Be Specific! How to see REAL Performance Improvement

Misunderstanding Quotes

Up your game, Tone it down, Chill out, Be more supportive, Adjust your attitude, Come to work on time, Stop abusing time and leave, Be more creative, Be a team player…

These are all common, legitimate feedback given to staff who need to improve their performance in  managerial and interactive skills. The feedback is also equally vague and generic and by themselves do nothing to give managers the results they actually need.

The more specific you can be, the clearer a picture you can paint that your employee will understand, the greater the chances of the “aha!” moment that creates the turnaround you’ve been looking for.

Even if it means consulting a thesaurus, there must be specific verbs that can attach to the desired results.

Here are some example of do’s and don’ts for common behavioral challenges. Continue reading

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Reverse-Engineering Your Worst Management Disasters

reverseReverse engineering is taking apart an object to see how it works in order to duplicate or enhance the object.  – WhatIs.com

Reverse engineering our disasters means really examining them, rather than sweeping them under the rug in embarrassment.We may be leaders. We may be managers, even at a high level. But being human, we will blow it sometimes. Sometimes BIG TIME. Part of recovering from our failures is to determine to grow from them.

We grow when we learn to be honest, really reflect on our disasters and their repercussions and learn to ask ourselves good, hard questions. I recommend having your management coach, immediate supervisor or trusted colleague help by asking you good questions, too. Notice that none of them are “why” questions. They’re not off-limits but it is too tempting to do the parental “why did you break the lamp?” accusation for which there is no real answer.

For each question there are implied follow-up questions that for space’s sake I did not note here. For example: “Has this happened before?” should be followed up by “Give examples. Then what happened? How did you respond then? To what consequence, if any?”

Your answers lie in the follow-up questions. All of this takes courage and accountability to do well. Continue reading

Prop or Drop? 7 Last- chance Fixes for Poor Performers



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Some employees do such poor work, have such miserable ethics and are so obviously misaligned with the values of a company that they are relatively easy to fire. There is no second guessing by HR or your management peers. The subordinate’s colleagues are saying, “What took you so long?!”

Most often, however, giving a series of poor evaluations presents another dilemma; while they may deserve to be fired it seems to final, too fast. You wonder if this would be a big mistake.

Here are 7 interim solutions: Mix and match and buy yourself time both to re-evaluate your position and give the employee a chance to make a turnaround. Continue reading

Managing Your “Meeting Pouter”

You’re in your monthly strategic meeting when for the umpteenth time, Feng makes a snarky comment to a new suggestion. Everyone either glares at him with annoyance or audibly sighs. Here we go again! Will the boss ever say something to him??

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While it may seem like a simple case of poor work ethic (which it sometimes is), this lack of proper meeting decorum is also a symptom of poor emotional intelligence (EI). Koman and Wolff identify  four overarching clusters of EI skills: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management (Goleman, 2001; Boyatzis, Goleman & Rhee, 1999). The lack of any of the cluster of skills mentioned can present in inappropriate behavior with a damaging impact at your meetings.  I call these resulting behaviors – for simplicity sake – “pouting”.

Categories of “pouting” we may observe at meetings Continue reading