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Leadership

3 Tips for Leaders: How to Improve Your Feedback

When was the last time you gave constructive feedback to one of your employees? Have you ever felt like you’re reaching out to them with your words of encouragement? Did they change their work and behavior after listening to you?

Ah, that feedback. It’s one of your main responsibilities as a leader. You have to provide it, so your employees will understand their strengths and weaknesses, and they will get better at what they do. It’s a pressuring responsibility, though.

  • When you need to give credit for a job well done, you don’t want your feedback to lead to extreme self-confidence and arrogance.
  • When criticism is on the menu, you must take care with the way you express it. Instead of making an employee feel bad, you need to inspire them to get better.

Where’s the balance? How can you improve the feedback you give? Try something like this:

 

1.Clarify your purpose.

 

You invite an employee to your office. They may come with a smile on their face, but you know they are tense. They don’t know what to expect, so they are getting more and more stressed as you carry on with your long introduction.

Why are you giving feedback?

 

Instead of introducing them to the feedback with something like…

“So, about the last project we did… You were in charge of public relations, and your responsibilities involved marketing and social media management.”

…Okay, okay, cut to the chase. They know what their responsibilities were, and they know what they did. Start with something like this:

“I called you in to talk about the job you did on this project. The point is for both of us to understand the strengths and weaknesses, and do something even better in future…”

Be clear on the goal of feedback, and always state it right from the start. It’s always about bringing changes and improvements in the worker’s behavior.

 

2. Hear them out

 

What’s the worst thing you could expect from an employee who gets feedback? Defensive attitude. People value their own work. If you criticize it, they will try to defend it. The person will either try to explain their point of view, or they will act like they are listening to you, but you’ll keep seeing the anger in their face.

If your employee has something to say, hear them out. Maybe the situation was different from the way you perceive it. Maybe this person sitting in front of you wasn’t fully responsible for the mistakes. Maybe they had good intentions, so you’ll both have to discover what went wrong.

If they are not talking, but you can notice the defensive attitude on their face, ask: “Do you agree we can do things differently? Do you think my suggestions are okay? What do you suggest as a solution?”

Remember: feedback is not a one-way presentation of opinions. It has to come in the form of a conversation.

 

3. Timing is everything!

 

“I don’t like the job you did with this project. You made the same mistakes last time.”

Wait, what? Why didn’t you tell them last time? Remember: the sooner you give your feedback, the better for everyone. First of all, your employees don’t like waiting for hours or days just to find out what you think about the work they did. Untimely feedback is a great problem that leads to ineffective leadership.

Give feedback as frequently as possible. You don’t have to invite employees into your office each time, but you can give brief, clear statements that will serve as affirmation, criticism, or guidelines. When you value their performance on an ongoing basis, they will do a better job.

 

Clear, timely feedback that leaves space for two-way conversation – that’s the recipe for success. Here are the most important takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Provide very specific feedback and always explain why the employee needs to make changes in their behavior. Clarify the goal!
  • Get their opinion. If they don’t agree with your feedback, hear them out.
  • Your feedback should closely tie to the behavior in question. It’s more powerful when you provide it as soon as possible.

Now, take a deep breath. Are you ready to give some feedback today?

 

Written By Julie Peterson

4 Tips Managers Should Adopt to Relate to Millennials

There are few greater challenges for modern companies than managing the current dynamic of generations within the workplace.

In the past, many companies did not have to worry about major generational conflict at work: seniority and experience reigned supreme, while newer employees entered the pipeline, worked their way up, and were then rewarded with higher positions, pay, benefits and perks.

The Younger Generation will Comprise 75% of the U.S. Workforce in 15 Years

 

My, what a difference a few decades make!

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, millennials have become the largest generation in today’s U.S. workforce and are projected to comprise about 75 percent in just 15 years.

Not only are millennials a massive cohort, they also have very different ideas about how and why they work when compared to earlier generations.

Despite their rapid movement toward retirement — within the next decade, a majority of Baby Boomers will be of retirement age — boomers still hold a large percentage of leadership positions, especially in more “traditional” industries (i.e. manufacturing, utility and power, government, etc.).

So, how can more senior managers and leaders relate to and draw the most out of their younger employees? Here are 4 tips for relating to this young generation:

 

1. Don’t be a boss, be a coach.

 

Like many of my peers, I was introduced to league- and team-based sports early in my life and participated in them religiously. Thinking back, I can still remember every coach I had and their impact on my performance and attitude.The good ones pulled performance out of me, were encouraging but firm, tough but fair, and provided guidance about how to do the “job” well. Because of their influence, I learned to love the sports they coached.The bad ones, however, played favorites, dismissed questions or concerns, didn’t listen, and were arrogant or hateful, and my perception of the sport was diminished.

The No. 1 reason a millennial will leave their job is due to a bad manager. If companies want to reduce their turnover costs and retain millennial talent, managers need to be coaches — not bosses.

 

2. Set your values and live by them.

 

Millennials have a strong inclination toward aligning justice and fairness across the various aspects of their lives. They want their work to be meaningful and make a difference — and to not just collect a paycheck every two weeks.

