Nearly every manager I’ve ever consulted to or coached has told me about having at least one employee who’s not so great. I’ve come to think of it as an almost inevitable part of the manager’s professional landscape: there's generally that one (or more) employee who doesn’t perform well, or is difficult to deal with, or has a hard time getting along with others, or means well but just doesn’t ever quite do what’s expected, or….
And the unfortunate thing is, most managers get held hostage to these folks, spending a disproportionate amount of time, thought and emotional energy on them. Often hovering on the verge of letting them go for years, but never quite being able (for a variety of reasons) to pull the trigger.
Here, then, are nine things that excellent managers do when confronted with a difficult employee – things that keep them from getting sucked into an endless vortex of ineffectiveness and frustration:
Often, when an employee is difficult we stop paying attention to what’s going on. We're irritated, it seems hopeless, and we’ve already decided what we think about the employee - so we just turn our attention to other things, out of a combination of avoidance and self-protection. But the best managers get very attentive when someone’s not doing well. They know their best shot at improving the situation lies in having the clearest possible understanding of the situation – including knowing the tough employee’s point of view.
A bonus: in some cases, simply listening can save the day. You may hear about a real problem that’s not the employee’s fault that you can solve; the tough employee may start acting very differently once he or she feels heard; you may discover legitimate issues he or she has that need to be addressed.
2. Give clear, behavioural feedback.
Most managers will spend months, even years, complaining about poor employees... and not ever giving them actual feedback about what they need to be doing differently. Yes, giving tough feedback is one of the most uncomfortable things a manager must do. But great managers learn to do to it reasonably well, and then they do it.
Whenever you’re having significant problems with an employee, WRITE DOWN THE KEY POINTS. I can’t stress this strongly enough. Dozens of times I’ve had managers tell me that they couldn’t let a difficult employee go because they had no record of his or her bad behaviour. And all too often this lack of documentation arises out of misplaced hopefulness; that they didn’t want to be ‘too negative' about the employee (As if it would all magically go away if they didn't write it down). Good managers know that documentation isn’t negative – it’s prudent. Remember, if you're able to solve the problem, you can just breathe a sigh of relief and put your documentation in the back of the drawer.
4. Be consistent.
If you say you’re not OK with a behaviour, don’t sometimes be OK with it. Employees look to see what you do more than what you say. If, for instance, you tell employees that it’s critical they submit a certain report by a certain time, and then you’re sometimes upset and sometimes not upset when they don't do it…the less-good employees generally won’t do it. Pick your shots - only set standards you’re willing to hold to – and then hold to them.
5. Set consequences if things don’t change.
If things still aren’t improving at this point, good managers get specific. They say some version of, “I still believe you can turn this around. Here’s what turning it around would look like. If I don’t see that behaviour by x date, here’s what will happen” (e.g. “you’ll be put on warning,” or “you won’t be eligible for a promotion” – some substantive negative consequence.) If problem employees don’t believe their behaviour will have any real negative impact on them – why would they change?
6. Work through the company’s processes.
Good managers hold out hope for improvement until the point when they decide to let the person go. AND they make sure they’ve dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s that will allow them to fire the person if it comes to that. If you’re at this point in your efforts to address the situation, you ought to be having very clear conversations with HR so that you know (and are doing) exactly what you need to do to clear the path to termination, if that turns out to be necessary.
7. Don’t poison the well.
All too often, poor managers substitute bad-mouthing the problem employee to all and sundry rather than taking the steps I’ve outlined above. No matter how difficult an employee may be, good managers don’t trash- talk to other employees. It creates an environment of distrust and back-stabbing, it pollutes others’ perception of the person, and it makes you look weak and unprofessional. Just don’t do it.
8. Manage your self-talk.
Throughout this process, make sure your self-talk is neither unhelpfully positive nor unhelpfully negative. Thinking to yourself, “This guy’s an idiot and will never change,” isn’t useful, nor is thinking, “Everything will turn out fine, he’s great, there’s no problem.” Good managers take a fair witness stance, making sure that what they say to themselves about the situation is as accurate as possible. For example, “His behaviour is creating real problems for the team. I’m doing what I can to support him to change. If he does, great, and if he doesn’t, I’ll do what I’ve said I’ll do.”
9. Be courageous.
Firing someone is the hardest thing a manager must do. If it gets to that point, do it right. Don’t make excuses, don’t put it off, don’t make someone else do it. The best managers do the tough things impeccably. And if – hallelujah - things turn around, be courageous enough to accept that; sometimes being proved wrong when we think someone’s not salvageable is almost as hard as being proved right.
If you learn to use these ‘good manager’ approaches when you have a difficult employee, then no matter how things turn out, you’ll end up knowing that you’ve done your best in a tough situation. And that may be the best stress reducer of all.
