Tag Steve Armstrong

Make Virtual Coaching Better

Of all the jobs a manager/leader has, one that we often feel we could do better, is coaching.

Experience shows that it is the part of the role we often feel gets ignored or isn’t done as well as we’d like. Your employees, especially those who work remotely, most likely agree with you.

So, what can we do about it?

Here are some things you can do to make your coaching more effective when you can’t be face-to-face.

Decide to have a real coaching conversation.

A coaching call is not a “check-in.” Good coaching requires focus on both ends of the line, planning, and attention to detail. Look at it this way: if you were going to coach someone in the office, you’d take them somewhere private. You’d sit down, maybe have a moment of casual conversation and demonstrate relaxed, positive body language.

When coaching virtually, the same things apply.  Be somewhere you both can relax and not be distracted. Take enough time that you’re able to engage in some social conversation before you dive in. Any conversation that starts with, “Let’s not waste time, let’s get down to business,” is probably going to restrict real conversation and the chance to explore what’s going on with the other person.

Read How Silence Is Critical To Good Conversations

Make coaching conversations as rich as possible.

Coaching can be an emotional experience. When we are face to face, we can hear the tone of the person’s response as well as their facial expressions and body language. The best results happen when you’re having rich, real-time conversations. For that reason, you want to have as “rich” a conversation as possible.

You want to make sure you are communicating effectively, and are understood, and any unspoken objections or questions get surfaced. This is almost impossible to do over the telephone alone, so use your webcams. Get both parties used to the idea of being on camera when the stakes are low and the conversations casual, so you’ll both be less self-conscious when your discussions get deeper and more important.

Read How Coaching Is More About the Person Than The Problem

Have a list—but not a checkbox.

A rich, constructive coaching conversation has a lot going on. You need to know what you’re going to discuss, have supporting evidence or questions you need to ask, and there’s a process to a well-run coaching call. Most of us can’t keep everything clear in our head and wind up hanging up and then thinking of all the things we forgot about or could have said or done differently.

So having a list of topics and reminders is a good thing. On the other hand, if we treat it like a checklist, with the goal just to tick off boxes, we often focus on that, rather than listening to the other person for clues that we should probe deeper, or some things aren’t being said. It’s a fine line, but an important one.

Open the call to possibilities.

Coaching means you must actively listen to the other person. One of the challenges for a lot of us is that people will answer the questions they’re asked. Many of us start with well-meaning requests for information that prematurely focus the discussion and don’t always open the door to more productive conversations. For example, there is a difference between “What’s going on with the Jackson account?” and “What are you spending most of your time on?” 

Get Our 27 Open-ended Questions

Here are some open-ended questions to kickstart coaching conversations:

What’s up?

How’s it going?

What’s working?

Where are you stuck?

How can I help?

Notice that you’re leaving the responses up to the other person.

You may want to get to the problem at hand, but if there are other priorities, or challenges or the person has something they need to discuss first, you’ll have a better talk when you get to it.

 

For more information on coaching at a distance, consider our Coaching Services.

Better Coaching is a critical skill development that we offer to help you become a Better Leader!

 

 

5 Steps To Calming The Waters When A New Boss Enters The Pool

… of all the things that can cause ripples in our ‘pond,’ changing leaders should be considered the equivalent of doing a cannonball dive into the water …

A quick note from Steve:

This article focuses on the new manager or leader, but the discussion can apply to anyone taking on the role of ‘New Boss.’

Enjoy.

 

As leaders, we often consider organizational changes that impact our culture or progress toward successfully achieving our goals.

The change could be a location change, IT changes, new strategic plans, economic downturns or a myriad of organizational changes that can cause ripples in our corporate waters.

In my experience, one of the least managed organizational changes is a leadership change.

And of all the things that can cause ripples in our ‘pond,’ changing leaders or managers should be considered the equivalent of doing a cannonball dive into the water.

An additional complication is that boards of directors increasingly seek leaders from outside their organization. 