There is little forgiveness for companies that act unethically or hypocritically. Not only are they likely to lose their millennial talent, but their brand might also be blasted across social media and be publicly shamed.

If companies don’t have their values in order, or they haven’t communicated them to their employees, there’s no time like the present. If such corporate values are already in place, for the love of God live by them! Hypocrisy is an extremely toxic corporate value for millennials.

 

3. Create opportunities for development

 

The average tenure for millennials in any one job is two years. Yep, you read that right — that millennial employee you just spent a lot of resources to hire at the beginning of last year might not be with your company for the holiday party this year. Why are they leaving?

One of the primary reasons millennials decide to pack up and leave is because they don’t believe they are receiving any personal benefit or growth. Millennials have grown up in an era of instant access to information, leading them to become more efficient in problem solving, decision-making and critical thinking.

Work with this generation to make a development plan for their job that includes continuing education, progressive job training and coaching. This type of development provides them more responsibility and will allow them to move up the proverbial corporate leadership ladder.

 

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

 

From my experience, if there is one key concept for working well with millennials, it’s communication. My generation is used to instant communication in almost every facet of our lives, from parents, teachers, coaches and peers, so it makes sense that we would expect the same from our managers.

However, this is a big shift for a lot of managers. Whereas older generations would only receive feedback during annual performance reviews, millennials want to receive feedback much more regularly. It’s not just the frequency of communication, but also the content. Millennials want to know if their performance may be suffering, as well as when they are succeeding.

Moreover, they want to be included in brainstorming about how the job could be improved, provide new ideas for productivity or efficiency, and learn how their role fits within the organization. Think about your communication. If you believe you’re communicating too little, you most likely are not meeting the mark!

 

Maximize Your Resources!

 

If you follow these four tips, you will be well on your way to maximizing your millennial workforce.

Take this to heart: Millennial workers, if managed properly, can be your most productive, innovative and motivated employees yet! Once they feel invested in, the sky is the limit.

 

Written By Tyler Howell

How to Build a High Performing Team for the Future

A future high performing team will be more diverse than ever and so will be the makeup of those teams. According to Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers say a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers. Diversity comes from many different perspectives, including gender, generation, race, workforce type and the way a team functions.

So what will teams look like in ten years? Here are five trends we predict based on what’s happening in the workplace within the past few years.

 

Trend 1: Global workforce is still in

According to American Sociological Review, companies reporting the highest levels of racial diversity in their organizations bring in nearly 15 times more sales revenue than those with lowest levels. With the trend of globalization, international talents mobility continues. By 2065, no racial or ethnic group will be a majority and therefore there will be no US corporations that have employees consisting of a single race.

We can expect that there will be more culturally diverse teams in the workplace in the future.

Question for employers: How can you offer intercultural communication training and support for your team members?

 

Trend 2: Multi-team is rising

Employee retention is going away. Today, more individuals are hiring companies to fulfill their dreams and teach them specific skills rather than a company hiring employees and trying to retain them permanently. As a result, it’s not uncommon for employees to function in a “micro career mode,” which develops their skills while performing in their current positions in order to prepare for their next career move.

What we need to watch for in the future workplace is more project-based and less department-based teams.

Question for employers: How can you provide your employees opportunities to work on different projects that leverage their talents and passions?

Trend 3: Generation Z in workplace

2017 will mark the first full year that Generation Z will be settling into the workplace, with a new mindset on business and new expectations on their optimal work environment. Just as Millennials brought a new dynamic to the workplace when they entered the workforce, Gen Z is now adding another layer of complexity to cross-generational communication. While Gen Z will bring new insights and perspectives into the workplace, be aware they will also bring some challenges and new modes of thinking into the workplace.

Question for employers: How might you develop a balanced team consisting of members of Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers?

 

Trend 3: Blended workforce type

Multiple studies from Intuit to The Freelancer’s Union predict that at least 40% of the workforce will be freelancers in the next few years. The rising number of freelancers indicates that more companies are outsourcing services to maximize their resources. At the same time, more individuals are pursuing micro-careers. This combination will lead to teams with a blended workforce.

You will notice more part-time employees, freelancers, contractors and agencies will be working side-by-side with full-time employees.

Question for employers: How might you provide the flexibility and a work-life balance for your talent?

 

Trend 4: Team over individual performance

The function of our jobs is no longer singularly task based. More than ever, we are relying on each other to move the organizational goals forward. According to ATD (Association for Talent Development), one of the biggest challenges for managers is how to motivate a team to a more clearly defined goal. Based on Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends, 88% of this year’s respondents across the globe rated building the organization of the future as a very important issue as networks and ecosystems replace organizational hierarchies.

This shift reinforces the trend that teams will become more collaborative and team performance will be weighted higher than individual performance.

Question for employers: How can you build a perfect team that can deliver high performance while working well together?

With these five trends, employers might need to upgrade their talent management strategy. Ensuring alignment of the whole team is more and more critical than recruiting and retaining a few rock stars. What’s your talent strategy regarding creating a high potential team?

 

Written By Kefei Wang