Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for October, 2007

Tidbit for performance feedback conversations—You first

Here’s a tidbit that can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of a feedback conversation. 9 times out of 10, individuals are quite aware of their strengths as well as their challenges. So, if you were to enter a development conversation probing, versus telling, you might engage the person in a meaningful conversation versus an uncomfortable confrontation. Before providing your perspective, first ask the individuals you’re evaluating where they feel they’re succeeding, where they feel they may be falling short or getting stuck, and what they might do differently, given the opportunity in the future. You may only need to agree (or perhaps add one or two items) before helping them to fine tune action plans (don’t forget target dates) for continuous improvement. Remember to ask how you might specifically offer your support, and agree on some action on your part as well.

The organization behind the reception area

Being in business for as long as I have, you can imagine how many reception areas I’ve waited in. Based on my observations and experiences, and certainly my own values, I’ve developed a few opinions relating to first impressions of the organization behind the reception area. I offer these tidits because it may generate some small attention to detail that may enhance your visitors’ first impressions of your organization.
—I sense a healthy level of morale and ownership in an organization when passing employees smile and say hello to me, or ask me if I’ve been helped, as I’m waiting in a lobby.
—Dust on furniture or pictures in a lobby takes away from the polish of an organization.
—A whispering receptionist raises doubt about trust and/or discretion among employees.
—Updated business magazines and publications on a table in a reception area, makes me feel like someone is paying attention.
—A warm and professional receptionist, or a distant and curt one, demonstrates an organization’s professional standards.
By the way, to all of the welcoming and professional receptionists I’ve met and worked with over the years, your hospitality is always appreciated!

Maintaining the esteem of your employees

I believe one of the most powerful behaviors you can demonstrate as a leader is maintaining the esteem of your employees, whether you are pleased or disappointed with their performance—whether you are talking directly with them, or with someone else about them.