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Posts Tagged ‘manager’

Promotions and job fit

Posted by Meg Bear on August 31, 2009

200915795_801b42a1fcSo often I see managers and employees confusing promotion with recognition.  This is a real shame, as often this doesn’t work out well for anyone.

Job recognition should come from your performance review and ideally as part of regular and continuous feedback you get from your boss, your peers and others that you work with.

Too often life imitates art and managers wanting to keep someone happy,  will grant a promotion with little or no consideration to the job fit question.  Promotion involves taking on a bigger or new role and should only be done if that role is a good progression for the individual.

I’ve seen a lot of cases where this is not done well and everyone can be hurt as a result.

The most frequent promotion blunder, is putting someone in a management role when this is not a good fit for their skills.  This puts not only the individual in a tough spot, but it also impacts those unfortunate individuals who are now reporting to someone who does not understand what the job requires.  Moving into a manager role is not a path to individual recognition, but rather a complete shift in the job skills, values and priorities.

I’m growing into the belief that we need to find better and more effective ways to recognize people vs. putting so much pressure on the promotion process.

Promotion should not be the individual  goal, job fit should be the goal.

If we do a better job identifying the roles that fit us and how we can best contribute, then it is much more clear when a promotion would be needed.  A promotion is really only then needed when you outgrow your current job.  Nothing more.

If you are not getting the right kind of challenges in your role, you need a different one.  If you are succeeding at your current role and are not bored or feeling underutilized you should consider this a great job fit and celebrate your own professional nirvana.

I think the message I learned at my first yoga class fits here precisely, you are not here to compete with anyone, not even yourself.

The sooner we focus on getting our job fit right, the happier and more successful we will be.

So the next time you talk to your boss about your role, I suggest you focus the conversation on job fit.  If that takes you both to the topic of promotion then so be it, but if not, hopefully it will lead to more job satisfaction and success.

Posted in Career Development, management, performance, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Confessions of a performance review convert: no pain, no gain?…no longer!

Posted by Louise Barnfield on August 27, 2009

opportunity

I’ve noticed that performance review meetings with my manager have evolved over the past couple of years, and my performance document looks very different too. It has become a living, breathing document over the course of the entire year, and, as a result it is more complete and more relevant, both as a history and as a roadmap.

In the past, I admit I was prone to similar mistakes that Meg called out in an earlier post on performance reviews. Thanks Meg, I learned a lot from that post!

Happily, over time, she and others have encouraged me to improve my own self-evaluation process, and this in turn has provided better input for my manager, enabling him to make more comprehensive and constructive comments himself. I spend more time on the process than I used to, because it matters to me more – and it matters to me more, because it’s very evident that it matters to our management team.

Meg has strongly encouraged us to have more frequent reviews with our manager, to summarize progress on our goals, and adjust as necessary. On second thoughts, for ‘strongly encouraged’ read ‘mercilessly nagged’!! 🙂

When I perceive the importance that’s placed on this process, then I’m willing to invest more in it myself.

This has meant, for this past year in particular, that I’ve updated my performance document at quarterly intervals, which made the final summary far more manageable and more meaningful, as I could see my own progress over the entire year. Since I didn’t have to conjure up 52 weeks’ worth of information when faced with the end-of-year deadline, it also meant I spent that time more productively reflecting on the year’s events and on where I want to go in the future.

In support of this frequent update process, a recent BusinessWeek article, The Trouble with Performance Reviews, states: “…reviews occur too infrequently to provide meaningful feedback.” Luckily for me, many of the negatives raised in the article no longer apply to my performance reviews: we do “make criteria more explicit and objective and have more people involved in the ratings process, so that one person’s perceptions and biases don’t matter so much”; we do “focus more on facts and evidence and less on benchmarking and unexamined conventional wisdom.”

The annual task that I used to dread is no longer drudgery, it’s my opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still not a breeze. I spent a long time thinking and working on this year’s self-evaluation, but it was a more satisfying process because I was able to focus my attention differently, and now that I see the positive outcome I certainly don’t feel the pain as I used to. So: less pain, more gain – gotta love that!

