Archives for posts with tag: performance

problems

Throughout my career, I’ve observed various strategies for “dealing” with problems, an essential function of leadership:

  1. avoid confronting it and hope the issue somehow goes away
  2. delegate to subordinates and assume they can fix the issue
  3. add the issue to an ominous to-do list and get to it based on priorities
  4. face the issue head-on, and promptly resolve it with appropriate intensity

Obviously, certain situations require greater responsiveness and urgency than others.  Regardless, if a situation falls into what you define as a “problem”, your role as a leader is to resolve it as quickly as possible.

Following the protocol outlined below will enable you to consistently address and resolve those “problems.”

  • Identify exactly where the core issue lies (people, process, etc.)
  • Quickly gather all pertinent facts
  • Determine possible solutions, using all available human resources
  • Select the optimal resolution, including who is best capable of handling it
  • Take immediate action
  • Evaluate and monitor to ensure proper resolution

Applying this formula to eliminate challenges will allow you to spend your energy proactively focused on the activties that can drive your business forward.

Delegation Flow Chart

During decades of “management”, I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard that phrase “it’s easier to do it myself.”

Although sometimes that may be true, in the long run, doing everything yourself is no formula for successful productivity.

The flow chart nicely depicts the proper delegation process for a strong leader:

  1. Be able to perform any task that you are responsible for supervising
  2. Be able to demonstrate how to do it properly
  3. Be able to teach someone how to do it as you work together
  4. Be able to monitor their execution with constructive feedback
  5. Be able to praise your protégé for their accomplishment

Great leaders influence their team toward achievement through effective delegation.

One such person was Dwight Eisenhower who stated that “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because they want to do it.” Genius!!!

Experienced leaders understand that there are enough positive people in the world that there is no need to waste valuable time and energy managing the toxic ones.

Not everyone is a “celebrity” performer.  However, if they bring the proper energy, commitment, do the best they are capable of doing (at acceptable production levels, of course), and are trainable, then they can be a great asset to your talent pool.

On the other hand, “superstars” will never be a good fit if they are manipulative, combative or otherwise a negative force.  Leadership is often hesitant to eliminate these types of employees and their viral attitudes for fear that the business operation might suffer.

News flash: if these workers exist, your organization is already suffering!  The negativity is infectious to peer employees, and can quickly spread to others, especially if these folks are in high-profile positions.

If “unhealthy” talent exists in your operation today, here are your options:

  • help them understand their adverse impact and develop a plan to quickly correct it;
  • help them find another career where they can make someone else miserable!
  • ignore the situation and watch your results and retention suffer.

demotivation

Citing a Blinding Flash of the Obvious (BFO), an essential component of  leadership is the strength to communicate…effectively, efficiently, and frequently!

Effectively means all proper messages are being delivered at the appropriate times and the recipients understand what it is you are trying to say.

Efficiently entails using the appropriate form of communication, either synchronous (real-time and collaborative, i.e. face-to-face, phone conversations, Skype, Go-To-Meeting) or asynchronous (get to it when you can, i.e. email, letters, social media when you manage it).  Determine what is the ideal tool (discussion, email, meeting, etc.) and use that method.  I’m amazed how often someone two doors or cubicles away will spend time creating an email to share a message with that other person!

“Frequently” represents what I find to be the biggest opportunity area for managers and leaders.  Those in your command long for communication so they can feel like they’re part of the action and are aware as to what’s going on.  The need for constant coaching, feedback, status reports and recognition is essential to the performance, and retention, of your team.

If you asked your subordinates as well as bosses how you’re doing in these areas, what would that challenge reveal???

commun

OrganizingIn the 1800’s, theorist Henri Fayol, a director of a French mining company, was credited with breaking management down into four primary functions:
Planning, Organizing, Directing and Controlling.

Planning: encompasses the concept of Vision…looking at current state, seeing the future, and then doing the applicable forecasting, goal setting and determination of actions to be taken.

Organizing: deals with designing the appropriate structure, and consequent use of resources to accomplish the aforementioned actions and goals.

Directing: ensures a focus on the correct activities, while leading and motivating the team towards the desired results.

Controlling: observes that the necessary actions are being carried out according to the predetermined plan.

In order to not overcomplicate the management process, this simple checklist serves as a useful tool for any leader to “look in the mirror” and conduct a self-inspection as to whether they are executing on all four of the fundamental functions.

Let’s start with an assumption that most business “leaders”, in route to achieving their current status or position, have demonstrated a proven ability to set clear expectations, give direction, monitor progress, coach, and lead their respective teams towards a desired end result.

Well, you know what they say about assumptions!

An astonishing observation is how frequently people “hit the ground running”, hustling through the day, week, month…consistently in reactive mode, and then try to figure out where their time went?

Their personal and professional life activities are controlling them, versus it being the other way around.  Especially in this technology intensified age, it is imperative that YOU choose to control the what, when, where, and why of how you spend YOUR time.

“Champions of accomplishment” MAKE the time every day, week, month and quarter for Proper Planning in order to Produce Performance results, based on a Proactive strategy…that’s being a disciplined Professional.

planning

In an earlier “Boltz”, I referenced a monthly performance review process for Managers called the “PDR” (Performance Development Review).

A key component in this process is to seek a genuine understanding of who the players on your team really are.

This is facilitated by having a command of these three knowledge points:
1. What does your employee want to achieve?
2. What do they do well?
3. What can YOU, as their leader, do to help them reach their goals?

Take a moment to reflect on your direct reports and ask yourself if you can answer these three questions about every one of them? If not, you now have an opportunity to vastly improve your relationships, and ultimately, your mutual performance!

The most successful leaders make the time to truly know their people and serve as resource for goals to be achieved.

EEs

Despite the plethora of business instruction that was cast at me during five plus years of college, one professor’s simple statement made the most profound impact:

“Once you say something, you can never take it back!”

In both personal and professional environments, these conversational traits commonly appear:

  1. initiating a response before the other person finishes their statement
  2. focusing on “me, myself and I” instead of what others are trying to communicate
  3. disregarding the importance of eye contact and truly “seeing” the speaker
  4. forgetting the “two ears and one mouth” principle…i.e. LISTEN

When providing responses or clear direction, the best leaders tend to: think it through before replying, provide fact-based decisions, and give commands in a constructive, productive manner, utilizing the proper amount of authority as well as empathy.