Top 10 LGL Posts of 2014

Thanks so much for all of your support of the LGL community this year. Your faithful comments and collaboration caused our community to be rated on the Top 10 Leadership Development sites (based on engagement). I’m humbled and grateful for your support.

To wrap up 2014, I share the most popular posts of 2014 in case you missed them.

I’m looking forward to an amazing new year for our community. If you’ve not yet completed the short survey on what you’d like to see next year, please take a moment now by clicking here.

Eight Questions You Should Ask Your Boss A very practical list of questions you can use to get a deeper dialogue going with your boss. It also includes some great conversation starters if you’re the boss.

When Passive Aggressive Meets the Truth I must say, I’m glad this one got traction because it came from a really emotional place. A wonderful side effect of blogging is the cathartic feeling of helping others grow from my pain 😉

5 Subtle Ways Leaders Lose Credibility Credibility is hard to establish and easy to lose. This post covers the more subtle credibility-busters that often get in the way of great leadership.

5 Secrets to Great Skip Level Meetings Done well, skip level meetings can inspire, engage, motivate and inform the skipper, skipee, and even the skipped. On the other hand, poorly run skip level meetings inadvertently bring on “Diaper Genie” feedback and diminish trust. There’s not a lot out there on this subject. If you run skip level meetings, there are some important tips here.

A Better Way to Address Performance Issues This model (left) goes beyond the traditional “will or skill” approach. An easy way to dig deeper.building confidence and competence

Trickle Down Intimidation The same leaders who carefully craft inspiring messages for the frontline, may be undercutting their efforts by inadvertent trickle down intimidation. Fear is contagious. Leaders watch the level above them and take their cues on how to act and what to say.

The 9 Biggest Mistakes When Presenting to Executives A practical guide to a stronger presentation. I use many of these tips in my leadership development work.

6 Reasons Your Team Yearns For Authenticity Team long for more authenticity. Find out why and how to give them what they need.

How to Succeed as Scope and Scale Increases As you move up, the game changes. Practical tips for succeeding at the next level.

Great Mid Year Review Questions Another question post. Most of these questions would work just as well for an end-of-year appraisal.

15 Questions to Ask Your Team Before 2015

At Verizon, January always brought a flurry of kickoff activities where the sentiment was 90% forward focus. Auditoriums around the country would resound with a consistent message, “Last year is over… no time to spend there, we’ve got game-changing work to do.”

I’m all for a 2015 fast start. In fact, I’m looking forward to the strategy work I’ll be doing with teams across a variety of industries this January. But it’s a mistake to not pause, reflect, consider, celebrate, and mourn before 2014 is put away with the Christmas decorations.

15 Questions to Ask Your Team Before 2015

Here are 15 questions to get your team thinking and talking before 2015. It can also be fun to pick your favorite 12 and send them out in email for the 12 days of Christmas reflection.

If you’re off sipping eggnog, it’s okay, they’ll still work on January 4th 😉

When you reflect on 2014…

  1. Where have you had the biggest business impact?
  2. Who have you most influenced?
  3. What was your biggest contribution to the team?
  4. What new strategic partnerships/relationships did you form within the company? In the industry?
  5. Who most influenced your leadership?
  6. What are you most proud of?
  7. What is the most important lesson you learned?
  8. If you could make one decision over again what would you change and why?
  9. In what areas have you grown most professionally? Personally?
  10. What was your greatest disappointment?
  11. How could I have supported you more effectively?
  12. What was the most influential book you read?
  13. What was the most impactful developmental experience? (Note: if they can’t think of one, that’s a BAD sign 😉
  14. In what ways are you different from this time last year?
  15. How are you going to celebrate your accomplishments?

While you and your team are reflecting on your year, I’d love for you to take a minute to offer your suggestions on how I can best support you in 2015 by completing this quick survey. I want to ensure LGL continues to grow and improve to add value to your leadership journey.

