By 360′s I mean, 360° feedback systems for managers. Are people out there still using them? I know that this was one of the hot items of the 90′s that many employers implemented. I was tasked to implement one for our manufacturing organization when supervisor to team member ratios were about 30 to 1. Having 30 is tough for supervisors to effectively evaluate their employees.. Having a 360-degree feedback system gave them a better picture of what is happening when the supervisor was not around. Later on, the supervisor were being rated within the 360-degree tool as well. Like all hot at the time programs, this one only lasted a short time. There were many different reasons that the tool failed, but 360-degree feedback lived on.
One of the ways that it lived on, was managers felt that this was a pretty good way to get a clearer picture of what is happening. Getting additional feedback was a great way to expand the view of performance outside of just the managers eyes. Of course, that comes with the fears. Those being 360′d really don’t know what is being said. As a manager, I was impressed with the insight that many folks provided. Some of the insights were additional examples of what was demonstrated to me already. When the feedback seemed a bit out of character, I would get additional information and watch closer over time. A good manager can make a 360-degree feedback a powerful thing.
360-degree feedback can still be scary. I bet if you asked 10 people what they think about a 360-degree system for performance, 6 folks would tell you, “no thanks!” For me, I set up a few guidelines around 360 feedback that I used when I was getting reviewed. Every year when the dreaded performance review would come around, I would pass on my guidelines of proper 360 feedback receiving!
- Adjust your perception: Most people fear what is happening outside of their sphere of control. Getting feedback from folks anonymously is out of their control. I would stress that the feedback is the tool that I use to help me insure that their individual development plan is complete. I used to use my example of if everything is perfect, then I am just lucky. I learn more from my mistakes or faults. Sometimes I have a blind spot and need to have folks shine a light on it, before it will get better.
- Evaluate the feedback: This step to me is critical. If you have technology that gathers the feedback and offers up a report, great! Sit down with the person and let them look it over and provide your insights. For me, my system was more a simple email with questions asked that the feedback provider would just email back their thoughts and examples. I would then compile the information – as is.. Share with them the information. I would facilitate a session of what do you get from this feedback. Helping them to evaluate the feedback.
- Develop Improvement Plan: Part of a performance review that I liked to do was ask the employee to write their own rev 0 (after the 360-degree feedback was presented). This allowed the employee to take the feedback and look at the stuff that they truly felt was in need of developing. I would have their Rev 0, 360-degree feedback, my data and would write my Rev 1. We would sit down and discuss the overall Rev 1. The goal was to have a complete performance review in the end.
I believe that without the 360-degree feedback, the employee and manager are missing out on information. I don’t know of any manager that can be in all places, all the time. When the manager is normally around, the employee is usually on the best behavior or insuring that they are doing their best! We all know employees that manage their manager very well. Having different viewpoints is necessary. When I was receiving my 360 feedback, I used that information more for my development than just my manager. Treat it as powerful information!
There are many things that I have learned over the years that I have shared here and one on one. The one item that everyone always agrees on is if you measure it, it will get attention and get done. I was helping out an organization the other day and we were discussing that fact on some employee feedback that they received. The leadership team was struggling with the all of their measurable matrix were not to goal. Employee feedback were pointing that the goals are unrealistic. For me, the underlying problem that they were trying to address was the employee base felt like their was a disconnect between the workers and management. How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said that?
Throughout my career I have encountered that same feeling of disconnect. It was either with me and my upper management. Or the feedback was coming from my team to me. It happens to the best of us. There are times that everyone is too busy to be paying attention to the little things that really matter. Whatever the excuse is. All you need to do is listen and act. When I am faced with connecting (or reconnecting), I remind myself of those little items that matter.
My list of items that matter! My 3 S’s if you will.
- Stand up and own your mistakes. There are times that you will make a mistake. I have yet to meet that perfect person that has not made a mistake. How you react to the mistake will either have you lose credibility with your team or win them over. Yes, it takes a strong person to admit to their mistakes. Being vulnerable will make you strong.
