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Tag Archives: Management Style

How should you provide personalized feedback to your employees?


Customized feedback

Everyone needs feedback in order to do their job effectively. What kind of feedback, and how often, that varies from person to person. Some managers think, if they keep on piling more feedback on their employees, then they would be successful at some point in time. But that is the wrong assumption. By following that approach, you might be unknowingly suffocating your folks, or giving them the impression that you are micro managing them.

As a manager, we need to tune in to the unique frequencies of each of the employee. Be observant, listen and remain alert for opportunities to give feedback, when they want/need it. One size doesn’t fit all. Base the frequency of your feedback on their tasks and responsibilities, their efficiency, their curiosity, and their working style.

Obviously, nothing will work out well in the first try. So, make sure to refine your approach regularly. Ask them for their feedback on your new process, and how it is working out for them. Make sure to ask very specific questions such as ….. Do you like to meet every week for our one-on-one session? Do we need to make this meeting shorter or longer? What kind of things would you like to discuss during this session? etc.

You should also make a note that every employee is different on how he/she consumes information. Thus, it would be a good idea to ask them about their preferred way of communication. Obviously, if your work is not getting done, then you can go to them directly to find your answers, after all you are their Boss. But if the work is getting done according your expectations, then you might want to give them some leeway on how you can provide them feedback. Some of the preferred methods would be …. e-mail, face-to-face conversation, a memo, or a telephone call.

No matter what kind of feedback mechanism you use, always make sure to note down your positive/negative feedback in a separate diary (or in OneNote/EverNote for you tech geeks out there). This approach will ensure that you can judge everyone fairly during your year-end review, and you don’t need to depend on only 2-3 month’s performance of your employees.

Do you have any other ideas through which you can provide personalized feedback to your employees?

Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

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Posted by on September 19, 2013 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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How to effectively deal with your Perfectionist Boss?


PerfectionistsHave you ever worked under a Perfectionist Manager? By perfectionist, I mean to say … Type-A personality. I am sure, if you have ever worked for a perfectionist boss, then one thing is for sure…..you must have noticed that they hold everyone to the higher standards, and they never get satisfied, no matter how much hard work you put in. Though this perception of Type-A personality boss is true, there are some ways through which you can make them happy. And hence, like my last blog post, I am going to provide you with some pointers through which you can make it easier to work with your perfection obsessed boss.

Respect their decisions: Actually, Type-A personality bosses are often right when they say their ideas are better. They are usually experienced and very knowledgeable on the topic (that’s my general observation). But when people are not allowed to give feedback, to try things their way, or to make mistakes, they can’t develop their potential. Therefore, even though Type-A bosses are good trainers, they don’t allow their employees the freedom to develop to the point where they can take over for the boss. And hence, you should take their criticism well and expect to learn from them. Have an open mind, when you present your ideas to them. Expect multiple revisions to your proposals by your boss. In this way, you can benefit from your manager’s experience while doing things your way.

Uncover all the assumptions: Perfectionist managers don’t ask for feedback from others because they don’t feel they need it; they already know what’s best (according to their perception of themselves). They tend to express their opinions freely on how things should be done, and what others are doing wrong, even when their advice may not be wanted. Thus, you should always ask questions to see what information the boss has assumed that you already know, and then determine whether the boss already has a “correct” solution in mind. While finding more information, use these questions that will appeal to your boss’s self-confidence and provide you more information… “We need your help.” “You’ve had a lot of experience in this, what do you think?” Let them feel in control, but get all the information that you need.

Earn their respect: It is very difficult for a perfectionist manager to delegate responsibilities. They want employees to do the work in a way that they themselves would do that work. Thus, it is critical to earn their respect in order to get your work done right. To earn their respect for your work, you should always respect Type-A personality traits. Try to be at work on time each day (consistently). Finish your projects on time. If you can’t finish your work on time, then involve your manager in the decision making process from the time when you encounter a big issue. In this way, your manager can be informed about the complexities of the issues that you might be encountering, and maybe, lower his/her expectations. Another thing you might want to do is to make your work look neat, well supported, and accurate. Review each stage of an assigned project face to face with the boss, so that his/her confidence level in your work increases over time.

I hope, this blog helps you in dealing with your perfectionist boss. Have you ever worked for a Perfectionist Boss before? If so, how did you deal with that situation? What other ideas can you give to my readers?

I will be waiting for your interactive comments. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2013 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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How to effectively deal with your Introvert Boss?


Introvert BossHave you ever worked under an Introvert Manager? In my opinion, managers should always be people person with soft skills, but that is not always the real life scenario. You must have seen (or experienced) multiple situations, where an introvert person is in the management role because of his/her experience with the subject knowledge, connections with the management, or something else. No matter what is the exact reason behind this, you might come across these kind of situations more often than you might think. Thus, in this blog post, I am going to provide you with some pointers on how to deal with your introvert boss effectively and respectably.