Original Article by Erika Andersen ,on Forbes
Many moons ago my Tuesdays were packed with meetings, it started at 8:30 and my last one ended up at 16:00. At the end of the day, I felt extremely overwhelmed.
Each meeting meant more admin, so I ended up on Wednesday’s trying to complete all my Tuesday’s meeting To Do lists. Two days lost, only 3 left.
I even sat in a meeting, trying to figure out how much each meeting cost the company. You know, 6 people in the meeting times the amount they get paid per hour. Yes, it was a guess, but still it ended up in a massive amount.
Time is valuable! As all ACHIEVERS (StrengthsFinder) will understand
There are no wins in an unproductive company.
So here are 10 quick tips on how to ensure your meeting are productive
1.What’s your goal?
The most effective meeting has a goal, you can save 15 min per meeting if each one receives an agenda. It keeps everyone on track. You can even share any documentation beforehand.
Very politely ask if you really need to be in the meeting.
Only invite essential personnel, and you’ll find things will stay on track
3.Time – 22 min
I loved this idea from Brain Scudamore (Forbes)
If you have a 30-min meeting, we attend to fill it up even if we are finished.
Next time, request a 22-min meeting, you’ll be able to get all done in 22 min as in the standard 30 min meeting.
Back-to-back meetings seems like a good idea. Just make sure you leave a 5-min break in-between if you need to use the restroom, coffee refill or walking to the next boardroom.
If you’re going to be late, let people know before hand, suggest a new time 11:10.
No one wants to wait for you, you are spending their time.
Jeff Bezos from Amazon, banned PowerPoint outright.
Visuals is a great tool! We remember in pictures. Keep your slides simple, they moment you start reading from a slide, you are losing your audience.
6.Change of Scenery
A boardroom is more sensible for a group meeting, but why don’t you change your boardroom for a change. New environment leads to creativity.
If you have a one-on-one meeting, try a walk-and-talk, it stimulates the mind and gives you more privacy if you work in an open office. Even Steve Jobs’ preferred this method of conversation.
Yes, I said it. “Icebreaker”
A 5-min team-building activity can break up a dull topic, or give a fun and relaxing start for a meeting. Even a small surprise during the meeting. Two weeks ago I visited a team, who had Magnum Ice Creams for our break. We were all stoked for our next session.
Even if you are extremely professional, remember we are all still human.
8.Unplug your Laptops
If you’ve got half an eye on your email, you can’t be fully present. Studies have found that students who use laptops have a harder time remembering what they learn or are less to understand complex ideas.
Unless you are taking minutes or absolutely need your computer, turn it off.
A study revealed that 65% of employees regularly do other work while a conference call is happening. A good meeting is about connecting minds an idea. Face-to-face is not always possible, but there’s really no substitute for face time.
10.Lead with Purpose
Great meetings happen with great leaders. This might be daunting, but definitely possible. Start one tip at a time.
Run an efficient, effective and entertaining meeting, your team will follow. Your meetings may start to be the best part of your workday.
Source: Article originally published on Forbes
Paula is a new manager. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that she was handed a leaky bag. The branch she will now manage has some long-standing norms she sees as unproductive and possibly unethical. Staff members routinely spend working hours on personal projects. Employees neglect customers to take extended lunch breaks. In addition, Paula’s predecessor routinely rated everyone a “5” on a five-point scale, but she was struggling to find a single “5” in the entire group.
As the individual and group performance picture became clear to Paula, she began to pine for the simplicity of her life as an individual contributor.
Most new managers quickly see things they’d like to change. New leaders are advised to take some time to listen and appreciate what is, rather than make their own mark at the risk of appearing self-centered or authoritarian. But what should you do when the need for change is profound and urgent? How can you minimize resistance while honoring your fundamental duty?
There’s a difference between addressing bad behavior and changing bad norms. The first requires confronting the inappropriate meanderings of one or two individuals. The second is about resetting the norms of an entire group. Here are some suggestions for new managers who see the need for quick and fundamental change.
Is it me or is it them? First, get feedback from trusted sources to ensure your concerns are a matter of principle not of taste. For example, Paula should consult HR to ensure her new standards don’t conflict with company policy. She might also tap into colleagues who fit three criteria: (1) having a view of her work group; (2) having a sense of broader company norms; and (3) telling her the truth — even if she doesn’t like it. If the problems are open-and-shut violations of policy, notify HR or other appropriate channels. But if the issues are more in the gray zone, move to the next step.
Establish air cover. The big problem with bad norms is you don’t know how high and wide the acceptance runs. If, for example, your peer managers in this new location give tacit approval to personal indulgences during work hours, it’s much harder to establish new norms. It’ll be even harder if those above you have enabled the behavior. If that is the case, then you’ll need to have a conversation with peer managers and your boss before addressing your work group.
This is a curated blog filled with great stuff on teams we have found in our wanderings
Understand your partner better //