Companies tout their ability to come up with innovative products, services and ideas for clients, but managers are far less imaginative when it comes to handling employees not working up to par.
Often, the knee-jerk reaction to an underperformer is fast termination, immediately followed by an interminably slow recruitment and onboarding process. Not only does this chew up time and resources, but it can demoralize departments. Plus, if the problem wasn’t the employee but the system itself, the next hire will likely fall into the same pattern of mediocrity, exasperation, or burnout.
A better response to the issue of a lagging employee is to dig into the root of the problem. Plenty of factors and barriers can drive poor performance. Until managers seek out the true reasons for underwhelming deliverables, they’ll be doomed to repeat the experience.
Understanding why talent may (temporarily) be lacking
Managers who don’t immediately hit the eject button may discover that what seems like an individual challenge is actually an organizational concern. The only way to figure out what’s really happening is to be willing to coach people who struggle to fulfill their requirements.
Truly, mentoring can be the key to solving many on-the-job conundrums. Michael D. Mumford, author of "Pathways to Outstanding Leadership: A Comparative Analysis of Charismatic, Ideological, and Pragmatic Leaders," says that hands-on, collaborative leadership support lowers employees’ resistance to be creative. He refers to this type of management as “respecting the ideas and the competence of the person as a creator,” which is in direct contrast to hire-fast, fire-faster philosophies.
Another benefit to switching to a coaching style when managing underperformers is that collective engagement begins to tick upward. A study released by Deloitte in 2016 explained that the key to engagement is an “enabling infrastructure.” Individuals who aren’t privately or publicly chastised for one-time errors feel more apt to come forward when they need different timelines or see an opportunity to make tangible changes to positively affect deliverables.
Opening the path to talk instead of termination
Is one or more of your team members continuously delivering unacceptable, uninspiring work? Implement these tactics to find out if the problem lies at the company’s — and not the worker's — feet.
1. Hold one-on-one meetings
These shouldn’t be scary, “you’re in big trouble, buster” conversations. Make your time with employees a prime opportunity for them to describe their obstacles. Listen fully. Then, explore ways to partner on closing gaps in processes to help them do better work. They’re the ones doing the jobs; you’re not helping if all you do is dictate.
2. Invest in necessary resources
Money’s tight everywhere. That doesn’t mean leaders should justify holding back resources from employees. When you hear that your employees aren’t able to efficiently or effectively complete assignments because they don’t have the proper tools, take their words seriously.
3. Allocate time to lead
You have a running to-do list that never gets shorter. Still, set aside time to inspire and coach your people. Prioritize your time according to what your employees need from you, which may mean coming in earlier or staying later than you anticipated.
4. Talk “big picture” with the team
Sometimes, people can’t see how they fit into an organization's vision without prompting. Give them a 30,000-foot perspective on their unique role; it may just provide the meaning they need to turn the corner. Never underestimate the power of purpose; when individuals feel their contributions matter, they often step up their games.
Although parting ways with a bad hire is sometimes inevitable, it shouldn’t be the first line of defense (as long as the employee did nothing unethical or egregious). Focus on identifying and removing obstacles, then evaluate the results. You may just find that your “questionable fit” is actually a fantastic hit.
By Perri Grinberg Source: https://www.smartbrief.com/original/2018/09/how-teaching-instead
You’re a toxic perfectionist if:
1. You’re stingy with gratitude.
2. Giving compliments is like pulling teeth.
3. No one’s work is good enough.
4. Mistakes are proof you’re a loser.
5. Pointing out errors is a sport.
6. Celebrating success is for babies.
7. You never admit mistakes.
8. You don’t apologize.
9. Weakness is something other people have.
10. Avoiding mistakes describes your attitude.
11. You always fall short of your expectations.
12. If you can’t be perfect you don’t try.
13. Everything is either/or for you.
14. It’s not about progress. The only thing that matters is results.
15. Blame is your first response, because you can’t bear the thought that YOU fell short.
16. Everything has to be done your way.
How Will You Show Up in 2019?
The end of one year leading to a new year has always been a time when I reflect on the year that is exiting to understand the events of the year, my emotions, and what worked well, and what didn’t. When I was working full time in the workforce there was always a portion of my reflection that looked at what had worked well in our business, what didn’t, and what changes I needed to make in how I led. Most often, I reflected on the following topics: Relationships, Communication, Critical Thinking/Problem Solving, Innovation, Strategy.
If you have read my work, you know that I value relationships above all else in the leadership spectrum. Leadership is the byproduct of relationship. It determines the quality and amount of influence I have. I have found that to be the case whether I was talking from a business leadership perspective, or a personal perspective. One component of that relationship building has to do with whether I am ‘responding’ or ‘reacting.’ The more I respond, the more I build trust because the more my behavior matches what the situation calls for. I think about where I need to strengthen my relationships. Who do I need to spend more time with? Who don’t I know well enough to know what their goals, desires, dreams for their job or their future look like? That knowledge helps me to understand where I need to spend time.
Communication is always a critical component in my daily world. What is my desired message (be it written, verbal or nonverbal)? Is it clear? Is it concise? Does it contain the tone that I want? Who do I want to communicate with? What is the content? How often? Communication is not just about the ‘message.’ The greater skill in ‘communicating’ has to do with how I listen. Am I listening to understand, or are my assumption and biases in the way of the deeper understanding? Over the years I have found that my communication was at its best when I had listened with a presence and desire for understanding that broadened my ability to craft a better, more concise, more meaningful message when it was my turn to speak/write.