In 2017, 44% of US companies & organizations searching for new leadership hire from outside the organization.

Often, outsiders are chosen to deliver strategic course corrections, restructures, mergers, culture change, or digital transformation, and under short timelines, incoming leaders or managers need to have a deep understanding of their leadership competencies and effectiveness. 

 

The new leaders or managers as an organizational change challenge.

Most incoming leaders or managers, internal or external, get off to a rocky start. 

Society for Human Resource Management research shows that 58% of senior leadership hires struggle in their new positions after 18 months. 

18 months!

Therefore, carefully planning a new chief executive’s integration is crucial. 

 

What is the key to success? 

Your success must be gained by building momentum across the whole organization.

Not by acting frenetically but by thoughtfully choosing the speed to help the organization mobilize, execute, and transform effectively. 

The incoming leader or manager must need to:

  • gain knowledge of board expectations,
  • understand the bench strength of the leadership team, and,
  • appreciate the organization’s culture.

This will help leaders or managers understand when to gather insights when to make fact-based decisions, and when to execute quickly.

 

Five steps to speed up new leaders or managers’ integration

In my experience, new leaders or managers who take the following five steps have the best chance at successful acceleration.

 

  1. What are your unique strengths?

The characteristics that have served you well so far may not lead to success in a new role as a leader or manager. 

Success in your new role depends on navigating the organization’s current cultural context and quickly understanding the roadblocks to performance. 

Self-awareness is crucial. The ability to reflect upon and assess one’s strengths, weaknesses, and leadership style will enable proper planning on how to change the culture and increase performance.

Consider the following questions to help align your and the organization’s unique strengths: 

  • Why was I hired for this role; what is my differentiation?
  • What is my vision for this organization? 
  • What distinctive strengths can I leverage in this context? 
  • What might derail me within this organization?
  • How do I become more self-aware and plan for my blind spots? 
  • What do I hope my legacy will be?

 Read the seven career-saving questions you should ask before starting a new project.

  1. Build an adequate influence base.

External leaders or managers are typically brought in to drive transformational change.

Everyone expects change, so every move of the new leader or manager is evaluated and scrutinized for meaning. 

Understanding the formal and informal sources of influence within an organization takes time.

You need to talk to your people to get a clear view of what they love and hate, what they see as most broken, and what excites them. 

As a new leader or manager, you will be under a lot of pressure—from the board, your leadership team, and the culture itself—to show up and make change happen quickly. 

Don’t fall into the trap of making big decisions too quickly—you don’t know enough to know whether they are the right decisions. 

Getting to know the key stakeholders will help new leaders or managers develop a plan to build relationships that can quickly transform influencers into advocates.

Addressing the following questions is a significant next step: 

  • How do I identify the key influencers? 
  • Where are the real influencers within the organization below my leadership team?
  • What questions should I ask key constituents to build my knowledge base?
  • How do I effectively structure a listening tour?
  • How will I structure my story and share my vision for the organization?

Want To Explore This Topic Further?

Join the Better Leader Inner Circle On Thursday, May 23 at 11:00MT/1:00ET

Click Here To Register And Get A Recording If You Can’t Attend 

  1. Define success and priorities.

Incoming leaders or managers typically align highly with the board and other senior executives regarding what constitutes success and what the priorities are. 

The new leaders or managers need a detailed definition of success and what needs to be addressed first. 

It is essential to take the time to define the high-impact opportunities that will impact customers, products, systems, and people. 

Careful management of the first 100 days is critical to the success of the new leaders or managers. 

This is the time when the stakes are high for both the organization and the reputation of the incoming leaders or managers. 

Ideally, the 100-day playbook will accelerate the integration of new executives into their new environment while prioritizing quick wins and longer-term strategic capabilities.

Addressing the following questions will get leaders or managers started on this step: 

  • What are the performance indicators for this role?
  • How will my performance be evaluated in six months and a year? 
  • How (and from whom) will I receive feedback?
  • How will I get oriented to our markets, customers, and organization?
  • How will I get clarity on and manage board expectations? 

