annaulreviewSometimes, employees can feel like they are shooting in the dark – or blind folded – and not able to truly see or understand what is expected of them.  This time of year, managers across organizations are beginning to prepare performance reviews for people on their teams.  If, as a leader, you have consistently given feedback to those you work with, then the review process is very easy and can be something both parties look forward to.  If you are the type of manger that can’t “find the time” to talk to your team members to give constructive feedback, or you feel uncomfortable having a “difficult conversation”, then this time of year can be very painful and one that you find yourself avoiding.

Through the years of coaching, I have worked with many leaders and managers coaching them on how to have a strong performance review conversation with members on their team.  Most are unsettled and unsure how to share their observations in a constructive way.  Today’s millennium workforce wants constructive feedback; however, many are hesitant to ask for it and many managers avoid it, so you can see why a large number of employees might feel like they are throwing darts in the dark.dart

Here are some easy ways to prepare for a powerful performance review that embraces coaching skills and all employees will appreciate this fresh approach.

Set up a specific time when you will be delivering the review. Make an appointment where there will be no distractions.  This shows respect for the people on your team and their time.

Ask your team member to reflect on the last year and to come to the meeting with the following:

Their greatest achievements

What they want coaching on to improve

What new goals they have for the year

Consider the person you are talking to – what is their interpersonal style?

Driver – deliver the bottom line

Expressive – let them know that you have seen what they have accomplished

Amiable – let them know how they have supported the team

Analytic – tell them the specific results they have achieved in the last year

Approach the review process as a Coach.  Recognize that everyone wants to improve at some level.  How have you set up the game?  Do the people on your team understand the company’s strategic goals and how their roles influence achieving these goals? This is a great starting point.

Ask more questions and listen. Respond by letting them know you hear what they are saying, not just waiting to tell them what you want them to know.

ticketTake time to cover their performance review.  Spend more time at the end asking them what they want coaching on.

Lay out a plan on how you will work together to coach them in the areas they want more responsibility or skill development.

Begin to manage your time in the year ahead to have informal sessions, checking in or time spent mentoring.

Next year will go a LOT easier.

Warmest wishes, Barbara


Calling all Nerds! Yes, You!

Ever go to a meeting with a group of people you do not know and wanting to be your best self?  Of course; we always want to show our best side, but what happens when we feel insecure or not in control?  Perhaps we have been stressed with personal situations at home – things that we are working to cope with.  When this occurs, usually our Nerd will show up.

nerd300Who is your Nerd you might ask?  Well, it is the perfectly created behavior that lets the world know you are in control, confident and secure – while inside you feel just the opposite.  Think of it like your Super Hero Suit.  No one can “get” to you when you have it on and you have spent most of your life keeping your Nerd Suit in great shape.

The problem is that most of us don’t always know when we are wearing it.  It just magically come over us when we have these emotions of not feeling in control or liked.  When what we really want is approval and the feeling of confidence.  Others can see it very clearly – and many times people react negatively to us when we are being our most Nerdy self.

I remember when I first discovered this about myself many years ago. I was given some powerful feedback when I was really into my Nerdiness. Of course I resisted the feedback.  I wanted to explain why I was reacting the way that I was.  But when I really took the time to understand it – and not judge it – then I was able to accept that this way of behaving in challenging situations was really my way of protecting myself from not feeling adequate or not feeling that I had personal power.BeSelf300

Instead of resisting our Nerd, you can benefit by embracing that part of you that shows up in these situations. Of course, once you realize that you are being a NERD, then you can begin to shift and remind yourself that it doesn’t matter what people say about you as long as you really know who you are.  The more we embrace ourselves and the unique person we are, the less we will want to put on our Nerd suit and pretend we are someone else. The bottom line is we will always have times that we are a Nerd – learn to laugh at yourself when this occurs- it really can be funny to see yourself in this way.

Warmest wishes, Barbara