For those of you who lack the benefit of your own Meg kicking you up the proverbial backside, I encourage you to do yourselves a favor: proactively keep frequent notes and write your own quarterly review – schedule it in your calendar and don’t (as I’ve been known to do) let it slide into obscurity in deference to seemingly(!) higher priorities.

However, for those subjected to the same regular nagging that I am, be grateful that your managers encourage you to review your goals and keep them current. My management team recognizes the benefit of ensuring that team members are continually aligned to valid smart organizational goals, for the good of me as an individual as well as for the good of the team and the business.

I’ve already updated my 2010 performance document twice in the past 2 months! Quite a change for the person who (like our Ken) was previously dragged, kicking and screaming, through the once dreaded annual process.

Which are you, a diehard or a convert?

Photo by Little Jeanne

Posted in goals, management, performance, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

How about giving your Boss a Performance Review?

Posted by Vivian Wong on April 14, 2009

handshakeAs an employee, it’s easy to think of a Performance Review as a one way street where the manager reviews your performance. In some ways, a Performance Review is just like social networking (such as Twitter/Facebook)- some make the most of it, while others think it’s a complete waste of time.

If you make the most of your Performance Reviews, then congratulations! I hope you walk away from them knowing:

  • How you are doing at your job – what’s working and what’s not
  • Suggestions/Action items for growth
  • Hope for continued career growth – honest discussion so your manager can help align your strengths and career aspiration with the business needs

You can take it one step further. 

From time to time, you should give your manager the ultimate gift as well. As Meg noted in her Managing Your Boss blog, part of your job is to help your boss succeed. Just like your manager lets you know how you are performing, you should reciprocate and give your manager some feedback on how they are doing as your boss – all relationships (work or personal) thrive on a two-way communication.

So ask yourself: 

  • What is it that your manager does that either helps or hinders you from performing your best
  • Do you want your manager to continue or stop a particular behavior? 
  • What do you want your manager to start doing to bring out your potential?

I am betting that I am not the only manager who appreciates honest feedback from my team. 

For example, I would definitely want you to tell me if I have broccoli stuck in my teeth  or that I was abrasive in my communication or worse, I am de-motivating you unknowingly. I would also like to know if I am doing enough for you and whether  I am providing the right level of support to help you grow

It’s one thing to do the best I can, it’s another to know that my efforts have the desired effect;  and if not, I’d be happy to make improvements and be a better leader and manager!

So go ahead – give your manager some feedback – it might even help your manager to help you in finding happiness at work.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Who’s the boss?

Posted by Vivian Wong on October 14, 2008

For this year’s National Boss day, I’d like to pay tribute to my prior and current bosses for leading by example (both good and bad ones). The dualities of our weird and wonderful world means there is something we can learn from every single situation – the good vs bad, light vs dark, yin vs yang – just to name a few. Each contains some of the other.      

I’d also like to give thanks to all those who have worked with me over the years – for being my teachers and for allowing me to practice my management and leadership skills. I’ve learned a lot and had a lot of fun along the way, hopefully it hasn’t been too painful for you!

Take care of your men, fight them, and honour them as you would yourself.  Harley Fricker

I once had a “boss” (the pointy haired kind as in Dilbert cartoons)  who would try to “motivate” us to work harder (even though we were already working 60 hours a week). His favorite line?  “Heads down, bums up”. Employee appreciation is clearly not his strength.

People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. . . . The leader works in the open, and the boss is covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives.  Theodore Roosevelt

I personally believe the key to being an effective leader is to have strong communication skills as well as having compassion to those around you. What I wasn’t really prepared for when I first became a manager was how to recover from uncomfortable situations. For example, I had an employee who missed a few meetings several weeks in a row for medical appointments. I was getting increasingly worried about his health since he was also working late nights. During our third one-on-one meeting, I asked if he was OK and if the medical appointments were going well. The employee was pleased that I was genuinely concerned and replied:”Thank you – I’ve never had a manager who cares so much!” I smiled and he continued: “I have hemorrhoid but don’t worry, it’s not cancer.” Needless to say, I was red-faced and told him I am glad he’s ok.

