November 2010

November 24, 2010

Feedback Develops Everyone

Ironically, it often feels easier not to give feedback. For most people, whatever their role, the concern with what can be seen to be a confrontation is so much easier to delay, prevaricate with and – in many cases – simply put off altogether.

And that makes matters worse, almost every time.

Here are three ideas to help you get past giving feedback.

1. Be Fast and Frequent

When circumstances present themselves to give feedback, see it as a very positive opportunity. And then give that feedback, because it’s there for the value it can offer.

Giving feedback needs to be a regular activity, so that you begin to overcome the fear factor that so often comes with those much maligned words, ‘Would you like some feedback?’

The more you give feedback – not forgetting that it can so often simply be positive, without that negative sting in the tail – the more your people will learn to like it and be less defensive. Indeed, the goal we all seek as managers is where we add value by providing great feedback as a resource.

The better you give it soon after the event, such that it’s still relevant and fresh too, will be more effective than a few days later. Delaying says much about your level of self-esteem.

2. Make Feedback Two-Way

Being prepared to accept feedback means that you walk your own talk and your employees start to see the real reason behind feedback.

It’s actually there to help.

When we hear feedback, unless the language, trust and environment is perfect, it’s very easy to be defensive in response.

When as employees, we see our boss able to receive feedback willingly, appreciate it and be seen to develop themselves too, we start to want some of that.

As managers, accepting and showing the changes we make when we receive it, means feedback starts to be seen as not the monster with which it is so often tarnished.

3. What Do They Think?

Giving feedback has a prior step. Ask people if they would like to give themselves feedback first, listen and acknowledge and then share yours too.

And remember, ensuring that you acknowledge their positives first, shows just how much you value them as individuals and helps encourage people to try a different approach in the future in those areas where they might be better.

Employees pretty much do 95+% of their roles really well, so showing them perspectives of the opportunities to be even better needs to reflect how good they are first.

Want more? For 10 top tips on Effective Feedback, checkout here

Filed under Blog by Martin

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November 17, 2010

My Team Is Famous For…

Getting great people to be in the team is one of the most rewarding tactics to help managers deliver the results demanded of them.

Yet these ‘great people’ as employees can be so hard to find.

Some managers have found the key to unlock creating a successful team, by ensuring that they get well known for the environment in which they and their people work.

A compelling experience for those employees who are lucky enough to be in there. Indeed, an experience so rewarding that there is a queue to join.

Imagine that your team ‘brand’ is such that you have people clamouring to be a member. A reputation to ensure that you need not seek great employees any more – they come to find you.

In times where employee costs are most often the biggest expenditure any organisation has to endure, throwing money at recruitment is not only expensive, but it’s usually a waste of time.

Creating a renowned workplace experience that others want to become a part of, means that as long as the pay you offer isn’t stupidly small, you can get away with paying a good average rate for the job, so long as…

…what they find when they get there is good.

Here’s a secret. there are not that many components of good and what’s even more interesting, as long as you pay at an acceptable level, pay isn’t in that set of keys.

By providing an environment that your people like and enjoy, not only will the word get round and you find people come to you to join your team, you lose less of the one’s you’ve already got.

Now, it’s not about providing a cushy little number where your people can snooze their afternoon’s away. that’s not part of it at all – here are the keys…

1. A challenging job that:- stimulates and encourages employees to take risks and grow, safe in the knowledge that they will be supported and not chastised when things don’t quite go to plan.

2. Leadership that:- delivers it’s promises; values the individual; listens much more than speaks (whilst communicating effectively); is trusted and trust others; oils the wheels to make delivery of high performance easy for the team members; can be hands on; pays attention to what’s going on.

3. Have fun – simple as that!

With these in place, your team will definitely be famous for…the team that it really is worth being in.

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Developing Your People, Management Basics, Managing Me by Martin

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November 13, 2010

Help – Who’s In Charge?

The best managers do what they are supposed to do. They lead and manage their people to deliver the outcomes that their role requires.

Be this in a business that delivers products and services; an organization that is there to serve the public or maybe a not-for-profit body who do their best for those who need help.

A manager’s role is to get the best from their people.

This means that they focus on that key role and ensure that they have a team around them whose purpose is to deliver the systems, processes and standards that are vital for the team to be effective and efficient.

And sometimes that doesn’t work so well.

Take the case of a junior team member who wants to take some time off.

A hard worker, always ready to go the extra mile and to do that little more, because that’s their way of being. They always find the time to get there a bit early or to stay on when the business needs it.

They need a couple of hours off to help a sick relative to go to a medical appointment and they are even prepared to swap their shifts around to cover their time.

They trip off to HR to ask for the time, because this is the agreed team process for getting a bit of flexibility into employees worked time, to be told that ‘it’s not allowed’, by the HR assistant (who is, by the way, only acting on instructions they received).

They go away with their tail between their legs cursing how good, flexible and committed they themselves are to the team, whilst the organization does not give back to them in their time of need.

Where manager’s delegate the delivery of activities that the team needs to have in place, there’s always the risk that ‘the rule’ that’s in place is going to lose sight of a bigger picture issue, where that’s the rule that is implemented inflexibly.

The bigger picture being the (often small) acts of goodwill that engender motivation and commitment from the workforce when they recognize the efforts that their people make inwards.

Whilst there needs to be a system to prevent chaos, every manager needs to be sufficiently in touch to be receptive to the open and honest feedback that’s vital to understand whether the processes are simply serving themselves – or the team is being served by that valuable process that’s so useful.

Is the dog wagging the tail – or the tail wagging the dog?

Good managers delegate effectively.

Great managers sound out their people, by creating interactive relationships that go both ways, to ensure that the whole delivery of delegated activities serves to team as a whole – and not just get the boxes ticked.

Whilst compliance is important – it’s not the most human of ways to be – that needs a manager to use the time they have freed up by delegating effectively, by listening to what’s happening at grass roots – and responding to their needs within a process that works for the team, and not otherwise just because it’s always interpreted in a straight line.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Management Basics, Managing Me by Martin

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November 2, 2010

Tough Management Decisions

As they say ‘the buck stops here’.

For managers, there is nowhere to run when it’s time to make the hardest of decisions.

And they need look no further for the biggest challenges they will face than with the personnel they have in their teams.

Most often when decisions need to be made, as long as facts are clearly taken into account, although there might be some difficulty in telling those who might be disappointed, the right decision is pretty clear.

Being ‘factual’ makes it much more easy, because objective assessments are much easier to make than subjective ones. When we let emotions rule our decision-making process, that’s when things start to unravel.

Faced with a choice between two great contributors, is often where a manager needs to tread most carefully. Whilst it might seem to be a lot more difficult then, looking hard and being absolutely objective – not to mention keeping the required outcome very, very close to mind – can make it an easier task.

Here a manager really does have to watch for the influence of personal preference; favoritism; emotional attachment whilst deciding.

Because these can often blur objectivity.

Making the best decision – often when it seems that there might be a loser in the process – sometimes has to be done.

It can be tough to get it right for the bigger picture – and that’s where great managers earn their crust.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Focus on Results, Management Basics, Managing Me by Martin

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