Do You Take Your Traditions For Granted?

A guest post by Frank Sonnenberg

When you hear the word holiday, what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, shopping, parties, sales, and catalogs rank near the top of your list. The truth is, many holidays are becoming so commercialized that our proud traditions are in danger of becoming trivialized.

Many of us can’t even remember the true meaning of the holidays. Memorial Day has morphed from remembering our fallen soldiers to the unofficial beginning of summer. Labor Day’s role in recognizing the achievements of organized labor now just marks the end of summer and a return to school. Veterans Day is honored as a day off from work.

Traditions represent a critical piece of our culture. They help form the structure and foundation of our families and our society. They remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are today and who we are likely to become. Once we ignore the meaning of our traditions, we’re in danger of damaging the underpinning of our identity.

  •  Tradition contributes a sense of comfort and belonging. It brings families together and enables people to reconnect with friends.
  •  Tradition reinforces values such as freedom, faith, integrity, a good education, personal responsibility, a strong work ethic, and the value of being selfless.
  •  Tradition provides a forum to showcase role models and celebrate the things that really matter in life.
  •  Tradition offers a chance to say “thank you” for the contribution that someone has made.
  •  Tradition enables us to showcase the principles of our Founding Fathers, celebrate diversity, and unite as a country.
  •  Tradition serves as an avenue for creating lasting memories for our families and friends.
  •  Tradition offers an excellent context for meaningful pause and reflection.

As leaders, role models, and parents, we must strive to utilize every opportunity available to us to reinforce the values and beliefs that we hold dear. The alternative to action is taking these values for granted. The result is that our beliefs will get so diluted, over time, that our way of life will become foreign to us. It’s like good health. You may take it for granted until you lose it. If we disregard our values, we’ll open our eyes one day and won’t be able to recognize “our world” anymore. The values that support the backbone of our country, our family, and our faith will have drifted for so long that the fabric of our society will be torn.

This is adapted from Follow Your Conscience: Make a Difference in Your Life & in the Lives of Others By Frank Sonnenberg © 2014 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.

 

Role Models of Confident Humility: Profile #1 Jesus Christ

When I think of role models of confident humility, it’s hard to imagine a better example than Jesus. Born in a manger, washing feet, hanging out with the poor; yet let’s face it, he had some pretty big asks. From time to time in 2015, I’ll be showcasing examples of leaders across a variety of contexts lead from a place of humble confidence.

This Christmas it seemed only appropriate to start with Jesus. Let’s have some fun with this one in a big virtual Christmas party. Even if you’re not Christian, there’s a lot we can learn from Jesus as a human leader as well. I’ll start with a few ideas, gathered from some of my Lead Change Group friends to get us started.  Grab some cocoa and add your thoughts.

“Confident humility says I can love you and serve you, even if your actions don’t deserve it.” -Chery Gegelman

Confidence

lead from who you are | stand up for what matters | speak the truth

  • Calming the raging storm
  • Walking on water
  • Taking on the establishment

“He knew who he was. The attitude of everything he said was confident based on who he was and what he was going to do.” – Mike Henry Sr.

Humility

know your vulnerabilities | admit mistakes | invite challengers

  • Washing the disciples feet
  • “Into your hands I commend my spirit:” Submitting to crucifixion
  • Note:  I’m curious– can anyone think of a time where Jesus admits he made a mistake?

Connection

listen carefully | understand perspectives | collaborate endlessly

  • As a young boy, confident enough to discuss God with the priests, yet humble enough to submit when Mary and Joseph came back for him.
  • Hanging out with outcasts and children
  • Telling stories

Vision

imagine more | invite bold possibility | do what matters

  • Energized a strong, diverse team to drop everything and follow-him
  • Strong ideas that challenged the status quo
  • Drew a compelling picture of life after death

Thanks so much to Johann Gauthier, Randy Conley, Jane Anderson, John Smith, Paul Larue, Chery Gegelman, Bill Treasurer, Mike Henry, Sr, and Paula Kiger for their insights on this topic that served as a basis for this post.

