Managing Up

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Copyright: 123rf

If I asked your boss to tell me about you, what would they say?
If I asked you about your employees, what would you say about them?
We tend to think our bosses would speak highly of us (‘cause we rock!) but don’t usually speak that highly of those who report to us. 

So, wait!  Does that mean maybe there’s a disconnect between your boss’s perception and your actual behavior? Could be.

Answer these questions to help align perception and reality:

  1. Do I understand my boss’s expectations for me?
  2. Does my boss know what I need to meet those expectations?
  3. What have I been saying I’ll do and doing?
  4. What have I been saying I’ll do and not doing?
  5. What have I done and not said that I’ve done?
  6. What have I not said and not done – am I missing opportunities to step up and offer assistance?
  7. When others talk about my boss, whose side do I take?
  8. What could I do to support my manager more effectively?

You spend a lot of time focusing on your team, which is critical. Take a moment and think up.

Check out our Program of the Month: Presenting with Impact!

How would you like your Feedback?

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Copyright: 123rf

How do you like your feedback?

  • Once a year
  • Once a quarter
  • Once a week
  • Once a day
  • More than once a day

Another difference across the generations is how often we like feedback.

  • For Traditionalists (70 years+), no news is good news.
  • For Boomers (55 years+), if it helps with job performance, status or promotion, then let me know.
  • For Gen X (35-55 years), more frequent feedback is better and explain WHY the preferred way is preferred.
  • Millennials (under 35 in the workplace) were raised on constant feedback and yes, it was mostly positive.  They were set up for success with opportunities for do-overs, rails on their bowling lanes, markers that didn’t color outside the lines.  This is good news!  They are open to fast, to-the-point feedback.

My favorite tool for instructions and feedback is using the SMART method.  To read more about the impact, read this Forbes article.

Bottom line, give Millennials quick pats on the back and meaningful feedback.  It helps them learn and helps you engage and retain them.

Want to learn more about Managing the Mix? Check out our Program of the Month here.

Happy Workplaces Pt. 2

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Welcome back to our April series on happy workplaces! Here's the second tip.

Tip #2: Value Employees reported in a survey of thousands that those who felt their supervisors were supportive were more likely to stay with the organization AND be more engaged.

Putting it into practice: Remember that every member of your team is important and needed for the work they do. Then let them know that when you're discussing tasks and assignments.

It's amazing how far a phrase like, "That last write-up was exactly what we're looking for, keep it up," can go to make someone feel like their work is important.

What do you do to engage your team? 

The Good, the Bad, and the Not Yet


As you know, I’m a big fan of immediate, specific, positive feedback.  And I’m not alone.  There is plenty of research that toots the powerful impact these moments have on performance.

I’m also a fan of immediate, specific, feedback for improvement.

Except when:

  • You are too upset to deliver the information constructively;     
  • You don’t know the whole story;
  • You can see that the other person is reacting emotionally to the situation;
  • You don’t have time to make it a conversation which may result in you telling vs. talking;
    and perhaps the toughest,      
  • You notice the little voice in your head is saying "I knew it” which means you are feeling judgmental, rather than curious.

Feedback is one of the best ways to motivate or de-motivate a team member.  For best results, choose your timing and your words carefully. 

Number 5 is Alive!

Do you remember that line from the 1986 movie, Short Circuit? It was uttered in reference to Johnny 5, the adorable, input-seeking robot who was brought to life by a lightning strike.

What’s my point?  Like Number 5, Millennials like input.  Why?  They were given so much input and feedback while growing up that they’ve come to expect it in the workplace.

This is good news!  If you’ve got workers who are under 32 years old, tell them what they are doing well, tell them what they are doing wrong, keep it casual and tell them often.  It will engage them and it will educate them.


The 5 Whys

I ran a great session on Change and Problem Solving with a fun bunch of professionals last week. Shout out to #WoltersKluwer #Nashville !!

One of the most popular take-aways was using the problem-solving model, “The 5 Whys”, as a way to have more effective feedback conversations with team members.

Here’s how it works.  When there is an issue, uncover the true problem by asking "why" no fewer than five times.  

Issue:  Bart is often late for work.

1.     Why are you late, Bart?  Traffic is bad.

2.     Why?  'Cause I have to get on the Always-Backed-up-Highway.

3.     Why?  'Cause I drop my daughter off at daycare across town.

4.     Why do you go to that daycare?  'Cause it’s closer to my wife’s office and she picks our daughter up at the end of the day.

5.     Why?  ‘Cause I don’t get out of work in time to do pick-up.

Spot any solutions yet?  

Now you can put your problem-solving hat on and work collaboratively with Bart to create focused solutions, rather than assuming a bad attitude, or tips on navigating traffic or buying alarm clocks!