Read more about managing competing priorities.

  1. Mobilize the top team quickly.

Most often, a new leader or manager makes changes to the senior team. 

In 2017, 91% of S&P 500 companies indicated that changes in leaders or managers would accompany changes at the director or senior executive levels.

Given the change agenda, new external leaders or managers need to develop an understanding of the senior team’s performance and quickly make decisions on how to bolster the team’s effectiveness.

Addressing the following questions will help new leaders or managers shape and mobilize their top teams: 

  • How will I assess my team’s baseline level of performance?
  • What are the business goals or outcomes for which my team members are mutually accountable?
  • How will I determine membership on my top team?
  • What operating norms do I think are needed on this team?
  • Who will support me in developing my team to accelerate performance?

 

  1. Shape the culture

Organizational culture is a crucial driver of change and a barrier to execution. 

In my experience, everyday cultural strengths and liabilities have become so ingrained and automatic that they are not questioned. 

If the cultural fit between the new leaders or managers and the organization is off, execution can feel like pushing a rope.

This challenge has been defined as the Culture Eating Strategy’s lunch because dysfunctional cultural habits can chew up any improvement the new leaders or managers try to make. 

A major study shows that 70% of all change efforts fail to achieve their objectives. 

The new leaders or managers must quickly become familiar with the cultural values, unwritten rules, and practices of their new organization. 

Addressing the following questions will give new leaders or managers a cultural grounding:

  • What are the strengths and liabilities of the current culture?
  • How do I shape the culture to align with our new strategic direction?
  • How do I improve high-performing behaviours such as accountability and collaboration?
  • How can I better understand the shadow of my leadership team?
  • What is the execution effectiveness of my organization?

 Read more about culture.

Conclusion

Newly appointed leaders risk failure unless they address the obstacles to their organizational and personal success. 

If poorly made, a new leader or manager’s initial set of decisions and actions will create unintended consequences that will be difficult to reverse. 

Therefore, initial actions and decisions must be carefully planned.

An acceleration requires new leaders or managers to:

  • assess and develop themselves to be most effective in the new context; 
  • understand their organization’s influencers and culture, 
  • how to leverage both for success; 
  • develop a detailed and shared understanding of success and priorities, and 
  • mobilize their top team. 

Those who take the time to do so put themselves on the best path toward lasting success.

Want To Explore This Topic Further?

Join the Better Leader Inner Circle On Thursday, May 23 at 11:00MT/1:00ET

Click Here To Register And Get A Recording If You Can’t Attend 

Why 75 Is The Single Most Important Number You Will Ever Need To Lead

What?

75%?

I have been in the leadership business for over 40 years and have worked with thousands of leaders, and I have found people consistently struggle with the same three things:

Time;

Making Decisions; and,

Energy.

 Well, Ladies and gentlemen -Drum roll-  here for your leadership pleasure is the 75% solution:

Time:

A great friend of mine, Hugh Culver, used to speak a lot about time management. The first time I met Hugh, he gave me productivity advice that I started using immediately following the workshop and still use to this day.

 Hugh made the point that, as leaders, we should not schedule more than 75% of the available time in our calendars.

 If you jam your calendar full of back-to-back appointments, you will never have time to deal with all of the things that you need to do, from the inevitable emergency to walking around talking and checking in with team members to going to the bathroom.

 read more about time & millennials

Decisions:

One of my all-time favourite leaders is General Norman Schwarzkopf. He is best known as the Commander of all the Coalition Forces during the 1st Gulf War, and he said that the quality of your decisions would not increase beyond knowing 75% of the available information.

 His point is that at a certain point, you have all the information you need to make a good decision. Trying to gather more information will seldom improve that decision. In common parlance, avoid analysis paralysis.

Learn about making good decisions.

 Energy

Have you ever pushed yourself to your maximum discomfort and physical ability threshold?