- Share your time. I know we all think that we are busy. Your are their leader, you have to make your team a priority. Give of your time as much as possible. Time is what you make of it. I am not saying that you need to schedule “time” with your team. I am saying that you need to be approachable and available. Another term I liked to use is management by walking around. Get out of the office. Talk to you team (in the hall, their workstation, café, networking events and everywhere they are).
- Share your thoughts. Communication is key and sharing what you know (what you can) will go a long way to connecting to your team. Start a discussion or put out a topic that the team can really relate to. Once people start talking, they start connecting. Watching your team getting together and sharing will have a huge impact on the work.
When I first was leading my team, I was pretty good at getting amazing results. I wasn’t sure why? It took me sometime to understand that I was really connecting to them on a personal and team level. That connecting came easy to me. I wanted to connect, no matter what. It was just part of my DNA, so I just did it naturally. I really started to understand the workings, when I was given the opportunity to do something that I had no knowledge of. I was overwhelmed with learning the job and was a little slow on connecting to the team. I realized quickly, that I was not following my normal operating procedures. Reflecting back, made me hone in those 3 S’s…
, New To Management
, Leading Teams
, team dynamics
How many times have you been involved in team building exercises? When someone says we are going to do a team building activity, what are your first thoughts? For the most part, I bet everyone is thinking, here we go again… I have seen data that says about 65% or higher feel they are a waste of time and money. About 25% thought they are effective with the right exercise. For me, I lean towards team building activities can be effective if we put the right exercise with what the teams needs are…
You have to know what you want to accomplish, so that you can insure the right results. There are three major categories – see below.
- Recreational Team Building: Change the way people feel (to entertain, re-energize, socialize, teach and learn new skills)
- Educational Team Building: Change the way people feel and think (to gain awareness of needs, to add knowledge, to understand new ways to look at old or familiar concepts differently)
- Developmental Team Building: Change the way people feel, think, and behave (by increasing positive functional behavior, by improving interpersonal relationships)
We all know that there are struggles with team building. So, why do a lot of team building programs not work?
- Lack of reflection = this defeats awareness. Think back to your last team building exercise, do you all talk about what happened, what could have gone better, what you learned and how it can apply back at the office?
- The presence of resistance = if you go into the exercise with not wanting to do it - you are defeating intent. Going through the motions is not going to help you learn and grow.
- Roadblocks to moving forward = with any team building exercise, it all goes back to how everything applies back at the office. If there are roadblocks that exist to moving forward, you are not going to be successful.
Making team building effective is not easy. How can you make team building work for you.
- Spend time really evaluating your team for its level of teamwork and needs. Doing team building to put a check in your teams objectives is not going to work. If you can’t self assess your team, ask the team or ask your key customers what their impressions are.
- Pick the right activity for your assessment of what you want to work on.
- Set up the team with the what, who and why of team building… Make sure that your team is prepared to participate.
- Get someone to facilitate the activity. You should be in the activity with them, not looking over them.
- Reflect at the end.. Ask those open-ended questions, what happened, what could have been better, how does this apply back at the office and so on. Make sure to circle back on the what and why’s that you attempted to accomplish in the first place.
- Document and share the results. Always good to capture the reflections and share them with your team. Especially on those items that the team wants to take back to the office.
I have done a lot of team building over the years. Some where really good exercises with some really good results. Others were not so good. Team building should not be a “here we go again” first thought. Team building should be exciting and the team wants to do.
How many bad things have you encountered along the journey of life? Lose your job, get into a car accident, break-up with your partner or maybe just feel like whatever you touch goes wrong? It is part of life. I think everyone has had something happen that just did not go the way they had hoped or wanted. It all comes down to how you reacted to those situations. “Do you turn lemons into lemonade?”
There are many folks that come out of those life’s disasters with refreshed spirit to grown and flourish. How do they make that happen? Focusing on hope, faith and resilience to make the most of the worst of situations. Here are just a few ideas that I have used to help me make a bad situation better the next time around.
