Tag Archives: Feedback

Immediate and Specific Feedback Is Best

“When I give performance feedback to employees, I want them to listen to what I’m saying. If they argue, get defensive, or give me body language that indicates a bad attitude, I’m not going to waste any more of my time. If they mess up again, I’ll just fire them.”           Is that the gospel according to Donald Trump or is it Simon Cowell? Neither. It’s your garden- variety supervisor, manager, or business owner. “I Continue reading →

She’s the Best

Want to be the best at what you do? “She’s the best boss I’ve had because she’s as open-minded as she is clear about expectations. I always know where I stand with her because she’s willing to tell me the truth in ways that I understand. She’s never hurtful, always constructive, and trusts my ability to learn and grow on the job.” “He’s the best manager I’ve had because he keeps us informed and encourages Continue reading →

He Wants More

The caller wanted help with his job search. He said he had been at it for more than a year and couldn’t land anything that he wanted to accept. I asked him why he was looking for a job and all he could muster was why he was leaving one. I asked him what he does best and all he could tell me was what he does most. I asked him how he adds value Continue reading →

I Didn’t Tell You Because I Thought You Knew

A recent letter writer suggested that employees, the newly hired and the barely there,  would benefit from understanding that employers have some very basic expectations of them. I heartily agree. In fact, here’s one boss’s secret copy of Here’s What I Didn’t Tell You Because I Thought You Knew. This place is called “Work” Get to work earlier than on time (and that’s based on my watch, not yours). Get to work earlier than on time every day Continue reading →

A 360 Degree View

The trend toward 360 degree performance appraisals can be more of a jolt  than the faint of heart can handle. Back in the old days, which can be as recent as a few minutes ago, high ranking employees could stay in their jobs,  earn substantial bucks, and be as good or as bad as they always had been. That was when an annual review came around as often as a bicentennial event.It’s not that employees Continue reading →

Between a Rock and….

Sometimes you feel like you’re stuck between a rock and another rock. You don’t have room to breathe or move. You desperately need air and space and don’t have the energy to push the rocks apart to get it. If you’re one of those people stuck in a merger that just can’t  seem to resolve itself, that may be how you’re feeling. If you’re in a job that is a bad match and you have Continue reading →

Too Little…Too Late

In the last few weeks I’ve had questions from four people, each from a different part of the country, all having an identical complaint: No one  is willing to say you’re in trouble until they’re ready to fire you. Four people are on the termination bubble: A senior vice president of a heavy machinery manufacturer; a manager of a retail outlet; a marketing director of a technology company; the head of housekeeping for a large hotel chain. Continue reading →

Too Much Aggressiveness Eventually Catches Up to You

Frank strode into the room like he owned it. He was tall, imposing, and downright charming. As soon as we sat down, it was another matter.  He cut to the chase: his direct reports were all wrong and his peers were all stupid. He had managed  to the bottom line, had pushed his people hard. He made money and that was what stakeholders expected of him. He didn’t have a problem, the employees did. And Continue reading →

Feedback: Too Much, Too Little or Too Late

Feedback. Too much or too little? It depends on who you’re asking: “Everybody tells me what to do; from my mother to my manager. You’d think I didn’t have a brain in my head. Why can’t people just keep their opinions to themselves and let me do my job?” “The only time I get any feedback is at my annual review, which I get every eighteen months to two years, if I’m lucky. Even then, Continue reading →

Conventional Wisdom Won’t Keep Your Employees from Leaving

“How can I stop my employees from leaving when I can’t afford to compete with the salaries and benefits the other folks are offering?” That’s the question many employers are asking. The problem is, they’re listening to Conventional Wisdom for the answers. CW suggests that people join companies and stay with them for salary and  benefits; that employees have no loyalty; if they can get better down the street, that’s where they’re going to go. Continue reading →

The Three C’s of Effective Communication

Political pundits advise the President to have news conferences early and often. Why? 1. The public wants to know what’s happening and what the President’s doing about it. They want to know his command of the issues; how aware, involved, and decisive he is regarding critical events and breaking news. 2. The more often the President meets the press and the public, the more on top of issues he has to be. Political advisors aside, Continue reading →

Passing the buck? Don’t Delegate Unpleasantries!

“Everyone wants to shoot the messenger!” says Mary, who’s the messenger for a boss who would rather “not get involved.” Here’s her story. It might have familiar ring: Mary is a seasoned executive assistant. She’s able to see what needs doing and gets it done. She thinks on her feet, consistently makes good choices, and good decisions. She’s hard working and dedicated to her job; organized, good with details and sees how they connect to Continue reading →

Advice for the Advice-Giver

If you’re a frequent reader, you know that I typically offer advice to job seekers, providing strategies for getting and keeping jobs. I often suggest they contact you, as possible references, networking contacts, and prospective employers, and in turn, ask that when you offer your wisdom and perspective you’re doing it to help them stay on the road and out of the ruts they inevitably encounter. It occurred to me that you might want a Continue reading →

Own Your Mistakes: Actions Bring Consequences

If you’re like many hard drivers, you can be more than a little defensive when criticized for something you’ve said or done. “What do you mean, I’m defensive? I’m just explaining what happened and why I did what I did!” “That’s what I mean, you’re acting defensive. Just admit that you were rude this morning. I was in the middle of an important presentation and you cut me off.” “Rude? How was I rude? You Continue reading →

Take Time, Take Charge: Do Circumstances Block Your Way?

The answer lies somewhere in the pause. How many situations have you made worse because you stepped in where you weren’t needed, said more when less was enough, and offered opinions when none were requested? How many times do you wish you’d said more, because less wasn’t enough? When you wish you’d offered a kind word or a statement of support? There is nothing heroic about speaking first if speaking last is the wiser choice. Continue reading →

Professional Maturity vs. Social Sophistication

He said that he was impatient, hard driving, focused, bottom-line. That he had trouble with people who wanted to think aloud, taking everyone’s time, noodling about what ought to have been immediately clear to everyone present. That his idea was good, it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it. So, he did what any clear thinking person would have done, he blew up. Well, not totally. But he did Continue reading →

Is the “Tough Gal” on the Derailment Track?

This gal is tough. She’s smart, quick, aggressive, and focused. You better know what you’re doing or she’ll nail you, whether you’re in a meeting with clients or sitting down with your boss and the CEO. She’s arrogant. She swaggers when she talks, and she’s dismissive of any opinion that doesn’t agree with hers. She keeps her job because she delivers. She keeps her promises and she makes money. Her peers, subordinates, even her bosses Continue reading →

Placing Our Challenges in a Time Capsule

Time Capsules. Why would anyone in 2110 be interested in what we did or thought in 2010 if no one seems to care about what we’re thinking or doing right now. “That? We did that.” “Been there, done that.” “Oh no, not that!” Are they likely to be intrigued by the artifacts of our technology? Influenced by the incivility of our interactions? Impressed by the chaotic management of our business processes? We haven’t done a Continue reading →

How to Make Team Building Effective

A manager says he’d like us to conduct team building programs for his employees. “You know, something where you take them outside and teach them how to work together”. “Why?” we ask. “What do you want to accomplish?”  Hesitation. “I want them to work together better than they do now. They barely talk to each other, and when they do, it sounds more like sniping than conversation. Worse than that, they line up at my Continue reading →