In Search Of Confident, Humble Leaders

Do you know (or know of) a leader who is a role model of confident humility? Well known or not? Please drop me a note for consideration for a 2015 profile in confident humility.

Merry Christmas.

Thanks so much for being such an amazing part of my year.

In Peace and Joy,

Karin

Confident Humility: FREE Downloadable Holiday Gifts

How to Lead with the Right Kind of Confidence

Great leaders have a unique combination of confidence and humility coupled with the power to create real vision and connection. These forces work together to inspire a magnetic magic that leads to breakthrough results. I’m on a mission to inspire and develop these characteristics in leaders around the world. This philosophy is at the core of my message in my speaking, writing and consulting. I’m confident it’s a message worth sharing.

Today I’m sharing some free gifts to help get the word out. I encourage you to download and use with your teams.

I’d also love to talk with you about the possiblity of working with you and your team on a fast start to 2015 or speaking at your next event.  Please contact me for a free consultation on how we can build something just right.

P.S. If you need an endorsement to get you inspired, here’s Santa’s.

Another Holiday Gift

As a holiday gift to you, I’m sharing some easy exercises you can use with your team in the new year (see sidebar). If you’re already a subscriber, check your email for a download link. If you’re new here, we’d love to have you join our inspiring tribe.

talkingteams-02-3D

More End of Year Fun

Our LGL tribe had some nice recognition, being honored as a Top 10 Leadership Sites of 2014 based on COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT. You did that! I am so grateful for your amazing interaction. Your comments are my favorite part of writing.

I’m also really honored to be included on Inc’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers For Your Next Conference (of course, they used Sir Richard Branson’s pic, not mine, but I’m cheaper 😉

Leaders Share about Dreams and Callings-A Frontline Festival

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. Our November Festival is all about Dreams and Callings.  Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!

Finding Our Dreams and Callings

“There are those who look at things the way they are and ask, ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and ask, ‘Why not?'” – Robert Kennedy

The call to lead sometimes whispers very softly or it can trick you when it’s really a desire for more money, power or position. Mary Jo Asmus  of Aspire Collaborative Services advises us to listen carefully.  Follow Mary Jo.

John Hunter of Curious Cat Managment Improvement has discovered the lasting impact of a particular person in his life, and carries on that dream and calling in his own. Follow John. 

Tom Eakin of BoomLife encourages us to make our big idea an experiment and start doing what it takes to rise above the confounding things that distract you from doing what it takes to live your dream. Follow Tom.

Examining Our Dreams and Callings

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

What if I told you that most people don’t even know what their true dreams are? You may have goals and aspirations, but do you know the things deep down inside that drive you? That’s what Matt McWilliams of Mattmcwilliams.com asks us. Follow Matt.

What makes you come alive? Leadership Coach Julie Pierce of Empowered by Pierce helps you take notice and find your leadership passion.   Follow Julie.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of Seapoint Center  shares that if you’re not clear about what you really want, you are likely to set goals that will not be truly satisfying once accomplished. If you look below the surface of your dreams, you might find that what you thought you wanted is not exactly what you truly desire. Follow Jesse Lynn.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership challenges us that if you want to do even greater things with the rest of your life, there is one critical step you must take. You must CHOOSE. Follow Susan.

Jeff Harmon of Brilliance Within Coaching shares that the most important leadership practice to connect with your calling and the deepest part of yourself is solitude.  This is not only the place where you will meet your calling, but also a source of contentment.  Follow Jeff.

What is your life quest? What will you create and curate? How will you manage conflict? Key questions to answer for your life quest, according to Jon Mertz of Thin Difference. Follow Jon.

As we head into the New Year, use these questions to plan how you will transform your leadership, your workplace and your world. Thanks, Linda Fish Thornton of Leading in Context. Follow Linda.

