Management Success Tip #124: Engage Your Employees in Their Review: Get Better Results!

Engage Your Employees in Their Review: Get Better Results!

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Most managers heartily dislike giving performance reviews. Having to sum up an employee’s performance for the whole year, rating according to scales that have little to do with the actual quality (or lack thereof) of the work done, that certainly do not measure the true value (or lack thereof) of the employee’s contribution, is a thankless task at best.

Employees don’t like it any better. As Samuel A. Culbert, Professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management, succinctly puts it:

“Performance reviews instill feelings of being dominated. They send employees the message that the boss’s opinion of their performance is the key determinant of pay, assignment, and career progress. And while that opinion pretends to be objective, it is no such thing. Think about it: If performance reviews are so objective, why is it that so many people get totally different ratings simply by switching bosses?”

Try a different approach. Give employees a sense of ownership of their review, a feeling of participation with you in their review. How? By starting the review with a set of questions that can turn the review into a conversation, rather than an indictment:

For example: “What have you noticed about your performance this year?” “What do you think went well?” “What would you have liked to have done differently?” “What pleased you about your work?” “Was there anything that disappointed you?” “What would you like to see happen differently this year?” “Anything you’d like to change?”

You may find that a review, conducted in this manner, actually does fulfill a worthwhile purpose.

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Management Success Tip #123: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!

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“Feel the fear and do it anyway” is a powerful phrase, generally attributed to author Susan Jeffers. Make no mistake about it: fear is powerful.

Fear is what prevents your employees from suggesting new projects or processes. Fear is what stands between your employees and their willingness to point out what isn’t working in the resources they’ve been allocated. Fear is what keeps your employees performing at levels below their best.

You, their manager, are not their therapist. It’s not up to you to go rooting around in your employees’ past or present lives for how various fears arose. Fortunately, you don’t need to.

What you do need, is to provide your employees with the antidote to fear: courage.

Courage is the ability to face the world, a situation, or a person, with confidence.  Courage is what enables your employees to speak up, speak out, and do what it takes to up the level of their contribution.

You instill courage in your employees by encouraging them. To encourage is literally, according to dictionary.com, “to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.”

Simply put, you applaud your employees’ efforts, you notice the work done right, you never dismiss an idea as ridiculous or irrelevant, you make it not only safe, but desirable for your employees to come to you with new ideas, helpful criticism, in a word – their truth.

Then indeed, despite the fact that there maybe always be that slight tremor of fear in the face of the new, your employees will be able to “Feel the fear and do it anyway” to the increasing success of your business.

Management Success Tip #122: Generate Interest and Hope to Facilitate Change

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People resist change, a truism which comes under the familiar heading “The devil you know is better than the one you don’t.” Even the creaky, cranky, not-working-so-very-well same-o same-o is more reassuring than some unknown future, which is why employees are often resistant.

This, however, is a problem when there is a change you need to implement, be it something as simple as a change in the vacation policy, or as complex as instituting a new software program across the board. There will be some eager beavers who will be thrilled at the change, but the majority of your employees will moan and complain, find all sorts of reasons why they can’t manage the change, and even inadvertently sabotage what you’re trying to do.

Kevin Eikenberry, in a recent Leadership Tip (Remarkable Learning, November 2013), suggests engaging your employees at an emotional level to facilitate the change, for example by generating:

“Interest. While the status quo is a powerful thing, when we discover something new we feel a sense of possibility. When you help people get interested in some component of, or outcome of the change, you create the powerful emotion of interest.

Hope. We have all been in those situations and probably felt it in the midst of an organizational change, yet hope is the belief that things can, and will, improve. Help people see past today and you will be stimulating this emotion.”

Too often, we get mired in the intricacies of making the change happen, and neglect showing employees the bigger picture: how the outcome of the change will benefit the company, and hopefully, your employees – specifically.

Creating interest and hope, deliberately, are great ways to engage your employees in the change, despite short-term inconvenience or disruption.

Management Success Tip #121: Bring Out the Best in Your Employees: Challenge Them How They Want to be Challenged!

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A happy employee is a fulfilled employee, one who feels satisfied that his or her talents are utilized to their fullest potential, as well as rewarded for such.

Now that’s good news for your business, because a happy employee is one who is motivated to high performance and productivity.

Yet a recent survey by Lee Hecht Harrison found that 62 percent of people say they often feel underutilized in their jobs. This is bad news for both employees and the companies they work for!

Help your employees find greater satisfaction, while improving your company stats, by tuning in to what will challenge your employees – according to them, which may not be the same things you think would bring out their best.

Laura Vanderkam suggests, for example that you:

Say yes a lot. If a team member proposes a project, chances are he or she is itching for a challenge. Figure out if there’s any way you can give the green light, even on a trial basis.

Push. Give people a little more authority with every project. Real responsibility — and the chance to fail or succeed — tends to bring out the hard worker in people.”

People work best and hardest at those projects they’ve had a hand in creating. A little “yes” and “push” goes a long way toward success for both them and your business.