- Face the brutal truth and get creative: When things don’t go well you have to face the truth. Sit down and examine the ways. When you are at work and a project is failed, you do a post-mortem. Do a personal one. Be honest with yourself. Don’t pretend that nothing is wrong. Denial doesn’t help move forward. Once you recognize the problem, then you can focus on doing some creative problem solving. If you are a person that just does the same old thing for the same situation, it is doubtful that you will get a different result next time. Think outside of your normal solutions, get creative.
- Avoid guilt and shame: I know I have had my moments that didn’t feel proud of something I did. If you are like most folks, those memories are still stuck clearly in your head. Can’t dwell on the past, time to let it go. Mistakes happen and they are okay. Sometimes it is good to laugh at those mistakes and have a little bit of fun with them.
- Get and stay positive: Find your “happy” place… Having an optimistic outlook can definitely help keep your focus moving forward. Being positive is all the time is not easy. You will have moments when some negativity will creep in. Just make sure that the negativity is only there for a brief moment. Think of all of the totally negative nelly and nancy’s you know, do you really want to be one of them?
What helps you make the best of a bad situation? Please share some of your thoughts!
Workplace conflict is always a popular topic to discuss, but one that is sometimes is left untouched. I know people are making money teaching principles of dealing with workplace conflict. Fact – When people work together there will always be conflict. It is part of doing business. Fact – Conflict can not be avoided. It all centers on how you approach the conflict. From my over 30 years managing workplace teams, I have seen my share of conflicts and have developed my best known method of dealing with it. I want to share those thoughts and tactics with you.
From my experiences, there are many reasons for conflict but overall there are some primary causes that I want to point out.
- Poor Communication: There are many different communication styles which can lead to misunderstandings between employees or between employee and manager. Sometimes there is even a lack of communication which usually drives conflict “underground”.
- Different Values: The workplace is made up of individuals, each one of those individuals sees the world differently. We all come with our own set of core values. We all know we should values each ones differences, but… Conflict occurs when there is a lack of acceptance and/or understanding of these differences.
- Differing Interests or Agenda’s: The one agenda that everyone should follow is the organizations, but we are human and have our own as well. Conflict occurs when individual workers ‘fight’ for their personal goals, over the organizational goals and organizational well-being.
- Personality Clashes: All work environments are made up of differing personalities. Unless colleagues understand and accept each other’s approach to work and problem-solving, conflict will occur.
- Poor Performance: There will be one or more individuals within a team that are not performing – not working up to potential – and if this is not addressed, conflict is inevitable.
There are primary five ways to address workplace conflict:
- Avoidance: Hoping that conflict will go away.
- Collaboration: Working together to find a mutually beneficial solution.
- Compromise: Finding the middle ground.
- Competing: May the ”best” person win.
- Accommodation: Surrendering our own needs and wishes to please the other person.
For most, they would work towards collaboration or compromise to get a more successful working together relationship. The others really don’t solve the conflict in most cases they could easily escalate the situation further.
The goals is to get to a successful resolution of the conflict. From my experiences, you must make sure to do the following:
- Clearly articulate the causes of the conflict – openly acknowledging there will be differing perceptions of the problem(s).
- Make a clear statement of why you want the conflict resolved and reasons to work on conflict.
- Communication of how you want the conflict resolved.
- Address the issues face-to-face (notes, email correspondence, memos are not a productive way to resolve differences). If your team members do not happen to be in the same location, at the very least use video conferencing to make sure that everyone “sees” each other.
- Stick to the issues. Many times the discussion will get derailed to “other” items, name calling or someone else said. Watch closely for that and make sure to circle back to just way you all are here.
- Take time out if necessary. In the resolution of a conflict, emotions may interfere with arriving at that productive resolution. If this happens, take a time-out and resume resolving the conflict at another designated time.
Conflict will happen! Avoiding conflict is often the easiest way to deal with it. It does not however make it go away but rather pushes it underground, only to have it resurface in a new form. By actively resolving conflict when it occurs, you can create a more positive work environment for everyone.
Category: New To Management
, Leading Teams
, performance management
, team dynamics