night before and are distracted and ineffective at work before the meeting, even when it is a meeting they anticipate will be extremely positive. Unfortunately, some leaders see this important/not urgent meeting as movable, not realizing the disappointment it causes their direct report.

When planning these crucial meetings, leaders should choose times and days of the week they are less likely to have to reschedule.  Monday mornings and Friday afternoons often work best, unless the meeting is not expected to be well received; if the employee is expected to be disappointed or angry following the performance review, always leave time in the day/week for positive personal interaction.  They need to understand the meeting was about business and doesn’t reflect your personal feelings towards them.

Empowered leaders don’t reschedule performance review or succession planning meetings and have a more successful organization.