Once you hit that threshold when your mind believes you are done, your body only uses 75% of your energy.

Special Forces soldiers know that when you think you are done, your body can still do 25%—40% more. Humans are evolutionarily designed to have energy in reserve, so when you are trying to run down a mammoth or escape a sabre-tooth tiger, you feel you have nothing left to give. You still have a reserve, hopefully enough to either escape or bring dinner home.

Learn More about Sabre-tooth Tigers

3 Steps To Building Trust So It’s Ready When Your Team Needs It

We often think of trust as a fixed, static idea, such as “We trust the Union” or “The Operations Team doesn’t trust us.”

However, trust is more complex than that, and oversimplifying our understanding of it prevents us from applying the proper techniques to improve it. Instead, leaders should consider the three fundamental raw materials on which trust is built: competence, benevolence, and reliability.

How these materials mix will depend on context. However, effective leaders need to assess which of these trust components is lacking within their teams and follow steps tailored to that specific component of trust.

It’s time to abandon generalized, generic models for building trust. Below, we share the three steps you can follow to build trust. First, identify which of the raw materials of trust your teams lack and then use the proper methods to increase them.

 

Step 1: Make Sure Everyone Knows What They’re Doing (Competence)

 

What It Is: Competence is the ability to do something efficiently and successfully. It includes hard skills, such as technical knowledge (the ability to create and deliver a product or service), and soft skills, such as social knowledge (understanding people and team environments). In short, competent people are “good at their job.”

How You Know It’s Missing: In many ways, competence is often the easiest to assess, as people either possess the necessary skills to execute their jobs or don’t. However, poor performance is not always a direct result of incompetence, as other factors may be at play. Someone may know how to get the job done but lack the capacity due to many factors, such as having too many tasks, personal stress, or not being given the proper tools to succeed. Determining which factor may be at play as a leader prevents acting on faulty assumptions.

What To Do About It

Provide targeted feedback. To give effective feedback, you must first clarify what “good” looks like. This might be a job description or a conversation at the beginning of a project to clarify expectations for each team member. Establishing that benchmark first allows you to provide targeted feedback by comparing actual performance to already agreed-upon expectations. Once you understand the gap between performance and expectations, you can work with your team members to develop an improvement plan.

Ask questions and coach. The best way to change someone’s behaviours is not to tell them the answers but to ask questions that help them find the answers themselves. Try asking a struggling team member: “I saw x and y this week, and I am concerned; can you tell me what’s going on?” and “What do you think should happen next, and how can I support you?” Asking – rather than simply directing – empowers your people to act and builds a relationship of mutual respect.

The Six Questions You Must Ask To Be A Better Coach

Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses and openly share that information with others. Demonstrating self-awareness regarding your skills will give others confidence that you understand your limitations and the value you can add to the team. Then, proactively take steps to mitigate those limitations, either through personal development (training, mentoring, practice) or procuring the support of others who can ensure no balls are dropped.

 

Step 2: Build your Team into a Community (Benevolence)

 

What It Is: Benevolence is the quality of being well-meaning and the degree to which you have others’ interests at heart. Benevolent people care about others. The more a teammate can demonstrate the motivation to serve others or the team, the greater trust is built.

How You Know It’s Missing: A lack of benevolence can show up as siloes, where people consistently choose themselves and their team over others. Other subtle ways include team meetings where people may respond to others with what seems like agreement before following up with “but,” interrupting speakers or ignoring requests for help.

Read more about how one word can impact your culture 

What To Do About It: Avoid judgment when you notice a lack of benevolence. Every person believes they’re doing the right thing under the circumstances. So, leaders should understand why they took a particular action that appeared self-serving. Techniques to improve benevolence include:

Active listening helps demonstrate that you’re paying attention, wish to understand someone else, and care about their answers and, by extension, them as a person. Active listening can be broken into three subskills, all of which you can start implementing today to understand your people better:

    • Paraphrasing- Restate what the person said in your own words.
      “Let me say that back to you to make sure I understand…”
    • Labelling- Identify the emotion being shown by your team member
      “Seems like that is frustrating.” or “Sounds like that made you angry.”
    • Mirroring- Ask someone to explain what they mean by certain words or phrases: “I just don’t understand what they think they’re doing. It’s so confusing.” Or, “What do you mean by confusing?”

