Be a first-class noticer

Don’t overlook the obvious. Have you ever faced a situation at work and wondered, “How could this have happened?” or “Why didn’t I see that coming?” You lose a bid for a project you assumed was a lock. You learn employee engagement scores are much lower than expected. You discover that your top salesperson is leaving for a competitor. Even the best of us fail to recognize the signs that are hiding in plain sight. It could be the result of willful blindness. Or a lack of self-awareness. But when we aren’t… Read More

Managing your former coworkers

With clear and consistent leadership, it doesn’t have to be awkward. So you just got promoted. Congrats! Moving into a leadership role can be an exciting and fulfilling career step. But it can also come with its share of complications. Whether it’s keeping projects on track or people in line, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the demands of a new position, especially if you’re managing your old colleagues. Awkward! One of hazards of leadership is neglecting the values and virtues that put you on that path. As you level up and demonstrate your… Read More

Dealing with Negative Feedback

Negative feedback is inevitable, but how we deal with it is up to us. Getting negative feedback, especially from those we respect and trust, can quickly become an emotional train wreck that leaves us feeling hurt, helpless, and even a little bit hopeless. And when critical feedback is repeated over time, researchers have found that it can diminish our productivity, motivation and even our prospects for employment. The good news? We can flip the script on negative feedback by changing the story. While we can’t control what happens to us, we can… Read More

How To Deliver Difficult Feedback When You’re Working Apart

It starts with better planning, problem solving and partnership. While it’s certainly preferable to share corrective feedback face to face, current conditions may not allow it. The sustained shift to remote work has crimped the communications of many leaders, especially when they’re called upon to share difficult news from a distance. The result: Low-grade, infrequent feedback that often resembles a “praise sandwich” and glosses over the delicate but necessary information employees sometimes need to hear.  Withholding feedback comes at a cost. A study by CEB showed that companies with a culture of open communication had… Read More

Turn Feedback Into A Partnership With These Conversation Prompts

Originally appeared at Inc. When was the last time your feedback felt like a partnership? Getting others to accept feedback can prove challenging, especially when it’s critical. Negative feedback triggers a primal threat response, leading others to become defensive, angry and self-conscious. It can weaken their overall effectiveness at work. And it might even cause them to prioritize relationships with those who affirm, rather than challenge, their positive self-view.  Whether it’s provoked by a heightened state of stress or the pale of rater bias, our resistance to feedback runs deep. That aversion cuts both ways. According to a… Read More

Beating Unconscious Bias At Your Next Performance Review

Unconscious bias can get in the way of effective feedback and performance reviews. Here’s how to fix that before it’s too late. Measuring employee performance can be a daunting task, especially for managers who feel they lack the skill and time to evaluate the capabilities of others. The challenge of assessing work and delivering feedback is made harder by the subtle but significant biases we carry around in our heads. These cognitive traps can cloud our judgment and complicate decisions about pay and promotion. While a number of my clients have taken… Read More

Try a Feedback “WRAP” Instead Of A Praise Sandwich

praise

This article originally appeared in Inc. Giving feedback, especially when it’s critical, is a difficult but necessary function of managing people. Managers who don’t want to come across as confrontational will often resort to a “praise sandwich,” tucking negative feedback between two compliments. And while it remains a popular option, the praise sandwich is a stale choice. Not only do some people find this manner of feedback less reliable, they are often more likely to focus on the praise at the end of the sandwich instead of the critique in the middle — serving neither the feedback giver nor… Read More

Why “Mirror Holders” Give Great Feedback

This article originally appeared in Inc. Getting others to accept our feedback, especially when it’s negative, can be challenging. And while it certainly helps to share feedback that’s timely, specific, and growth-oriented, the best way to get others to be receptive to feedback is to describe a future they can still change and control. Too often, managers share feedback that’s rooted in the past and prescriptive in nature. If you want your message to produce a more positive and meaningful result, start by changing your feedback mindset. In short: Become a “mirror holder,” not a “window… Read More

How Young Leaders Level Up

This article originally appeared in Inc. For young workers, moving into a leadership role is an exciting and fulfilling step, but not without its share of complications. Whether managing distractions or delivering valuable feedback, new leaders can feel overwhelmed by the demands of their new position. As new leaders learn to level up and begin to engage their teams, it’s important not to overlook basic principles like these: 1. When you ask for advice, mean it. Bringing others into the decision-making process is smart practice: Not only does it improve the quality of decisions, it also motivates others… Read More

4 Simple Ways Leaders Can Energize Their Teams

This article originally appeared at Inc. As leaders fend off Zoom fatigue and other work-from-home challenges, a host of familiar problems are starting to resurface. Hiring challenges, workplace conflicts, productivity drags — these time-sucking traps can distract leaders from becoming a source of energy and inspiration for the people they lead.  Without requiring significant time or resources, here are four ways leaders can supercharge their teams in the year ahead — and boost the way employees feel, grow, work and create, whether they’re working from home or back in the office. Develop a gratitude habit. Research shows that the simple act… Read More