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.  Ray KrocFounder of McDonald’s

The most effective bosses are those who have the following traits:

  • Strong Communcation: Open, honest and timely communication is key
  • Inspiring: empower others without getting in the way
  • Appreciative: Give credit when credits due. Say thank you. Acknowledge when a job is done well.
  • Compassionate: Be empathetic to all those you work with
  • Trust: trust your employees while giving them the support they need
  • Challenge and develop employees – understand what motivates them, see their strengths and potential, teach, coach and mentor them to bring out their best potential
  • Lead by example – walk the talk!

I am lucky enough to work for a manager who’s not only a strong communicator, but she also empowers, trusts and challenges me to be a stronger leader. (Thank you Boss!)

“Jingshen” is the Mandarin word for spirit and vivacity. It is an important word for those who would lead, because above all things, spirit and vivacity set effective organizations apart from those that will decline and die.  James L. Hayes 

May you be blessed with lots of “Jingshen” while leading your men and women… Happy National Boss Day!

 

Posted in leadership, management, teams | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Happiness @ Work?

Posted by Vivian Wong on September 15, 2008

What motivates most people at work include promotions and pay raises. These two factors certainly affect our happiness level at work – but they are often short-lived and sometimes leave you with more frustration than if you haven’t gotten any at all. For example: you may have recently got promoted, and yet you may think it took management far too long to give you the promotion you deserve. (This may be true but that should not rob you of the joy of receiving the promotion); Even if you were truly happy with the promotion or the raise (and better still both), that special feeling doesn’t last very long. Surely we can’t get promoted as often as we’d like – otherwise all of us would be CEOs or Presidents by now. So how do we go about finding happiness at work that doesn’t fade away like soap bubbles?     

Know Yourself
 
If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. (Buddha)    

It is clearly not possible to love EVERYTHING about your job – but you should ask yourself: 
       

  • Are you being challenged and do you enjoy the challenges?
  • Are you maximizing your strengths?
  • Are you developing your greatest potential through the peaks and valley of this constant rollercoaster ride working in a large corporation?
  • Are you doing the best you can?
  • Do you get job satisfaction from your job?
If your answers to above questions are mostly no, then you should take a hard look at your career. Perhaps it’s time for you to initiate a change! This is the perfect recipe to frustration, disappointment and unhappiness.     

If there are a couple of “No”s, then you should take the responsibility upon yourself to see how you can turn them to “yes”. You could be standing in your own way of happiness! For example, say you are a developer. If you are not maximizing your strength in “presentation” because all you do is writing technical design documents and code all day. You may be frustrated that you have amazing hidden talents waiting for your manager to discover and she/he STILL hasn’t discovered them yet. Let’s face it, your managers are not trained to be talent agents. You need to take the initiative to discuss this with her/him. Perhaps you could volunteer for community services such as hosting brown bags for knowledge transfers. (Most managers would love to see their employees being proactive).    

If all your answers are “Yes” – then congratulations! You have reached Nirvana!     

Know what YOU want is key to finding happiness at work– if you have no idea what floats your boat, then how could your manager know? Aligning your own career goals with the needs/opportunities of the business with the support of your manager will certainly get you a lot closer to reaching your goals.     

Without a clear goal, you will always end up somewhere else – perhaps even further away from finding happiness!     

Love What You Do
I am not talking about loving every minute of your job. That job probably doesn’t exist. (It’s like having adorable kids or puppies, they all have their least attractive moments.;-) ). We all know that we are at our best form when we do something we love. So if you don’t love what you do (or at least some aspects of your job), then you need to figure out what you are really passionate about and go after that!     

Be Adaptable
The truth is, you have to be comfortable with change no matter what you do – in fact you should fully expect it. You have to have the strength to accept things you cannot change – because change is the only constant in today’s world. Resistance causes pain, and pain can blind you to the opportunities for your growth that changes often bring. Ultimately, this resistance can affect your happiness at work (or what is left of it).     

A pessimist sees the difficulty in opportunity, and an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. – Winston Churchill     

Be Positive
No one likes to work with a whiner who’s never happy and projects negative thoughts/attitude. Negative thoughts/words affect you and those around you on a subconscious level. People feel more at ease (and eager to help) when we are positive. There have also been countless studies that link negative thoughts to physical illnesses. For example, one recent study showed that Nuns who have positive thoughts live 10 years longer than those who don’t. Apparently being negative is a secret recipe to dying younger!     