Get your copy of the 27 open-ended questions ‘cheat sheet’

Ask for help when you need it. As a leader, your willingness to share and request assistance sets an example for others to follow and signals to everyone that this is where we help each other. First, start with small tasks that may not take much time but might make a considerable difference in freeing up your capacity. Be sure to recognize and thank those who step up to help.

Step 3: Build Consistency Into People and Processes (Reliability)

What It Is: Reliability is the ability to be dependable and behave consistently. Reliable people do what they say they will.

How You Know It’s Missing: The easiest way to know reliability is lacking is when timelines are not respected. However, a lack of reliability can also manifest in other ways, including treating others inconsistently (showing favouritism or being particularly hard on someone) or being hypocritical in asking people to do something they wouldn’t do themselves.

What To Do About It: Reliability begins with accountability and transparency.

    • If someone is not delivering what they’re supposed to, when they’re supposed to, explicitly have that conversation about expectations and consequences. By mutually agreeing on objectives, responsibilities, and expectations and putting them down in writing, you now have a vehicle to hold people accountable for something they decide to own. If they need more support, create frequent check-ins, but lessen the oversight as they develop a proven track record of delivering.
    • Create transparency in what decisions are being made and why. Any time a request is made, it includes an explanation of the ultimate objective to help people understand why they are being asked to do something. That deeper understanding lets individuals know where/how to deviate from the project should circumstances change. People like having reasons, so give them the ‘because’ behind a request so they can figure out what the team needs without being asked.

Learn more about better results through communications

Unfortunately, these actions will only change your teams’ trust after some time.

Trust is hard to build and happens slowly, so it is essential to start now.

And even if the returns of these actions are down the line, there are slow, smooth actions that you can implement today that build the capacity for fast action when needed most.

 

The 7 Hidden Reasons Your Employees Leave You

In The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, employee-retention expert Leigh Branham discusses how companies can tackle employee disengagement and retain their best and brightest people.

Nearly 90% of bosses think their employees quit to make more money.

That means nearly 90% of bosses are wrong.

Studies show these are the seven “real” reasons that retention isn’t better:

Ask HR people about their top issue, which will likely be retention. That’s no surprise. The cost in dollars and disruption of replacing a trained employee is enormous.

What is surprising is how much employers misunderstand why their people leave; author Leigh Branham, SPHR, explains that this misunderstanding is evident in one astonishing statistical comparison:

–Employers who think their people leave for more money: 89%

–Employees who do leave for more money: 12%

The latter result, says Branham, founder of retention consultant KeepingthePeople, Inc., comes from a study of 19,700 post-exit interviews done by the Saratoga Institute, an independent research group. The data identified seven “hidden reasons” employees resign. Here are those reasons, along with Branham’s antidote for each:

1) Job not as expected. This is a prime reason for early departures. Branham’s answer: “Give a realistic job preview to every candidate.”

2) The job doesn’t fit my talents and interests. Branham attributes this to hiring too quickly and advises employers to “hire for fit. Match their talents to your needs.”

3) Little or no feedback/coaching. Today’s employees, especially younger workers, want “feedback whenever I want it, at the touch of a button.” Give it honestly and often, says Branham, and you’ll get job commitment, not just compliance.

Read to get six great coaching questions.

4) No hope for career growth. The antidote: Provide self-management tools and training.

5) Feel devalued and unrecognized. Money issues appear here, says Branham, but the category also includes even more employees who complained that no one ever said ‘thanks’ on the job or listened to what they had to say. Address the compensation issue with a fair and understandable system, says Branham. Then listen – and respond – to employee input. “Also, ask yourself ‘how many of my employees get too much recognition?'” 

