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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March 20, 2010

Management Development Tips – The Simple Art Of Coaching Your People

There are many ways to develop those employees that you have within your team. Some are more productive than others and depend on your own, personal management style.

The easiest way is to ensure that you use the momentum each individual has within themselves.

When we manage, we use the services of the individuals in our teams, to pull together to create a valuable return on our investment in them.

A lot of a manager’s time is spent focusing on ensuring that they do what we want them to do and chasing them till they do.

We can fire instructions all day long – and then tomorrow, come right back for more which, frankly, makes for a day’s hard work, every day of your career.

Or we can coach.

Over the last few years, coaching has got a bit of a reputation.

From a weird and wonderful ‘mumbo-jumbo’ new age activity (the ‘life-coaching’ thing), right through to seriously expensive executive coaching at the highest level, coaching comes in all shapes and forms.

For managers, it’s a behavior; a style of way of working that’s useful and effective and doesn’t require loads of time one-on-one and face-to-face with someone sitting across from you in your office for a couple of hours.

Coaching is best done in the informal relationships you have with your people, in the easy and regular conversations you have with them all the time.

The truth is that it’s not hard to find out for yourself what coaching is all about – and as you master it as a skill, you will have all you need to be a very effective – and attractive – manager style.

There are books and programs out there that offer instruction and advice about what to do first and second and last. The truth is that coaching isn’t that difficult at all – the experts and gurus just make it out to be!

Forget the huge expense and months, if not years, of exclusive and extravagant training, be it online, via conference call or as many away-days that you can squeeze in.

It’s always best to find ways to make it easy for you, with relevant, quick and simple action steps to use every day, to help you make the most of this amazing skill.

When you seek the information you need to understand what coaching is all about, you want to find only as much as you need to make this work really well for you. The information and skills you seek will be geared to simple application and practice, leading to a growing confidence inside yourself with results to boot.

Coaching is not at all complicated, whatever you might hear, especially at the level a manager needs. Good questioning and listening skills, mixed in with a healthy dose of effective relationship building and you’re there.

And it is probably the most powerful management skill you can use, in whatever business or organization you are in, at whatever level of experience or skill you currently have.

Because having a coaching attitude, overlays everything we do in the way we support guide and manage those in our care as managers.

And that’s very powerful indeed!

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Management Basics, Management Development Tips by Martin

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February 19, 2010

13 Employee Benefits of Being Coached

Taking the time to create a coaching environment for your workplace can take a bit of effort, especially to start with. There are many benefits to managers to spend time on this work and, without doubt, many benefits for their people too.

When employees work with an organization, they look to provide for their families and loved ones in the first instance. Once that’s settles, they look for more.

In coaching environments, there are many opportunities for employees to shine. Their skills and talents are so often hidden from view, that it takes the work and effort of a good manager with those skills to uncover just how capable they are.

Once a coaching culture is created, there are many benefits for employees, so it becomes a no-brainer. To see why, let’s take a look at just ten of the employee benefits:-

•    Develop their skills – bringing out the latent, yet sometimes hidden capabilities that are their potential
•    Build confidence – with new skills, successfully being used, confidence grows and new opportunities open up
•    Learn by doing – enhances the abilities to work at challenges in real-life situations, building self-esteem
•    Feel fulfilled – once more successful, individuals feel good about themselves, taking this into their lives outside the workplace
•    Enjoy their work – challenges stimulate and enthuse, where coaching supports this development, especially in a safe place to take risk
•    Achieve more – coaching supports ongoing development, overlaying one success on the other, where there are no upper limits
•    Get more personal reward – financial rewards come and whilst valued, are often secondary to the feeling of value they enjoy
•    Enhance their CV – development through coaching support builds careers, even from a base where expectations are minimal
•    Become solution-focused rather than problem-focused – anything’s possible, rather than another difficulty in a sequence of difficulties
•    Are pro-active – coached employees start to see this as a process where they can coach themselves too, without support, so fix problems with their new found confidence
•    Ask less of you – because so often now, they can do it for themselves, contributing constructively, rather than being a burden
•    Succeed – which breeds more confidence, more challenges undertaken and then more success – a virtuous circle
•    Go home each night in a great frame on mind – and share their feelgood with their loved ones, enhancing family life too

So, with that comprehensive list of key benefits from a coaching environment, your employees are likely to be raring to go.

If you were not a manager with a coaching leaning in the past, perhaps you might be encouraged to take a closer look now!

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

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February 14, 2010

Management Listening – The Vital Ingredient In Employee Development

There are many tactics managers adopt when they are interacting with their teams.

On a one-to-one basis, nothing is more important than the capacity to take the time to listen effectively.

Getting to know your people well is one of the most important activities for anyone in a management or supervisory position. Armed with good knowledge about your people, you can make effective and often rapid progress.

Taking the time to spend with them, as often as you can and as one-to-one as you can is the first step, but what do you do with that important time?

Whilst many might say that spending the time telling them about your ideas and plans for the future; the way you want them to work for you and what your expectations are would be right, there is one activity that is much more important.

Taking the time to listen to them, closely where possible, is an incredibly important behavior for any manager to demonstrate, as often as they can.

So, why does listening matter as a tool to develop your people? Well, listening is the vital tool that will make you stand out as a great manager.

It has its twists and turns that you need to practice and that will enhance it as a productive skill for you as you evolve, because listening to others creates a partnership that is much more equal than the old command and control management structures.

Within that equality, you are able to leverage the perspectives, skills and talents that cumulatively, your people will bring to your team.

This is so much more than just you.

By listening carefully, you build your relationship and you help them develop. Your people learn that they themselves are powerful contributors and that you value them.

They learn as they speak as they see you listen, because it gives them the time and confidence to process thoughts and ideas as they go.

This works for many people in itself, whilst to be fair, some prefer to consider matters for themselves in their own time, yet with the time you’ve given them and that free space to air their thoughts, they will have a head start when they start to think through issues for themselves.

Listening shows them that you take them seriously and that their contribution makes a difference.

Whilst this might seem pretty much a given, you will be amazed at how many employees feel that they don’t matter and that ‘nobody ever listens’.

Even though you think you might have it right, there’s always scope to expand and learn yourself – as you listen.

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

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