Don’t increase their insecurities: Introvert managers spend too much of their time and energy in safety seeking to keep from looking like fools, being blamed for something, or even losing their jobs. Thus, you should try not to put them on the spot. Asking their opinion in meetings does not make it easier for them to participate; instead, it increases their anxiety. So, you should always try to ask them their opinion in one-on-one settings, where they feel more comfortable. Don’t ask vague questions during this one-on-one sessions. You should rather ask specific instructions about how, what, when, and where; so that you don’t have to bug him/her multiple times about the same information. If possible, do some homework before you ask these specific questions. Go through some scenarios, where you can address all policy impacts of his/her decisions in the same meeting. This will limit your visit to his/her office, and it will get you all the information that you might need.

Take decisions by yourself: Introvert managers always attempt to remain safe by avoiding to make decisions by themselves. Thus, I would recommend you to take new initiatives by yourselves. And if needed, take important decisions by yourself, after talking to other employees and stakeholders. During this process, you need to make sure that you keep your manager notified (or informed) about these initiatives, so that he/she doesn’t consider you as a threat to his/her power. It is comparatively easy for an introvert manager to provide his/her opinion on some decision, rather than taking that decision by themselves. It would also help, if you can show him/her your decision process, and how you came to a given decision from all the other alternatives. In this way, you can increase your manager’s comfort level by providing him with pros and cons of all the other alternatives.

Don’t expect any feedback: Introvert Managers feel more comfortable working with things than with people. For example, they might do well working at restocking items or finding glitches in a software program. They will enjoy inventory control, ordering supplies, and detailed work but be less successful in dealing with employees and employee problems. Thus, they seek/provide little feedback and disclose little information. In fact, introvert managers not only feel uncomfortable around people, but they actually fear them. So, don’t expect any praise, guidance, criticism, or help from your introvert boss. You might have to provide these for yourself or ask your colleagues to do so. Due to the sheer nature of your boss, you might want to set up a 360 degree survey for your job performance. In this way, you will be getting true and real feedback from all the people you work for, and may be, this can help you in getting that next promotion, which you might not get, if your performance is only judge by your introvert manager.

I hope, this blog helps you in dealing with your introvert boss. Have you (or do you) worked for an Introvert Boss before? If so, how did you deal with that situation? What other ideas can you give to my readers?

I will be waiting for your interactive comments. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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Manager’s guide for a new manager: How to quickly learn the workings of your new team?


classic-booksOne of my friend headed the quality function at a medium-sized durable goods company. And once he got a job offer as a general manager in one of its largest plant, he jumped on the opportunity. After briefly examining the new plant, he declared it outdated and went on to rebuild it from ground up. But while doing this, he neglected the importance of understanding the current processes, and interpreted employee’s silence as agreement. No wonder, his idea was not accepted positively. And soon after the new plan was put in place, productivity plummeted and quality suffered.

In order for you to not repeat this mistake, you need to first try to learn the existing operations of the team, strengthen your relationships with the team members, and then try to make changes to the process. In this blog, I will provide you with few tips through which you can accelerate your learning process about the current processes/procedure of your team.

Ask your people: The simplest method to learn the workings of your new team is to ask your people. You would be surprised by knowing how much of the knowledge your new team has to share. Don’t be afraid of looking foolish, while asking very basic questions to your team. I would recommend you to ask these questions during your one-on-one session with your employees. In this way, you will still get the information that you need, without getting embarrassed in front of many people (if you ask any foolish questions).

Train yourself: Another method to quickly familiarize yourself with the existing processes of your new team is to treat yourself like a new employee. I would recommend you to have few days allocated solely to train yourself. During these days, you should work with your team as if you were a new employee joining the team, and tell them to run the show. By doing this, you will not only learn the existing processes of your team but you will also earn the trust of your team by showing them you care about them. Worst come worst, you will be in the position to define the training guide for the new employee joining your team.

Learn from documents: If I were you, I would invest some good amount of time going through all the documentation of the team before I ask someone. In this way, you can learn about the workings of your team without looking foolish in front of someone. This will also give you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the document standards of your new team, so that you can follow these standards while changing the documentation, if you choose to change the existing process.

I hope, this blog helps you to accelerate your learning process while understanding the workings of your newly acquired team. If you were in the similar situation like my friend, what would you have done?

Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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How to provide coaching to your front line managers?


Coaching your line managersIf you are a Director or a Sr. Manager, who is involved in managing the front line managers, then this blog is for you. I agree that senior management’s role is very crucial and busy, and maybe that’s the reason why you can’t allocate enough time to coach your front line managers. But avoiding coaching/mentoring your front line mangers will create disastrous situations in the future. Your front line managers require more coaching than any other employees in the organization, since they define the culture of your company. In this blog, I will provide you with few pointers to coach your frontline managers effectively.

