When Your High-Potentials Need That Extra Push

Even high-potential employees sometimes progress more slowly than a manager is expecting. You might feel confused if you see this happening on the team you manage. Why are highly motivated, highly-skilled people not making the anticipated progress on the projects assigned to them?

Managing high-potential employees

When hi-po’s don’t seem to get going as fast as we thought they would, what they often need is focused mentoring and coaching.

The ABC’s of Managing High-Potential Employees

An effective formula for mentoring and coaching your hi-po’s is — in all seriousness — as simple as A-B-C. Use these 3 communication approaches with your high potentials to keep them moving forward. (more…)

You Don’t Have to Like Everyone You Manage

Not everyone we work with, work for, or who works for us is going to have the same drive, skill, or values we have or be a perfect personality match. Yet we need to accomplish objectives with and through these individuals no matter what opinions we hold about them or how easy or hard it may be to work with them.

Team management

Whether intentionally or not, sometimes we as managers end up placing the direct reports we work well with in what Manzoni and Barsoux have called an “in-group” while placing others in an “out-group,” even though their work output may be similar.

When Managers Outcast Their Own Direct Reports

Because the work output of those in the out-group is similar to those in the in-group, poor performance is not the reasoning here. Instead, this is a phenomenon of placing good performers in the out-group based on criteria other than current performance. (more…)

9 Ways for Managers to Get the Most from Team Members

If you’d like to get the most out of all of your team members, here are 9 inclusive actions you can take, starting, now.

Managing teams

Research shows that connecting genuinely with other people makes people smarter, healthier, and more productive (Giles Gheusi et al. “A Niche for Adult Neurogenesis in Social Behaviors”).

Over the long-term, happier employees produce much more than those who are sidelined or unhappy at work. Happier employees also have superior attendance, go above and beyond the call of duty, attract others who are just as committed, and are less likely to quit (Spreitzer & Porath, “Creating Sustainable Performance“).

You can start these 9 actions with your team right away to keep them connected and engaged, and increase the likelihood that they’re happy in their work environment.

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Why Asking “Why?” is a Big Mistake

Why did you feed your hamburger to the dog?
Why didn’t you make your bed?
Why didn’t you answer me when I called you?  

Communication skills for managers

Remember when you were a kid and you did something your parents didn’t like? Remember when they “asked” you, in a manner of speaking, why you fed your hamburger to the dog?

In my family that type of why question was uttered not so much to discover the motivation behind the behavior, but rather to indicate that whatever my sisters or I had done was wrong and should have been different.

But instead of us moving toward solution or changing our behavior, we tended to respond with defensiveness and occasionally a fight. And one thing was for certain, the dog still got a healthy helping of hamburger. We just got better at hiding it.

For many kids that why question became a trigger for feeling made wrong for having done something apparently unacceptable, and provoked a response to defend against those uncomfortable feelings. There are a lot of adults who still feel this way when faced with a why question of this type. (more…)

Conversations You Hate Having

As a leader or manager, what conversations do you most dislike having with those you manage? For a lot of leaders, a performance adjustment conversation sits near the top of that list.

Feedback conversations made easier

This is that discussion that becomes necessary when performance either is not up to where it needs to be, or requires the individual to start, stop, or change what he or she is doing in order to achieve the expected result.

But performance adjustment conversations can be easier than we think. Do you have a direct report you need to have such a talk with? These 4 steps can help.  (more…)

How to Stay Cool When Conversations Heat Up at Work

“Did you even bother to read what we sent you?!” A pile of papers whizzed past me at the conference table and scattered on the floor. The VP who sent them sailing my way wasn’t happy with the proposal I’d prepared for the executive team.

Maintain your leadership presence by keeping cool when under attack

It’s happened to many of us at some point – an unexpected personal attack in a professional environment.

There will always be others, no matter what organizational level they’re at, who’ll be critical of your proposals and ideas, or your methods for achieving results, or your team, or something else about you personally or professionally.

Why Keep Cool?

Successfully managing yourself in those instances determines how you’ll be viewed as a leader. You can enhance your leadership presence and image by dealing with the situation confidently and calmly. But if you lack emotional control, you could find yourself sidelined. (more…)

Forgetting the Final Step in Meetings Can Hurt Later

“This was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had presenting to execs.” My client is a senior director in high tech and he and a colleague had just done a major presentation to executive leadership. He retraced the steps for me.

How to end meetings effectively

He and his colleague, also a senior director, had reached what they thought was a clear decision about what each of them was going to present. It wasn’t until they got in front of the senior leaders that they discovered that one very important discussion topic was not on either of their lists.

What happened? Ineffective closure in their planning session. They had walked away from their conversation without summarizing everything they’d talked about. As a result, when it came time for the presentation, they looked unprepared to senior staff. (more…)

How to Avoid the 6 Points of Failure that Kill Decision-Making on Teams

The success or failure of the team you lead depends on the quality of your team’s decisions as well as your follow-through on those decisions.

decision making on teams

What stops teams from making and carrying out good decisions?  There are 6 points of failure that kill this process on teams: the end result is not defined; a stakeholder analysis hasn’t been done; the impact analysis is incomplete; next steps aren’t clearly outlined; follow-up is undefined, slow or absent.

Making and carrying out good decisions on teams depends on 6 crucial steps to prevent these points of failure. (more…)

You Won’t Believe This Method for Cutting Meeting Time in Half

Or maybe you will. The best method for cutting meeting time in half is to inform participants that your meetings will now be half as long as they used to be — and follow the 6 tips below to make it work.

How to cut meeting time in half

Do you notice that when you’ve got only 15 minutes to get something done, you do it? But if you’ve got an hour to do the same thing, it often ends up taking that long? (more…)

3 Steps to Eliminate Wasted Time in the Next Meeting You Lead

You’re leading a meeting. Things look like they’re moving right along. Then wham! Within a second, someone’s taken off with the agenda and you’re left scrambling to get things back on track before all the meeting time is eaten up with tangential talk. What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing if you’re the scene-stealer, but everything if you’re the one running the show.

productive meetings

There are 3 ways to stop time-wasters from running away with the meeting. (more…)