Many of you are finishing up year-end performance reviews and working with your team members to set goals for the coming year. But have you thought about how you’re going to help your staff keep working on target toward those goals? The key is to provide consistent feedback on their performance along the way.
I first heard the phrase feedback is the breakfast of champions from a former colleague, Rick Tate. He explained it in sports terms. Can you imagine training for the Olympics with no one telling you how fast you ran or how high you jumped? That idea seems ludicrous, yet many people operate in a vacuum in organizations, not knowing how well they are doing on any given task.
Too often managers save up negative feedback and unload it all at once over a minor incident or during a performance review. Even worse, others misrepresent the performance review and act as if everything is okay when it really isn’t. Both situations are dangerous. When people are attacked or not dealt with truthfully, they lose respect for their manager and their organization as well as pride in their own work.
Truthful, timely feedback is important to people. We all want to know how well we are doing whether that comes in the form of praise for a job well done, coaching to improve performance, or even redirection if necessary. I firmly believe that providing clear feedback on a regular basis is the most cost-effective strategy for improving performance and instilling satisfaction. It can be done quickly, it costs nothing, and it can turn performance around fast.
People often ask me how they can be more effective as a manager. One approach I recommend is to meet one-on-one with each of your direct reports for 15 to 30 minutes at least once every two weeks.
Having one-on-one meetings is a simple strategy and just plain common sense—but it’s not common practice, according to polling we conducted together with Training magazine earlier this year. When we asked people what they wanted out of their one-on-ones with their immediate supervisor, we discovered managers aren’t making time to meet with their direct reports on a regular basis—and when they do meet, they aren’t using the time effectively. (See infographic.) Continue reading
I was talking with some friends at a recent morning men’s group. Our focus was on the importance of being connected to other people and what it means. We came up with five things we think help you really get connected to others—at work, and in all aspects of life. How would you rate yourself in these five areas?
- Listen more than you speak. We talked about listening a lot. If God wanted you to speak more than listen, he would have given you two mouths!
- Praise other people’s efforts. This one has always been so important to me. Catch people doing things right. That really helps you get connected with people.
- Show interest in others. It’s not all about you. Find out about people and their families and learn about what’s happening in their lives.
- Be willing to share about yourself. In our book Lead with LUV, my coauthor and former Southwest Airlines president Colleen Barrett said that people admire your skills but they really love your vulnerability. Are you willing to share about yourself? I think being vulnerable with people is really important.
- Ask for input from others—ask people to help you. People really feel connected if they can be of help to you. Continue reading
In my last blog I talked about walking toward wisdom as one of the four major areas of growth for leaders and aspiring leaders, along with gaining knowledge, reaching out to others, and opening your world. During your lifelong pursuit of wisdom, it is necessary to do a thorough self evaluation and also to be continually open to honest feedback from others. In addition, you must seek out the counsel of those with more wisdom and experience than yourself. Continue reading
As I continue on with the lessons from Great Leaders Grow, my latest book written with Mark Miller, you may notice that all three of the previously mentioned areas in which leaders must grow—gaining knowledge, reaching out to others, and opening your world—are lifelong pursuits. Our fourth way to assure growth as a leader, Walk Toward Wisdom, is no different. The pursuit of wisdom never ends for those who aspire to leadership. Continue reading