Read about Attila The Hun & Recognition

6) Feel overworked and stressed out. Branham says this comes from insufficient respect in the organization for employees’ life/work balance. Recommended: Institute a “culture of giving” that meets employees’ total needs.

7) Lack of trust or confidence in leaders. Leaders have to understand that they’re there to serve employees’ needs, says Branham, not the other way around. Develop leaders who care about and nurture their workers; trust and confidence will also develop.

Read about trust and high performance.

How significant is the payoff for companies that follow these guidelines?

Branham looks to Fortune’s “Great Places to Work” list, where, he says, companies apply these principles: “While the average S&P 500 company grew 25 percent,” he reports, “these companies grew an average of 133 percent. It pays to treat people right.”

Why not join us on March 28th for a fantastic Better Leader session?

We will be joined by a Guest Speaker who is a great friend of StevenArmstrong.ca and a professional leadership recruiter to answer all your questions.

Register Here

5 Actions To Drive Alignment and Increase in Profit – And Who Doesn’t Want More Profit

Poor managerial behaviours negatively impact engagement, alignment, productivity, and retention.

Research has identified gaps between what people expect and their experience when working with their immediate manager.

Poor managers cost your company money when:

  1. They don’t set clear goals with their people.
  2. They don’t align goals to the team, departmental, and organizational objectives.
  3. They don’t check in on progress.
  4. They don’t provide feedback.
  5. They don’t adjust their style based on the needs of the employee.
  6. They don’t listen.
  7. They don’t change (without training and support).

How?

  1. They don’t set clear goals with their people.

 

About 70 percent of people want to have goal-setting conversations often or all the time, but only 36 percent do. When managers aren’t skilled in setting specific, trackable, relevant, attainable, and motivating goals, the result is multiple priorities, unclear action steps, and a poor line of sight on how work contributes to larger objectives.

“All good performance begins with a laser-like focus on goals,” so Identify 3 to 5 critical goals for each employee and make sure they are written down. Goals that are written down are 18 percent more likely to be achieved. Writing down the goal also makes it easier to review.

  1. They don’t align goals to the team, departmental, and organizational objectives.

Only 14 percent of organizations report that their employees understand their company’s strategy and direction.

When people don’t know where their company is going, they can work on projects that are out of step with organizational objectives.

Make sure all team members are working on the highest-priority tasks. Ask managers to check in and review priorities with their people. Ensure the work is meaningful, on target, and contributes to overall organizational goals.

  1. They don’t check in on progress.

More than 73 percent of people want to have goal-review conversations often or all the time, but only 47 percent do. And 26 percent say they rarely or never discuss current goals and tasks.

What gets measured gets managed.

Research conducted at Dominican University in California found that people who write down their goals, share them with someone else, and have regular weekly check-ins are 30 percent more likely to achieve those goals than people who do not.

  1. They don’t provide feedback.

Research shows that 67 percent of people want to have performance-feedback conversations often or all the time, but only 29 percent do. And 36 percent say they rarely or never receive performance feedback.

Without feedback, people don’t have a way to make course corrections or to know how they are doing until it’s late in the process. No one feels good when work must be redone because of a lack of feedback.

A few key attributes of good feedback are:

– Focus on observable behaviours, not personality traits. Feedback should be clear and directive and should focus on concrete actions.

– Keep a positive end goal in mind. Paint a positive picture of the desired outcome that gives people a vision to work toward.

– Offer to be an accountability partner. Change is hard. Offer to provide appropriate direction and support as needed.

  1. They don’t adjust their style based on the needs of the employee.

Nearly 54 percent of managers use the same leadership style for all people in all situations, regardless of whether a direct report is new to a task or already an expert. Half the time, this results in a manager either over-supervising or under-supervising.

The best managers tailor their management style to the needs of their employees. For example, if an employee is new to a task, a successful manager will use a highly directive style with clearly set goals and deadlines. If an employee struggles with a task, the manager will use equal measures of direction and support. If the employee is an expert at a task, a manager will use a delegating style on the current assignment and focus instead on coming up with new challenges and future growth projects.