  1. Provide them training: If you are super busy with your day-to-day activities, and if you are unable to provide coaching to your managers, then please take the benefit of some external trainings. Most of the bigger companies (employees 1000+) have these kind training classes established in-house for their front line managers. So, make sure that your managers go through these training opportunities. While internal training is crucial for every company, not every company can afford to have internal training programs. In this case, you can partner up with few consulting companies to provide similar training opportunities to your front line managers. While selecting those external training programs, make sure that those programs match your company’s culture and working style.
  2. Help them build a network: In a senior management role, you should always encourage your front line managers to network with the key people from your company. By doing this, their area of influence will increase and they will become more independent to do their work. Thus, you should always help them to broaden their exposure within the company by visiting different areas of the company with them, or by introducing them to the new people within your organization. Your work doesn’t get done after an introduction, you need to help them to find opportunities to represent their part of the organization to others. In this way, they can be encouraged to discuss strategic issues and share the information with other management personnel.
  3. Reinforce your culture: Line managers are the one, who will define the culture of your organization. After all, they work at the root level. And hence, it becomes very important to ensure that they are embedded in your organizational culture. In order to reinforce your values, you need to teach them to respect and promote diversity in all areas and jobs in the company (if your company is diverse). You might want to have the discussion during your one-on-one session on how their behavior makes a difference in the organization. Sometimes, it is very important for you to provide them with ongoing information about the people, culture, and history of the organization. Reinforcing these values frequently through your one-on-one sessions or your interactions with them will ensure their growth with the company.
  4. Encourage them: I know, this sounds very simple, but this is very crucial part of the coaching. You need to help your line managers to learn how to deal with and manage ambiguity. Being in the senior leadership role, we always expect our line managers to get everything right. But that may not be the case always. And hence, you need to embrace their failure and provide them encouragement during those situations. I am not telling you to agree with their failures all the time, but have the behavior where they can come to you if they failed. You should also encourage them in their efforts to sponsor and develop potential leaders in the organization. After all, it will help your organization to become better. And yeah! When appropriate, offer feedback, support, and “push back”.

I hope, these tips will help you to better coach your front line managers in your team. So, what would you do to coach your front line managers in your team?

Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2013 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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How to manage your Chinese employees effectively?


Chinese employees working in a manufacturing plantMy first real exposure to China and Chinese employees was in the early 2009, when my company decided to open its research and development center in Beijing, China; and put me in charge of newly developing system automation team in China. Since then, I have worked with Chinese employees extensively, either it’s at my current job or at some of the smaller companies that I have consulted over the years. Though I am still in the process of learning more about the Chinese culture, one thing is clear, the leadership style of the Western Countries is not effective when you work with Chinese employees. Thus, in this blog post, I would provide you with some insight on how to effectively lead your Chinese employees.

Management style: In developed countries like the United States, we provide opportunities to our employees to resolve problems/issues by themselves. While this kind of strategy (delegate and disappear) is very effective in developed countries, it doesn’t work well with Chinese employees. Chinese people are very traditional, they respect authority and are introverts in some cases. So, they will depend on you to take critical decisions of the project that you have assigned to them. In order to work better with them, you might want to …….(1) Stop by their desk or video conference them at least 1-2 times a day, and ask for blocking issues with their projects ……….(2) Have frequent team meetings to go over critical issues …….(3) Make their introductions to all of the stakeholders of the project, so that they can feel comfortable going to them directly instead of coming to you for smaller issues ………(4) Develop personal relationships with them. Strong relationships can help you go a long way.

Obtaining Information: Similar to adjusting your management style, you might need to change the way you communicate. Let’s say, if you are trying to get some information from a Chinese manager, and if this is your first time communicating with him, then you might want to utilize your contacts at similar levels in the organization to get that information. In most of the cases, information may not flow downward through the hierarchy as easily as one might expect, when the culture of the company is less hierarchical. In order to get the correct information on the right time, you might want to cultivate your informal contacts within your Chinese branch. And yeah! Always make sure to rephrase your understanding of the issue/solution, once you get the desired information. This practice will ensure that you are on the same page with your Chinese counterparts. Sometimes, language barrier can create various problems.

Presenting Information: Chinese culture is very status-oriented. Let’s say, you are a manager in the US company, who manages the offshore team of 10-12 Chinese employees. Now, assume that you want to change your current process. I bet you……when you will present your new plan to these employees, you will get very minimal or no feedback. Due to their status-oriented culture, there may be less feedback from the audience during a presentation than one might expect in a more equality-focused culture. And hence, I would recommend you to give them the opportunity to provide their feedback later through an e-mail or an anonymous forum. In most of the cases, they feel very comfortable in providing their feedback to their superior in a private setting as compared to a public setting.

I hope, these tips can help you to become a better manger, when you are working with a Chinese team. What other changes would you make in your management style, while working with Chinese employees?

Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 

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