A common management practice is to make a meeting mandatory. I’ve seen regular team meetings that are called “mandatory”, “all hands” meetings that are called mandatory, special presentations with the group leadership that are mandatory. Lots of mandatory stuff going around! The problem is that if you feel compelled to call a meeting mandatory, it probably isn’t a very good meeting. In fact, if the tag “mandatory” has been added, then it is a sign that it’s going to be a low quality meeting.
When calling a meeting, the goal ought to be that you don’t feel compelled to call it mandatory. If you do feel compelled to get attendance by invoking the mandatory card, you should consider not having the meeting at all. Lack of employee interest a leading indicator that the meeting is going to be a bad meeting for all parties. Read more
In my previous post, I explored the management “design” of hiring someone from a successful organization to bring change to your org. It’s a great idea – hire from the best, and you get the best. And presumably, this person is a top performer. Win-win! However, this can be a perilous design, as the organization you’re hiring from perhaps created great performance through the org processes and culture. The success was not necessarily via the individual’s greatness, but from the collective efforts of the previous org. But that’s what you’re hiring for when you hire this kind of expertise – change and improvement. So you need to be committed to it.
Let’s imagine that you hire a change agent who is ready to bring in the successful ideas and practices of the prior org to the new org. What more needs to be done to help this change agent be successful? Let’s take a look. Read more
Management Design: The “designs” we have now: Recruit someone from a successful comparable organization
The Manager by Designsm blog advocates for a new field called Management Design. The idea is that the creation of great and effective people managers in organizations should not occur by accident, but by design. Currently, the creation of great managers falls under diverse, mostly organic methods, which create mixed results at best and disasters at worst. This is the latest of a series that explores the existing designs that create managers in organizations. Today’s design: Hire someone from a successful comparable organization, such as a competitor. Read more
Providing performance feedback is a neglected art in people management. In a prior article, I discussed how the more specific and more immediate the feedback, the more artful it is. Today, I discuss something that should be obvious but isn’t always observed when managers provide feedback: At least try to provide the correct course of action. This is the constructive part of constructive feedback.
Many managers seem comfortable saying that they don’t like the output, actions or performance of an employee. They may even believe that this qualifies as providing feedback. Here are some examples of some less than artistic “feedback” managers may give:
“You didn’t do it right. Fix it.”
“I don’t like it.”
“I don’t agree with this.”
“This isn’t what I had in mind.”
“This is all wrong.”
Another example of how to switch from the dreaded strengths and weaknesses discussion to a strategic, productive discussion
I have been writing a lot lately about how managers are requested to discuss and document employees’ strengths and weaknesses. My conclusion: This is absurd and damaging. However, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your team is a necessary and important part of people management indeed. So instead of putting your team member on the spot to list out strengths and weaknesses and then documenting these with a development plan, I propose instead engaging in a strategic discussion with the employee on what’s best for the organization and the employee. Today, I’ll demonstrate how to transition from the dreaded annual review discussion of strengths and weaknesses to a more appropriate strategic discussion that provides value for you, the organization and your employee. Let’s go! Read more
In my previous posts (here and here), I explored the often absurd and damaging results that often occur when pursuing discussions about an employee’s weaknesses. In many cases, managers are formally requested to discuss with their employee’s strengths and weaknesses during the annual review process, with confusing, if not angering results.
Absurd, damaging, confusing, angering – these are pretty harsh words. But surely, Walter, there have to be times when discussing weaknesses with an employee is appropriate? Of course there are! They should be strategic and collaborative discussions that are designed to drive the organization forward using the abilities of the employee.
Instead of having a discussion about the employee’s strengths and weaknesses, the discussion should be centered around where the employee’s skills – whether strong or weak – best fit in the organization’s needs, and how they can be leveraged to the maximum benefit for both the organization and the employee.
Here are some example situations. Read more
In my previous post, I described five reasons discussing weaknesses with an employee often seems so awkward, despite the best intentions. Yet, managers are frequently asked to do so on an employee’s annual review form, which, by design, creates some unnecessary and damaging conversations. Here are five more reasons discussing weaknesses with employees fails: Read more
Many managers are asked to discuss with their employees the various strengths and weaknesses of the employee. This often backfires, as the employee is appropriately suspicious of the manager’s intent when discussing “weaknesses”. The reason: This will appear on the employee’s annual performance review, and becomes part of the employee’s “brand” going forward – even if the weaknesses are irrelevant or nonsensical. As a result, any discussion about an employee’s weaknesses should be for the purpose of identifying and planning strategic needs of the organization. Instead what happens more often than not is that a discussion of an employee’s weaknesses is performed simply to document bad things about an employee. But why would you want to do that? You don’t. And here’s why not: Read more