Leadership and Management
When should I give my staff feedback on the work they do for me?
To some extent, it depends on the nature of the person doing the work. If the person is working on a project, you should ideally offer feedback at the midpoint and at the end of the project. You want to praise the person’s successes and efforts, yet you should also address areas of disappointment or concern. Keep your discussion of the issues specific and objective. Also, give less experienced people more feedback to build their confidence.
What really motivates people at work?
The answer differs for each person. The challenge for managers is to find the answer for each of his or her employees. Although most employees require that you meet a minimum threshold for the “basics” such as salary, benefits, and office space, the true motivators are most often things like achievement, recognition, and independence.
When delegating work, what are the mistakes people typically make?
A strong delegate describes the assignment clearly, puts it in perspective for the employee and helps the employee see personal benefits for getting involved. Many managers forget to consider the value proposition for the employee. What will he or she get out of the experience? Positioning the assignment in this way can help the employee feel motivated about completing the assignment, and doing it well.
I was just promoted and I’m now managing my former peers. What do I do?
You’ve probably built strong relationships during your tenure and you don’t want to damage those relationships now. Yet it’s more important to be fair than to be liked. We suggest you consider each person’s competencies and supervise accordingly. Thus you’ll be more involved when someone is learning a new skill, and you’ll begin to let go as that person becomes more proficient. The more flexible your management style, the more you will connect with your former peers.
How do I handle pushback when I give negative feedback?
Many people become defensive when receiving constructive criticism. Resist the urge to react in turn. To ensure a productive feedback meeting, you should give timely feedback, share concrete examples, and listen well. When you listen, nod slowly, use encouraging phrases, and respond in a low tone. These techniques will show your employees you care about them, and want to help them succeed.
I embarrassed my colleague when I publicly praised her at a big meeting. What did I do wrong?
When you want to motivate with praise, always consider the individual. Some people love the attention of a public announcement; others would rather crawl under a table. Just because you might like the attention does not mean all your employees feel the same way. A firm handshake and a heartfelt thank you may work better for someone who’d rather stay out of the spotlight.
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