Every Manager a Coach

A recent study reinforces the value of coaching by managers throughout the organization. Here are a few key points it makes: Business results were 21% higher in enterprises where senior leaders very frequently make an effort to coach others. This increased when organizations had a culture that supports coaching and makes managers accountable for engaging in it. Despite this, only 11% of senior leaders are "true believers" in the value of coaching and having their managers … [Read more...]

Shift–From Evaluation to Coaching

Gary Ridge, CEO of the highly successful company, WD-40 (the lubrication folks) believes that everyone in his firm should get an 'A' in goal achievement. Their performance management process reflects this emphasis… They begin by annually setting individual goals and performance standards (nothing new here) They mandate quarterly performance conversations with each employee (nice, but not anything original) During these discussions, manager and employee review how the latter is doing … [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...]

Latest Findings around Performance Goals and Competencies

Hewitt Associates have come out with another informative study, called The Current State of Performance Management and Career Development 2010. They surveyed HR professionals from 193 employers.   On the performance side, it looks at how companies are using performance goals (the "what") and behavioral competencies (the "how") in their year end performance assessment process. Here are several key findings: While 15% said that their employees' individual performance goals were very … [Read more...]

Cause, Not Blame, Produces Better Performance Feedback

I subscribe to Alan Weiss's thought provoking monthly email newsletter called Balancing Act. In his latest issue, he offers the following tip: Here’s a quick secret for getting along and playing nicely in the sandbox: When something goes amiss, don’t look for guilt, look for cause. Focus on correcting the situation and not blaming anyone. The former develops support, the latter enmity.While he mentions it in a more general context of human relations, it is a good reminder for managers whose … [Read more...]

The Paradox of Who Makes the Decisions

Leadership Coach and blogger, John Agno, recently laid out eighteen  lessons on leadership from Colin Powell. One particularly caught my attention with its application to the non-military organizational environment: The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership. As John mentions, sometimes leaders foster a culture … [Read more...]

Taking Your People to Where They Don’t (Think They) Want to Go

Janice Stein, a political scientist at the University of Toronto, said a key indicator of a successful political leader is that he/she takes people to a place they don't necessarily want to go. I like this, on a macro scale. Think Lyndon Johnson on civil rights legislation, Helmut Kohl on embracing the eastern part of Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, or Nelson Mandela on healing a nation divided (see the film Invictus for a vivid portrayal of the latter). Now take this concept micro, … [Read more...]

Why Managers (Too Often) Solve it Themselves

How often do you jump in and solve your employees' problems for them? Probably more often than you would like and, if you are like most other bosses, more frequently than you should. Whether your employee brings you a problem/question or you are addressing a performance shortfall on his or her part, it is really, really tempting just to give him/her the answer and get on with life. I touched upon this phenomenon in my last post. Here now are four reasons for managers' tendency to adopt a … [Read more...]

Article – Ouch! It Hurts To Think This Much! (Communicating Performance Targets)

Are your employees clear about what you expect from their performance this year? I should be able to come in as a consultant, sit down one-on-one with any individual who reports to you and ask him or her, "What will constitute 'fully satisfactory' and 'outstanding' performance by you over the current year? Please describe it for me." When I then meet with you and ask the same question about the individual, your answer and theirs should pretty well match. In working with organizations large … [Read more...]

Suppress Your Default Response; Listen First

I was doing some small group coaching sessions recently with members of one of my clients' management team. These sessions are designed to keep alive the learning from a multi-day leadership development program we had delivered earlier. The participants assembled in groups of six for a couple of hours to address specific people management issues and questions that had arisen for them since the training. This is a powerful process which generates stimulating, problem-solving discussions. While … [Read more...]