Finally…
If you know what you want to do, do what you love and have the strength to overcome obstacles along the way with a positive attitude, I think you are on the right track to finding happiness at work!     

If you love someone set them free

Posted by Meg Bear on January 16, 2008

spraygirl.jpgYes, the topic today is “Talent Mobility”. 

But Meg, you say, Mark already covered this topic a few weeks ago.  Yes, I know he did, but I’ve made a career out of repeating what Mark has to say, I don’t see why I should stop doing that now that I have a blog goal of an entry every week.

So the question is, how do managers deal with the conflicting priorities of wanting to succeed against their own objectives vs. the goals of their team members for career development?  Especially when the next career progression for an individual is not an opportunity that the manager has on their team?   How does an HR group encourage the idea of individual career development if they have managers who are incented to hoard talent?

One of the first problems to address is how you incent your managers.  If their incentives are exclusively project based and not based on growing their people you are probably going to have limited success in driving the kind of employee engagement that we have been talking about here at TalentedApps.

Another key factor will be showing talent mobility as a core value.  Are those managers who develop and share talent known in your organization?  Does your organization see these managers as more valuable?  They should.  Managers who are able to develop and share talent are going to provide more long term value to your company than those managers who are only concerned about their own personal objectives.  In addition, those managers who are good at spreading talent across your organization are probably those managers who have a more effective network in the organization, certainly a more loyal one.

So, as you look to set your own objectives this January think about how putting opportunities for those who work for you ahead of opportunities for yourself.   Not only does the golden rule tell you to do this, but in the end you and your company will benefit more as a result. 

Also, consider thanking someone who was influential in your own career by helping you achieve your own career goals, especially when that involved being open to the idea of you working somewhere else if that was necessary.  To that end I would like to thank my last two bosses (you know who you are and are probably thrilled to have me mention you publicly) who have made personal sacrifices to help me grow professionally.  This, in addition to having to put up with me as an employee, certainly disserves a good karmic return.

Posted in engagement, management, social network, teams | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Is Employee Engagement a managers job?

Posted by Meg Bear on December 5, 2007

We’ve been talking about Employee Engagement for some time.  How do we engage people, why do we need to engage people – all that touchy/feely stuff that causes some of us to feel warm and fuzzy and others of us to hold back a gag reflex.

I’ve also been thinking about a Manager’s role in the overall Talent story for some time.  I think that to really do innovative things in Talent you not only need software and a HR vision but you really need solid line managers.  Initiatives like building, sharing and retaining talent fall down quickly with bad managers.  As the saying goes people join a company but they quit their manager.

I’ve read a few things lately that are food for thought for those of us who are managers.  Now I do not intend to suggest that we as individuals yield our own responsibility to define, nurture and grow our own careers but for those of us who are managers it can’t hurt to check in and see if we could be doing more.

Here is a quick article that talks about employee engagement and how “managing with a human touch” is a necessary ingredient for that to happen. 

I also recently read Three signs of a miserable job and found an interesting assertion on the responsibility of a manager.  This book focuses on how a manager is responsible to make the job of their employees something that they can feel positive about.  The most interesting thing that he points out is that the work is not really the most significant factor.  In other words, a movie star, a super model, a professional athlete can be less engaged in their job then a cashier a janitor or a factory worker.   His core points were that

  1. People need to be recognized – he used the word Anonymity as the problem.  Managers need to engage with their teams as people first and employees second.  Yes, here is where the touchy/feely part comes in – if it makes you squirm as a manager then guess what?  Maybe you shouldn’t be in management.  People often confuse what is not legal to ask in an interview process with what they should not ask an employee.  So the question is: do you like your team?  Do you know them?  Do you care about them as people? Do you send them birthday gifts on Facebook? (ok that last part was a joke but you get the idea)
  2. People need to be able to measure their work (Immeasurement)– If you can’t measure what you do or worse if you are measured on something that has no clear connection with what you do then you are probably less satisfied with your job.
  3. People need to see a value in their contribution (Irrelevance)– People want/need to know that they make a difference in the lives of others with their contributions.  One very interesting point he raised is that managers are often not comfortable being clear to their teams that they need them. => So in case there is any doubt for my team – ohmygod do I need you guys 😉

Posted in engagement, management | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »