Archive for March 2018

Help Direct Reports Hit The Ground Running Monday Morning

March 30, 2018

Do people dislike Monday morning because they are disappointed the weekend is over, or because they dread the week ahead?

There’s not much a leader can do about the disappointment direct reports feel when the weekend is over but they can help make the start of the week less dreadful by helping them understand their job’s priorities.

Leaders can use a job accountability matrix to identify the three to five major parts or buckets of the job. Once these accountabilities have been identified, rank them in the order in which the direct report should think about them at the beginning of the week.

Helping directs reports REALLY understand the order of importance of their job accountabilities allows them to focus on what’s important and relieves some of their anxiety over the week ahead.

Leaders who empower their direct reports with rank-ordered job accountabilities experience more success.

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How Leaders Ask For Feedback Impacts The Feedback They Receive

March 23, 2018

What do Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Frédéric Chopin, George Orwell, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Charles Schulz, Steven Spielberg, Larry Page, and J. K. Rowling all have in common? They are all introverts whose feedback has made a huge impact.

Often, the most insightful feedback comes from the analytical, introverted observer who spends more time digesting and thinking through a situation or problem before offering their insight.  The challenge is, while they are processing their thoughts (especially in meetings filled with more extroverted types), the train has pulled out of the station before they have had a chance to offer their feedback.  I’m sure you’ve been in those meetings where an idea is presented, excitement builds, momentum is created and the last thing an introvert wants to do is speak up to share the potential obstacles or concerns they have thought about.

As the leader, it’s easy to accept an exciting new idea, but every good leader must explore potential downsides.  Because introverts are known to nod their heads as a way of demonstrating active listening, that head nod is often misinterpreted as consent to the idea at hand.  The team must encourage the introverts to express their opinions.  One of the best ways to do this is when an idea is discussed, take a trip around the room and ask everyone to identify two items they like best and two items that concern them about the idea.

Leaders who empower their direct reports to offer a difference of opinion often save the organization from avoidable problems or disasters while creating plans destined for success.

Instill More Personal Accountability

March 16, 2018

Of the 23 personal talent skills we measure, the mean ranking for personal accountability is second to last at 22nd.  Perhaps our society has simply accepted the weak behavior trait and essentially enabled it.  Leaders do not need to accept it and can actually encourage and develop their direct reports’ personal accountability.

To instill greater personal accountability:

  1. Establish clear expectations and milestones with each direct report with their input.
  2. Be certain to follow-up at the designated milestones for discussions about being on-track toward the ultimate goal.
  3. If the direct report is falling off track, do not simply move the deadline without serious consideration of the behavior being reinforced.
  4. Refrain from asking how someone can be helped (that simply allows the direct report to delegate up).  Instead ask, “What obstacles do you need removed or what additional resources do you need to get yourself back on track?”

With this empowering approach, leaders are communicating their confidence in direct reports who are capable of getting themselves back on track.  Allowing them to come up with plausible solutions encourages them to experience success.

Leaders who empower direct reports by holding them accountable for their commitments see more personal accountability and increase the opportunities for success.

The Best Interview Question To Ask

March 9, 2018

Most people have heard stories about silly interview questions aimed at gauging a candidate’s fit: “If you were a tree, what would you be and why?”, “What animal are you most like?”, and “If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why?”.

Also, there are the mind-bending questions Google asks trying to determine how smart a candidate is: “When there’s a wind blowing, does a round-trip by plane take more time, less time, or the same time?”, “Using only a 4-minute hourglass and a 7-minute hourglass, how can you measure 9 minutes.”, “At 3:15, what is the angle between the minute and hour hands on an analog clock?”.

While hiring managers may have good reasons to ask these questions, asking this single question can provide much more insight into a candidate’s qualifications: “What would you consider the most significant accomplishment in your career?”

Follow up these with these probing questions:

  • Tell me about your role and the team involved; why were you chosen?
  • What were the actual results achieved?
  • When did the project take place and how long did it take?
  • What were the 3-4 biggest challenges you faced and how did you deal with them?
  • When did you go the extra mile or take the initiative?
  • Explain your manager’s style and whether you liked it.
  • What were some of the biggest mistakes you made?
  • What aspects of the project did you truly enjoy?
  • What aspects did you not especially care about and how did you handle them?
  • Hiring managers will be amazed what they can learn about a candidate by digging deep into just this one event.

Empowered hiring managers ask insightful interview questions to make more successful hires.

Source: Lou Adler of The Adler Group

Remember Stephen Covey’s Habit #2 When Hiring

March 2, 2018

Stephen Covey’s popular “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was published in 1989 and has sold more than 25 million copies in 38 languages. This iconic inspirational book is as pertinent today as it was when first written. Though Covey presented many lessons to apply to the selection process, the most important is Habit #2: Begin With The End In Mind.

All too often hiring managers get caught up in the details of the selection process and lose sight of why they are making the hire to begin with.  It is important to find a way to accomplish the success factors associated with a job.  If hiring someone achieves that objective, great.  If the success factors can be accomplished by some other means, that’s great too.

Hiring managers shouldn’t assume making the perfect hire is going to ultimately achieve success. They must start by defining what success in the job looks like and recruit, hire, on-board, and manage towards those goals.  A good hire alone without success defined will not necessarily achieve the objective.

Empowered hiring managers “Begin With The End In Mind,” define success, and achieve the results they are looking for.