Lisa Kohn of Thoughtful Leaders Blog presents “It’s never too late” where she shares that when we give ourselves time to reflect on what we’ve always dreamed of, or what would make us our “best selves,” we allow ourselves to become who we want to be. Follow Lisa.

In this post, Mike Henry of the Lead Change Group opens up to his readers about how his personal calling has shifted in the past few years and reminds us that, “…our highest calling inflates or inspires us to rise to new heights and achieve great things.” Follow Mike.

Overcoming Challenges to Dreams and Callings

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” – Colin Powell

Jeff Miller of the Faithful Pacesetters shares that somewhere along the line we stop dreaming so much…and we start turning into planners.   There’s great importance in planning, but constant planning takes us away from unconstrained dreaming. Follow Jeff.

When life gets tough, it’s hard to look truth in the eye according to LaRae Quy of Mental Toughness Center. We’ve all paid a heavy price to get where we are today, and we need mental toughness to keep this important promise to ourselves—that if we keep looking for positive alternatives in our life, we will find them.  Follow LaRae.

Life makes demands of us when we want to achieve something in life.  Here David Brown of Avis and Brown shares his learning from experiences on his journey towards his calling. Follow David.

Alli Polin of Break the Frame says there is one thing standing between this moment and what you most want to create...hard work. Follow Alli.

Sharing Our Dreams and Callings

“A dream you dream alone is a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” – Yoko Ono

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership reminds us that you can’t just persuade people to change. You have to share the dream. Follow Wally.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer Leadership takes a look at how our dreams serve as both the inspiration and drive necessary to fuel our organization’s growth and long-term prosperity. Follow Tanveer.

Michelle Pallas of Michelle Pallas, Inc. remind us that as leaders, it’s up to us to inspire others to hope; otherwise they never create the dreams that propel them forward. Follow Michelle.

Call for Submissions. January’s Frontline Festival is about Confidence. Please send your submissions no later than January 9th. New participants welcome.  Click here to join in!

Dreams & CallingsI’m so grateful for to Larry Coppenrath for creating this beautiful visual map of the the thinking in this month’s Festival.

 

 

 

5 Times It’s Better to Say No

It’s almost always easier to say “yes” than “no”–in the short run.

“Yes, it’s okay for you to treat me that way.”

‘Yes, I’ll stay late tonight and miss dinner again– after all my wife won’t say ‘no.’ “

“Yes, it’s okay skip my workout.”

“Yes, your work is fine” (even though it could be better.)

A close second to expectation violations, the inability to say “no” is one of the top sources of intrapersonal and interpersonal conflict in organizations.

Misplaced yeses sabotage relationships, goals, and well-being.

5 Times It’s Better To Say “No”

“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right.
These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.”  -W. Clement Stone

Finding the courage to say “no” to what’s wrong, is a powerful fuel for start to saying “yes” to what matters most.

  1.  Say “No” to Rude or Disrespectful Behavior
    Sure it’s easier to ignore the situation. After all, who needs more drama? But allowing a co-worker or boss to treat you with disrespect slowly undermines your confidence, and sends a clear message that you’re willing to accept that behavior from him or her and any casual observers. Say “yes” to civil treatment at work.
  2. Say “No” to Time Wasters
    These come in the form of people or activities. Say “no” to stupid work that doesn’t propel your mission and goals. Say “no” to the guy who’s always hanging around your cube. Say “yes” to achieving your goals.
  3. Say “No” to Your Boss’ Harebrained Idea
    Yes you can. Trust me, your boss will thank you for carefully putting on the brakes. Speak up. Read more on how to here. Say “yes” to doing what’s right.
  4. Say “No” to Negative Self-Talk
    It’s easy to talk ourselves out of our own success. Say “yes” to positive thinking.
  5. Say “No” to Scope Creep
    You’ve outlined the project and the deliverables, but the “just one more” requests keep getting tagged on, without renegotiated deadlines or compensation. It’s okay to say “No, I can’t do that right now, or under our current terms,” while saying “yes” to “I’d be happy to talk to you about that as phase 2.” Say “yes” to renegotiation.

