Helping Top Performers Improve – Part Two: Customizing The Feedback

In Part One of Helping Top Performers Improve I shared how to move past your hesitation and fear to deliver this feedback. If you struggle with this and haven’t read Part One, please read it and watch the accompanying video before reading this post, as Part Two begins where Part One ends.

Leaders are taught to treat everyone fairly, but that does not mean you treat everyone the same. Not treating people the same is especially true when it comes to feedback, as customization is the key.

The profile of Top Performers provides an instructive guide to effectively customizing feedback to them.

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Helping Top Performers Improve – Part One: Overcoming Reluctance

Are you reluctant, hesitant or fearful of giving constructive feedback to top performers?

If a leader’s job is to:

  • create a success-oriented work environment that employees can thrive in
  • help employees improve, regardless their level of performance

That includes all employees, even your top performers, right?

Many leaders understand and accept that position, but struggle to do it, especially when it requires delivering constructive feedback to their best folks.

The reasons for their reluctance vary.

From Deliverer concerns like:

  • not wanting to appear unappreciative of a top performer’s stellar performance
  • being uncomfortable giving them constructive feedback – “they know more than me”
  • having the luxury of not giving any feedback and still meeting team goals

To Receiver concerns like:

  • my top performers don’t appear to want feedback and might not receive it well
  • fear that after delivering the feedback, their performance will decrease

While no universal approach exists that is effective, every time, for everyone, there are general guidelines to follow. Applying these rules to the concerns above will help decrease your reluctance.

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How To Stop Passive-Aggressive Behavior In The Workplace

Passive-aggressive behavior is one of the most destructive forces you will encounter in the workplace. It can destroy the teamwork you worked so hard to create. As the manager, you should address this quickly by setting new expectations for the team.

Rather than mandating the new expectations, get their buy-in to resolving differences among themselves in the following manner: In a team meeting say, “I’d like your input on how you prefer to resolve differences with each other. If a teammate has an issue with you or something you are doing, would you prefer:

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How Competition And Teamwork Are Compatible

Consider these two statements.

  1. We are a team, but you know what they say about team; there’s no I in team!
  2. If we are a team, and Sam Slacker is not doing his job, why do I have to do my job?

What do they have in common? Statement one partially created statement two in the workplace. From time to time business grabs hold of an idea they believe has great value and only later discovers that the idea was flawed and created things never intended. “We are a team” did that.

Unintended effect: Use the word we in place of I and you.
Revision: Use the words I, you and we appropriately to reinforce team and personal responsibility—i.e., “We are a team. I am here to help you. What are you going to do to assist your teammates and perform up to your potential?”

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Tips To Lead Your Team Through Change

Leading teams through change was a daily activity for managers in the heyday of corporate downsizing and restructuring. Leaders became change hardy accustomed to dealing with change. Those same skills are needed today, as change is back with a vengeance. Let’s review important change principles and terminology.

  • Change is something that happens in an instant, with a decision
  • Processing the change is called a transition and takes time
  • There are two transitions – personal and organizational
  • The two transitions occur simultaneously but are not always equally successful

While being the guiding light to support your team through their personal transitions, you also need to manage the team transition and your transition. It’s a tough position to be in, but that’s why you are in the leadership role.

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How A Challenging Employee Can Make You A Better Leader

Dear Leader, are your difficult folks driving you crazy? Do you have any bad apples that are wearing you out? You remember what they say about bad apples; one bad apple spoils the bunch. What they also say is that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

So, how do you turn your bad apples into lemonade?

If you find yourself tasked with managing a challenging person, you’re not alone; it’s very common. It’s also natural to wish you had a team of top performers, and to hope your bad apple magically improves or decides they would be happier somewhere else.

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