Top 5 Tips to Motivate and Retain Talent

A Template for a Constructive Performance Assessment

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)

In this last offering of 2013, I am returning to the topic of performance assessment as many of you will be presently engaged in performance appraisals, whether as recipients or as managers. Frequently in the two capacities. Let me say this upfront: when it comes to the management of their performance, there is now ample evidence that staff members have shifted from being passive recipients to active agents. Indeed, it’s not just Gen Y – employees everywhere and of every generation expect more: more involvement, more accountability and more recognition. staff expectations

Indeed, a recent Gallup poll of over 1 million employees showed that the number one reason people quit their jobs is dissatisfaction with their immediate manager. Have you heard the saying "People leave managers not companies"? Well, we now have ample statistics to back up this statement. And so, for managers, enforcing performance standards in a command and control sort of way no longer works. Managers are now expected to provide ongoing feedback, including positive comments, and for their negative messages to be put forth in a constructive and balanced fashion with a view to guide and inspire, rather than to scold and then provide ready-made solutions.
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The Top 3 Tips to Showcase your Value

The Art of "Ethical Bragging"

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)

In this third and last article on feedback, let me shift my perspective from the manager’s and how to give helpful feedback to the recipient and how to receive feedback constructively as well as make sure that your accomplishments are properly appreciated and therefore rewarded. In order to ensure your achievements are known and valued, practice the art of "ethical bragging": put yourself forward without arrogance. Here’s how:

Tip #1: be specific too

For those among you who saw my article back in September on performing a self-assessment of your performance, you may recall that I encouraged you to first make a list all the tasks you had completed and then, in a second step, to review each by asking yourself "so what". The purpose of the "so what" question is to bring to light the benefits for your employer of what you accomplished.

(For more on performance self-assessment, click here).

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The Top 3 Mistakes Managers Make When Giving Feedback

The Pitfalls of Giving Feedback

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)

In this second article on feedback, I will dwell on a few core aspects of a successful performance appraisal discussion by mentioning what are in my view the top 3 mistakes feedback providers make. There are sadly more than 3 but getting those right will go a long way!

Mistake #1: sugar-coating negative feedback (or the ‘Oreo Cookie’ problem)

In the preceding article, I mentioned the importance of setting the scene. One way to get off to a good start is by making a positive comment even if the rest of the feedback is going to be negative. This is because even the poorest performer has some capability, a talent to celebrate. It shows the feedback recipient that the feedback provider is able to see performance from a multiplicity of angles. Otherwise the recipient could think that the provider is just out to get them and simply ignore the feedback.

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8 Steps to Giving Really Constructive Feedback

A Feedback Conversation Unpacked

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)


We are in the home stretch, ladies and gentlemen, with only 6 weeks left to Christmas. At the firms I worked at, by now, the annual performance appraisal process was in full gear so in my last three articles for 2011, I will focus on giving and receiving feedback.

In this first article, I will run through 8 key components of a successful feedback discussion. It isn’t just for managers. It’s for anyone for who find themselves on the receiving end of a feedback talk: if it’s not going well, these 8 steps will allow you to steer the conversation into a more constructive direction. And if you find you can’t steer, at least you will have the insight to understand what’s going on and react constructively.

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How ‘Bad’ is Your Boss?

How your Boss Affects You

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)


In this post, I am going to review four types of so-called ‘bad bosses’ and examine the consequences for you, their team member. There are more than four types – my own inventory currently lists 14 types! The point here is not to blame your boss for how ‘bad’ he/she is: it’s about understanding what makes your boss tick and what this means for you so you can find a solution to your boss problem.

Let’s start with a type that I am sure many of you have come across: the Control Freak. The term indicates a person who attempts to dictate how everything around them is done. But let me be clear that the Control Freak is not always a Micro-Manager (though they share traits), another ‘bad boss’ type which I won’t elaborate on here. The Control Freak has trust issues and that means they don’t delegate. The implication for you is that you don’t get as much new and/or interesting work as you should and your development is slowed down by a lack of opportunities. And if you don’t develop, you can’t progress in the firm. The Control Freak is also usually not great at communicating so you’re likely to feel isolated, out of the loop, because your boss does not tell you what going’s on. [Read more…]

What’s Wrong with your Boss?

Getting Along with the Most Important Person in your Work Life

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)

This month, I am sharing with you a four-part model which I have developed to help you look at your relationship with your boss. To repair it if it has soured. To improve it further. To create one in case you’re not really on your boss’s radar screen.

Will you soon be meeting with your line manager to discuss your midyear review? If so, I wonder whether you’re looking forward to this discussion or if you feel a bit of trepidation? Even if you don’t have a midyear review, managing your boss is a perennial issue: there is never a moment when your boss is not a relevant element in your work life. [Read more…]