Say “no” to respect your best yes. Say “no” with the confidence to do what’s right, and the humility to know what matters.

5 Times It's Better to Say No

It’s almost always easier to say “yes” than “no”–in the short run.

“Yes, it’s okay for you to treat me that way.”

‘Yes, I’ll stay late tonight and miss dinner again– after all my wife won’t say ‘no.’ “

“Yes, it’s okay skip my workout.”

“Yes, your work is fine” (even though it could be better.)

A close second to expectation violations, the inability to say “no” is one of the top sources of intrapersonal and interpersonal conflict in organizations.

Misplaced yeses sabotage relationships, goals, and well-being.

5 Times It’s Better To Say “No”

“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right.
These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.”  -W. Clement Stone

Finding the courage to say “no” to what’s wrong, is a powerful fuel for start to saying “yes” to what matters most.

  1.  Say “No” to Rude or Disrespectful Behavior
    Sure it’s easier to ignore the situation. After all, who needs more drama? But allowing a co-worker or boss to treat you with disrespect slowly undermines your confidence, and sends a clear message that you’re willing to accept that behavior from him or her and any casual observers. Say “yes” to civil treatment at work.
  2. Say “No” to Time Wasters
    These come in the form of people or activities. Say “no” to stupid work that doesn’t propel your mission and goals. Say “no” to the guy who’s always hanging around your cube. Say “yes” to achieving your goals.
  3. Say “No” to Your Boss’ Harebrained Idea
    Yes you can. Trust me, your boss will thank you for carefully putting on the brakes. Speak up. Read more on how to here. Say “yes” to doing what’s right.
  4. Say “No” to Negative Self-Talk
    It’s easy to talk ourselves out of our own success. Say “yes” to positive thinking.
  5. Say “No” to Scope Creep
    You’ve outlined the project and the deliverables, but the “just one more” requests keep getting tagged on, without renegotiated deadlines or compensation. It’s okay to say “No, I can’t do that right now, or under our current terms,” while saying “yes” to “I’d be happy to talk to you about that as phase 2.” Say “yes” to renegotiation.

Say “no” to respect your best yes. Say “no” with the confidence to do what’s right, and the humility to know what matters.

How to Handle Your Boss’ Negative Feedback (even if you disagree)

Amy was dreading her performance review.  She’d just be in the job a year, and her interactions with her imperfect boss were becoming more tense and intense with each passing month. The truth was, she questioned his approach to running the department, and he wasn’t listening to her ideas. She didn’t love his suggestions, and often reacted defensively to his feedback, making matters worse. She figured all the crap from those interactions would show up in a one-sided performance synopsis she’d have to defend, but didn’t know how.

She was grinning when she told me how it went.

“Well I had my performance review today, and the feedback was about as I expected. But, instead of reacting, I listened, thanked him, and asked for specific suggestions on how I could improve. I also had a list of things I’ve been working on in areas we’ve been talking about and I asked him for his help. I think he was shocked.”

Well played.

She went on to share:

“I think he had been bracing for my defensive reaction, but when I showed I was truly listening, his whole demeanor changed. It took every ounce of energy I had to not bring out the list of stupid things he’s doing wrong, but I decided it wasn’t a matter of being right, it was about improvement. Plus, some of what he said was true. I did have areas I could improve so why not start there? My listening seemed to change his approach to me, he started to act like a boss I could deal with.”

Game on.

A Few Tips For Handling Negative Feedback

1. You don’t have to respond in-depth right away

“I hear you. Thank you. Let me think about that” is enough, particularly if you’re really ticked off.