Critical thinking, for me, is the ability to think reflectively and independently in order to make a thoughtful decision. This requires work. It is part of my reflection on am I reacting or am I responding? What assumptions or biases are at work in my thinking? Critical thinking may seem like a ‘strange’ area to focus on, but my observation is that with the speed with which information and business moves, we have lost some of the discipline we need to make good decisions. I believe that to conduct business and life well requires me/us to have the discipline of reflection and contemplation so that we can live/work with informed intention concerning the direction of our lives and work. As a leader, and a parent, I believe that we should be looking forward to every situation where we can educate. Education is that act of ‘calling forth’ the information from another. Yes, there are times when we will ‘teach’ because the knowledge doesn’t exist, but I believe our best work comes when we are able to help draw out the information that lies within. When we help others to discover their answers, they are more motivated to go develop the best version of themselves.
The next area I would reflect on is innovation. Over time there is an allure to ‘doing what we have always done.’ Whether we like to admit it or not, we like developing certain ‘patterns’ to our lives because then we don’t have to think or work as hard. The path that is well worn may be comfortable, but it may not be best. I want to be curious. Curiosity requires more questions than answers. A phrase I used to use with my work teams was, “Is there another right answer? Is there another way to look at this?” These questions are useful in forcing us to think deeper and broader than we might be comfortable with. They are also the questions that help us ‘imagine’ another way; unlocking creativity that leads to another way. It leads to innovation.
Lastly, Strategy is the plan we use to help us reach our vision (our view of the future). This vision can be about ourselves, or about our work/company. Are we pursuing a plan that has the best chance for helping us achieve our goal/vision? Is what we are doing getting us what we want? Reflecting on strategy always helped me to determine if the direction were heading was where we wanted to go. Were the assumptions from the prior year, or longer, still true? What changes had occurred in environment (technology, competitiveness, client growth, workforce changes) that needed to be re-examined? I spent time on this last because the other areas had more of a personal element of how I was doing in each of those areas compared to strategy, which tended to include more of a ‘group think’ approach. I found it important to reflect first on what I was doing that was working, or not, before I reflected on the value of the overall strategy.
The final area of reflection for the new year had to do with how I was caring for my four energy centers (Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Spiritual – PIES). How I ‘show up’ has a lot to do with that care. Who I am in life has everything to do with these centers. Our energy is our only renewable resource. The quality of our relationships, our abilities at work, our ability to be pursue our desires, to be at our very best, all stem from this energy. If we are ‘off center’ in any of our PIES we will be and bring something less than.
How do you want to show up in 2019? What’s most important? Is it in the area of your health, your family, your development, your work, your career? What will you have if you are able to achieve what is most important? What will it take to look back on 2019 next December and say, “This was a really good year.”?
(Past Executive Director National Hospital Collector's Assoc and Agency President)
To your journey and living out the best version of you…
https://gallery.mailchimp.com/80cea3ce64e5c11a05948d3f4/images/b6dced20-8237-43c7-b1db-0299e8c7a576.jpg" height="86" src="file:///C:/Users/DWILLI~1/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.jpg" width="60"/>Leadership Vision, LLC performs coaching and consulting services in the areas of strategy mapping, key decision processes, pay-for-performance planning, executive succession and transition planning, leadership development and effectiveness, and execution (performance management). They work with owners, senior leadership, and emerging leaders as well as teams. Jim puts it succinctly, “Whether we work in business, or with private individuals, our passion is to have these individuals find the place where they can excel, bringing increased performance in their business lives and greater satisfaction in their personal lives."
In agile, complex, collaborative organizations, there is a direct connection between the quality of information flow and the quality of results. Shared context (or shared consciousness as described in the great book Team of Teams by General McChrystal) is a fundamental requirement for smart coordination, empowered execution, and distributed decision making. However, many organizations find themselves stuck with an information dam – or an information flood – or both.
Dams: Some organizations are plagued with places where information abruptly stops. Maybe it’s a level of leadership that doesn’t consistently cascade key messages to their teams. Or it’s decisions that don’t get written down. It could be an obscure place on the intranet that only Dan knows about. Or it might get stuck behind a password, when it needs to be in the wild. Some dams are deliberate – the result of outdated beliefs that hording information is a path to power. But most are accidental.
Floods: Many organizations have the opposite problem: A flood of information in the form of hundreds of emails, IMs, Slack channels, Box links, Team sites, intranet, server folders, update meetings, dashboards, and more. Even the list is overwhelming. Information flooding is almost always the result of thousands of well-meaning acts that add up to a deluge. No wonder knowledge workers spend 20% of their time hunting for information.
It’s said that information is power, but it’s far more accurate to say that relevant information is power. The rest is just noise.
Getting information to flow correctly is possible, but it demands intention, design, and discipline. As a first step, pull your team together to assess the current state within your organization. Where is information getting stuck behind a dam? Are people overwhelmed by a flood of channels, emails and update meetings? If it’s not where you want it to be, consider these questions:
Use your insights from the conversation to start taking concrete steps forward. We’ll talk about some of the more complex ideas in a future article. For now, these two no-regrets moves are a great place to start.
1. Stop “defaulting” to email
Is email your go-to for sharing information? Before you hit send again, consider these significant shortcomings: Attachments are immediately out of date, it’s very easy to lose the thread when multiple people are responding, content isn’t easily reference-able or reusable in the future, and the recipient (consumer) can’t control what he or she sees. There’s no way to add or remove yourself from an email. We suggest limiting it to specific use cases:
When you do use it, help your recipients manage their information flow:
2. Establish team practices for using Slack (or Microsoft Teams or other…)
If you are one of the over 8 million daily users of Slack, you know its power to transform the way information flows across an organization. But like any tool, you run the risk of misusing it. We suggest your team adopt these practices:
The ability to collaborate requires people have access to the right information at the right time. These steps will make a meaningful difference in your team’s day to day operations.
By Shani Harmon and Renee Cullinan
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