Are You Covering Up For Weak Performance?

Some managers fall into the trap of stepping in and bailing out their lower performing employees. If certain staff members are not doing their jobs satisfactorily, a knee-jerk reaction is to jump in and do it yourself.

This isn’t a good idea. Not only do people not want to be micromanaged, snatching work from them (because you’ll meet the deadline or think you can do it better) is demoralizing. Over time, they will think, “Why bother? The work will never be good enough for my boss and she’ll just do it anyway.”

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Let Go to Grow

Jonas hired a mid-level manager, Ethan, a few months ago. Since then, he has done virtually nothing to support Ethan’s onboarding and growth in the company. The excuses range from “he’s not ready” to “clients expect my level of expertise” to “he has to earn respect”.

All these excuses are ridiculous.

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Next Level Leaders – Delegation and Feedback

New leaders are challenged by delegating and providing feedback to the people who report to them. The sooner these managers get comfortable with these skills, the more effective they will be.

When you start working with new direct reports, one of the most effective things you can do is reach an understanding on communication. Do you want the person to talk to you? Email? Text? How often do you expect check-ins? Having clarity over these issues will set the stage for your expectations.

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Next Level Leaders – Managing Former Peers

When many next level leaders are promoted, they find themselves managing people who were previously their peers. This can be awkward in some cases, but when you approach it proactively, it doesn’t have to be.

Just because you’ve been promoted doesn’t mean that you’re superior to your former peers. They are still the talented individuals they were when you worked side by side. Their concern is likely that you will treat them differently, and may even fear that you will no longer treat them with respect.

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Next Level Leaders – Managing Time and Priorities, 1

You’re newly promoted into your new managerial role. Frankly, everything is new, from your overall responsibilities to a new boss to people reporting to you. You knew how to balance tasks in the old job, but now there are many different moving parts.

How you manage time and balance priorities is one of the biggest initial challenges. Part of this is because your time isn’t your own anymore. Your direct reports want and need your attention, and, in many situations, these are different people than your previous colleagues.

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Next Level Leaders

Executives often promote their best “doers” (e.g., accountant, technician, designer, etc.) into management roles with high and eager expectations. The challenge with this is that what makes people great in their doer roles rarely make them competent for management jobs.

At a minimum, to make a promotion successful, the newly minted managers need to learn about the roles that they’re stepping into and what skills are necessary to be effective in management.

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Why Do I Need To Adapt?

One of my executive clients asked me – with some exasperation – why he had to adapt his style to communicate more effectively with his employees.

I share this story because this person is intelligent, passionate, and goal driven. But he has an abrupt demeanor, and his acerbic delivery puts off many of the people who work for him. We’ve worked on this issue of effective communication for months, but he doesn’t consider this a priority.

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Recognition vs. Favoritism

Leaders who overtly exercise favoritism make the “chosen” people feel good but often at the expense of diminishing others. Of course, it is appropriate to recognize people who do excellent work, but that recognition should not be at the expense of making other employees feel “less than”.

Our employees are human and are pleased or flattered to receive recognition, whether private or public. When public acknowledgement primarily focuses on favored employees, however, resentment can ensue.

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Take Steps, Not Leaps

Can you motivate an employee whose performance is lackluster? The answer is imbedded in the distinction between motivation and inspiration: we can inspire the people who work with us, but motivation needs to come from within.

Leaders can be especially frustrated when they haven’t been able to inspire employees to perform at a higher level. One client suggested that an employee’s work was about a B- level and he was trying to raise it to an A. This is a worthy goal, but is it attainable?

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