2. Listen Deeply

Knowing that you don’t have to respond immediately provides immense freedom to focus  your energy to listen well. Take notes. Ask for clarifying examples.

3. Consider

Sure there are always two sides to every story. But open your mind to where your boss is coming from. Even if he’s full of flaws, his perspective likely contains some nuggets of truth. Don’t throw out the potentially useful feedback with the proverbial bathwater.

4. Look For Patterns

Where have you heard similar feedback before? From whom? Does he sound just like your mom? Your ex-lover? Just saying.

5. Solicit Additional Feedback

Don’t start with “My boss said this… what do you think? He’s an idiot, right?” But do ask around without mentioning him at all. Seek to understand if others have a similiar impression.

6. If It’s BS. Let It Go

In my career I’ve been very deliberate in completely blowing off stupid feedback from time to time. I’ve known other successful people who’ve done the same. If you’re blowing it off from multiple people from multiple directions, you might want to pause some more. But if you’re getting icky feedback from one guy (or gal), and you’ve sought hard to understand, it may just be time to respectfully let it go. Yup, there’s a song for that 😉 The Frozen soundtrack works wonders with the windows rolled up.

How to Handle Your Boss' Negative Feedback (even if you disagree)

Amy was dreading her performance review.  She’d just be in the job a year, and her interactions with her imperfect boss were becoming more tense and intense with each passing month. The truth was, she questioned his approach to running the department, and he wasn’t listening to her ideas. She didn’t love his suggestions, and often reacted defensively to his feedback, making matters worse. She figured all the crap from those interactions would show up in a one-sided performance synopsis she’d have to defend, but didn’t know how.

She was grinning when she told me how it went.

“Well I had my performance review today, and the feedback was about as I expected. But, instead of reacting, I listened, thanked him, and asked for specific suggestions on how I could improve. I also had a list of things I’ve been working on in areas we’ve been talking about and I asked him for his help. I think he was shocked.”

Well played.

She went on to share:

“I think he had been bracing for my defensive reaction, but when I showed I was truly listening, his whole demeanor changed. It took every ounce of energy I had to not bring out the list of stupid things he’s doing wrong, but I decided it wasn’t a matter of being right, it was about improvement. Plus, some of what he said was true. I did have areas I could improve so why not start there? My listening seemed to change his approach to me, he started to act like a boss I could deal with.”

Game on.

A Few Tips For Handling Negative Feedback

1. You don’t have to respond in-depth right away

“I hear you. Thank you. Let me think about that” is enough, particularly if you’re really ticked off.

2. Listen Deeply

Knowing that you don’t have to respond immediately provides immense freedom to focus  your energy to listen well. Take notes. Ask for clarifying examples.

3. Consider

Sure there are always two sides to every story. But open your mind to where your boss is coming from. Even if he’s full of flaws, his perspective likely contains some nuggets of truth. Don’t throw out the potentially useful feedback with the proverbial bathwater.

4. Look For Patterns

Where have you heard similar feedback before? From whom? Does he sound just like your mom? Your ex-lover? Just saying.

5. Solicit Additional Feedback

Don’t start with “My boss said this… what do you think? He’s an idiot, right?” But do ask around without mentioning him at all. Seek to understand if others have a similiar impression.

6. If It’s BS. Let It Go

In my career I’ve been very deliberate in completely blowing off stupid feedback from time to time. I’ve known other successful people who’ve done the same. If you’re blowing it off from multiple people from multiple directions, you might want to pause some more. But if you’re getting icky feedback from one guy (or gal), and you’ve sought hard to understand, it may just be time to respectfully let it go. Yup, there’s a song for that 😉 The Frozen soundtrack works wonders with the windows rolled up.

3 Ways to Prepare for a Better Performance Review

It had been an insane but productive year of game-changing projects and really long hours. I was proud, but exhausted. We had our final push just as the holidays were approaching, and I was more stressed then ever. My phone rang and Laura, my boss, told me she needed my accomplishments a week earlier than expected. I was beyond annoyed. Laura knew what we had done. I didn’t have time to write it all down.

