Too Many Managers Avoid Problem Performers

A recent survey of over 2000 U.S. employers done for CareerBuilder found that 27 % of bosses had an employee they would like to see leave the organization. This is not surprising but what struck me was the proportion of managers who could see themselves adopting a strategy that avoids the problem entirely or borders on doing so. A plurality (42%) of responding managers said they would engage in a formal discussion around the performance shortfall which could include triggering the discipline … [Read more...]

Build Relationships with Your Staff, for the Brain’s Sake

I can't stand it when a manager, hearing me broach the importance of building trusting relationships with their employees, blurts out the tired old term, touchy-feely. To dismiss the complex role of relationships in fostering sustained high performance is to just not get it as a leader in the 21st century. In a recent posting on the Harvard Business Review Blog, Naomi Eisenberter and George Kohlrieser raise three important points about this from their studies in neuroleadership. "…most of … [Read more...]

It’s What They Don’t Do that Makes Them Bad

This post was triggered by a great post in the HBR Blog Network by Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman. This essence of their article is that most of the behaviors of so called "bad bosses" are, in their words, sins of omission, not commission. In other words, it's more what the boss fails to do that makes him or her a poor manager. Of ten "fatal flaws" their extensive research uncovered, only two (Inept Interpersonal Skills and Bad Judgement) were of the commission type. The authors go on to say … [Read more...]

Dial Down the Overblown Ego

How often have you heard that our favorite topic is ourself? This is certainly true but a few people go overboard. We call them egocentric. At a neurotic level, they become narcissistic. This comes from the Greek character Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and remained there, mesmerized by his image.   But we are managers, not therapists, so let's stay with the egotist. These individuals make terrible managers. They hog all the credit for … [Read more...]

Dialing the Ego Just Right

Ego Problem #1 You've seen this individual many times. The employee who regularly shares with you how great he (she) is, what a terrific job he is doing ("I just made an awesome presentation."), how much he knows ("Sorry to correct you but the research on this says…"). He refutes or deflects constructive feedback ("No, you've got it wrong. People actually do like to work with me. I have an expertise they need.") The sad reality is that these people are often really smart. They have a lot … [Read more...]

Every Job Matters (to Someone)

Recently I heard a presentation by Jim Gibbons, President & CEO of Goodwill Industries. In it he said that "every job matters." Every job has someone relying on the incumbent of the position to do their job well so that the other person can either: benefit or do their own job well. Your client/customer is either internal or external.You serve (or produce for) the external client or someone who delivers to the external client. This is true whether you operate in the private, … [Read more...]

Your Final Performance Review

I get some great ideas from my clients. In a recent coaching conversation my client and I were strategizing about how to fire up an employee in his 60's with about two years left before retirement who was slacking off.. I suggested he challenge the individual to make the choice to make his last two years his best two years. My client liked the idea. After pondering it for a moment he said, "What if I were to invite him now to draft what he would like his final review to say, the one that will … [Read more...]

Change Your Words, Change Their Minds

I continue to be amazed by that fundamental truth about living: how we choose to see a situation dictates the choices we–and others–make about it. Take a look at this 2-minute clip that demonstrates it better than any more words I can write. You will be glad you did. How you choose to deliver feedback on an employee's performance will have a huge impact on how he/she responds to your message…acceptance, in the spirit of learning, denial, as a victim, or angry counter attack. How you … [Read more...]

4 Steps to Effective Performance Management

The Institute for Corporate Productivity recently came out with four recommendations for putting in place an effective, robust process for managing and recognizing individual performance. Focusing, as is their wont, on the practices of high performing organizations, their research found that: Less than 20% of organizations in general have managers who are very highly or at least highly skilled in conducting performance reviews. Critical to managing individual performance effectively is … [Read more...]

Practice Difficult Employee Conversations

Frequently in my management workshops and always in my coaching practice, a manager will bring up a "difficult employee" situation and ask how they can have the tough conversation with that individual. Usually it is about some area where the person is not performing adequately. Sometimes it relates to a negative attitude, a generally lazy work style, or resisting appropriate work assignmnents. The challenge in these conversations is to (1) keep your cool, (2) listen for how the employee … [Read more...]