  1. They don’t listen.

When I ask clients and audience members, “What is the biggest mistake leaders make when working with others?” Forty-one percent of the respondents identified inappropriate communication or poor listening.

Here’s a three-step model to help managers slow down and focus on what people share.

– Explore—ask open-ended questions such as, “Can you tell me more about that?” or “How do you think that will go?” or “What does that mean?”

– Acknowledge—respond with comments such as, “You must be feeling …” or “So, if I hear you correctly, what you’re saying is ….”

– Respond—now that you understand the direct report’s point of view, you can carefully move forward with a possible response.

  1. They don’t change (without training and support).

Most new managers—60 percent—underperform or fail in their first assignments. Worse yet, as Harvard researcher Linda Hill has found, managerial habits developed by new managers often continue to hobble them for the rest of their careers.

With two million people across North America stepping into their first managerial position each year, getting people the training they need is critical.

Unfortunately, research shows that most managers don’t receive formal training until ten years into their careers!

I suggest you rethink the traditional approach to who gets trained in the organization.

My suggestions?

  1. Don’t hold your best people back—in fact, don’t hold anyone back. Why not train everybody who desires it?
  2. Show everyone you value them and are willing to invest in their development.
  3. Adopt inclusive policies that identify and provide people with the training they need to build leadership bench strength, bring out the best in people, and create a strong work culture.

Better leadership practices have been positively associated with increased engagement, alignment, productivity, and performance.

Research has identified that better leadership practices—if fully employed—could be worth as much as a 7 percent increase in profits!

For leadership development professionals, these seven areas provide an opportunity to take a more targeted approach to improve manager performance in each region.

Here are five ways to get started.

  1. Take a look at the overall design of your performance management process.

Conduct a quick internal assessment. Are managers following best practices in setting specific, motivating, attainable, relevant, and trackable goals? What percentage of employees have current goals written down?

Individuals and organizations achieve more when goals are identified, written down, and reviewed consistently.

Read more about performance management

  1. Double-check on goal alignment at the team and department level.

Make sure that all team members are working on the highest-priority tasks. Ask managers to check in and review priorities with their people.

Ensure the work is meaningful, on target, and contributes to overall organizational goals. Efficiency improves when everyone is clear on goals and moving in the same direction.

Read more about goal alignment.

  1. Please look at how much time your managers spend with their people.

Everyone benefits from regular coaching and performance review.

Monitoring progress and providing feedback are two key ways for a manager to stay involved and partner with an employee to achieve goals. I suggest leaders meet with their direct reports at least twice a month to discuss progress toward goals and to address employee needs for direction and support.

Read more about time management.

  1. Identify what individuals need to succeed in their high-priority tasks.

Managers need to adjust their leadership style to meet each person’s needs, depending on their experience and confidence with the tasks they are assigned.

With proper levels of direction and support, people can move through stages of development and reach peak performance faster.

Surprisingly, without training, only 1 percent of managers are skilled at identifying and delivering all four styles when needed, whether directing, coaching, supporting, or delegating.

  1. Review your performance review process.

In many organizations, goals are set at the beginning of the year and not seen again until the review process at the end of the year.

I recommend that managers conduct a series of mini-reviews throughout the year—every 90 days is the recommended standard. This allows leaders to make mid-course corrections. It also eliminates surprises for direct reports and keeps the partnership between the manager and direct report solid and vibrant.

 Read more about goals.

Final Thoughts

A renewed focus on leadership development can significantly affect an organization’s performance. Research shows that when managers meet the needs of their people, organizations benefit through higher levels of discretionary effort, work performance, and intention to remain and collaborate more effectively.

How are the managers in your organization impacting your bottom line?

Give your leadership development process a review.

Great managers aren’t born—they’re trained.

Get started today by emailing me at  Steve@StevenArmstrong.ca.

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