But she was the boss so I slapped something together and sent it to her. Ten minutes later the phone rang again. “Karin this is crap. There is no way this is a good summary of what you’ve done this year. Here’s what I need…” Laura then gave me a long list of metrics, correlations, and ROI calculations to do.

Now I pushed back, “That’s going to take all night! What do want, my other deliverables or all this? I can’t do both.”

“Find a way.”

I did.

What I learned a month later was that she had submitted my name for a big award that came with an all expense paid trip for two (and a week’s extra vacation) to Puerto Rico. She knew I needed the rest. Boy was I glad she’d pushed me so hard. As I sat on the beach sipping my chardonnay, I vowed to never blow off preparing for a performance review again.

Here’s what I learned from Laura about showcasing your accomplishments. Give it a try as you prepare for your own performance review, or share with your team to help them prepare for their meeting with you.

3 Ways to Prepare For a Better Performance Review

1. Numbers, Numbers, Numbers

Don’t just say what you did, calculate the business impact. If possible calculate the ROI on your projects (of course this is a lot easier if you do it along the way versus pulling an all-nighter). If ROI is too much of a stretch calculate percent improvement in key metrics.

Even the soft stuff can be reported in terms of numbers. Don’t say you invested in developing your team; instead share that three of your team members were promoted. Don’t say you conducted three teambuilders; share that absenteeism went down 20% and that you have a 10% YOY improvement in the employee survey metrics.

As you plan for 2015, be sure you’re also planning which measurements and correlations you’d like to be using to showcase your performance this time next year.

2. Write Down Where You Need to Improve

Nothing impresses me more than when employees come to their review with a spot-on list of what they could have done better, areas for development, and how I can help. Approaching your review with such confident humility immediately puts your boss in helping mode. I guarantee the review will feel better and go more smoothly from both sides of the desk.

3. Gather Additional Perspectives

The end of the year is a great time for a Do It Yourself 360. Knowing where you stand with others will lead to richer discussion with your boss.

Often it’s the best performers who are too busy to “toot their own horn” and document their accomplishments well. It’s not bragging, it’s useful. Make life easier on your boss this performance management season, and invest the time to prepare properly.

7 Ways to Deal with Employees Who Drive You Crazy

If you’re just tuning in, I’ve been teaching an MBA course on Managing Difficult Employees and gave these “students” (read that, really smart working millennials with big jobs in our  nation’s capital) “homework” to developing an approach to manage their difficult employee and to journal about it. If you missed Monday’s post, best to start there.

I asked these “students” to share what they learned most from their experience. Their list is a powerful start. I’m excited for you to add your best thinking.

  1. Don’t ignore it. I know, I know… this seems SO obvious, but I’ve got to tell you 97% of the stories started with that strategy. Be honest with yourself. What really difficult employees (up, down and sideways) are you ignoring, or staying away from in hopes that the problem will take care of itself?
  2. Try something. I had to laugh at how many students shared, “and then you made me… and it worked!” Bottom line, no grades were given for action, just analysis. No “making” just “challenging.” Where do you need to be challenged to address the situation?
  3. Look within. At the end of the day, the deepest discovery for many of the students was that they were part of the problem. I was impressed to see so many sharing “and then I became a difficult employee because…”
  4. Understand their point of view. It’s amazing how the perspective changes from another person’s cube. Go there, listen and hang out a while.
  5. Get to know them as human beings. No really. I mean it, even if they’re really jerky. This was one of the number one strategies and it changed the game.
  6. Stand-up for what’s right. These guys and gals put bullies in their place, and had their bosses reconsider. Don’t take crap. People treat you how you let them.
  7. If it’s really stupid get HR involved. Your boss can’t smack you, or demean you, or hide vital information. If it’s really stupid, write it down and get the right people involved. That works too.