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Tag Archives: Personal Development

Why do we refrain from taking or giving feedbacks to our peers?


FeedbackAs a manager (or a leader), we should continually be looking for feedback from our peers and employees, and try to improve ourselves. After all, management is more about listening than doing, isn’t it? Even though you would like to improve yourself from these feedbacks, they are hard to come by. So, before we find out a better way to get feedback from our peers, we need to find out basic reasons due to which people feel uncomfortable taking (or giving) their honest feedback.

It emphasizes inferiorities: Honest feedback can sometime make people feel psychologically attacked. Even the most experienced manager or employee can become defensive when feedback seems negative. Take this for an example…Recently, I had to deal with a situation where one of my employee was struggling with time management, so I recommended him to take some time management training. Even though he is a top performer in my team, he was offended by hearing that I was disappointed with his performance. Instead of seeing this feedback as the opportunity to learn something new, he saw it as a personal attack instead.

Don’t know what to ask: Some people misunderstand feedback as the sign of poor communication. To those kind of people, feedback indicates that the message was not communicated very well, and hence, there is a necessity for feedback to get on the same page again. Often people are either so confused that they don’t know what to ask or so confident of their understanding that they ignore the need for any kind of verification. Thus, people refrain to ask for any kind of feedback, after all, no one wants to admit that they didn’t understand anything properly.

It is time consuming: No matter what kind of feedback you are seeking, verbal or written, it is always going to be time consuming task. Then it maybe at the meeting or through an e-mail, you need to make sure that you ask the right question, and get the honest response. Unfortunately, most of the managers won’t take the time to make sure that everyone is on the same page by asking for their feedback; instead, they will prefer to redo their tasks that should have been accomplished correctly the first time. Maybe they are used to this practice of dictatorship, or maybe they are afraid to put in the required time to ask the right question.

People are afraid: If you work in a developed Nation like US, UK, or Canada, you don’t want to admit that you are afraid of your Boss/Manager. But inherently we all respect the authorities of our Boss, and we are kind of afraid of their authorities as well. Even though we are taught to speak up our mind, we sometimes refrain from providing true feedback to our managers by being afraid of the consequences that it might have in the future. Is that not true? There is nothing wrong with this behavior. From our childhood we are taught to respect authority, then it maybe the authority of our parents or our teachers.

Can you find any other reasons due to which people refrain from giving their honest feedback to others? If so, please share it here, I would love to hear your take on this. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

 
 

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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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How to demonstrate your value to your new Manager?


Have you ever felt that your Manager doesn’t know your value in the team? Have you ever been in a situation, where you think that you are exceeding your goals, while your performance review says something else? If you ask me, these are very common situations in professional world. I only manage 10-12 people at this time, but it becomes harder to provide personal attention to everyone in the team. So, imagine if you were to manager more than 20 people. It becomes next to impossible to provide personal attention to everyone.

I guess, my colleague (let’s call her Mrs. X) encountered a similar situation. Mrs. X came to me the other day, and told me that her new manager rated her performance really badly. I saw her past performance reviews, and they were all saying that she was above average employee in all of them. So, what happened so suddenly? Well, in her case…..she got a new Manager just few months back. And he might not have knew her potential yet.

If you were Mrs. X, what would you have done? Before I hear your answers, I would like to share my advice that I have given to her.

Meet with your Manager: If I were Mrs. X, I would have met with my Manager immediately and I would have discussed my performance review with him directly. If possible, ask your Manager if your Ex-Manager can be in this meeting too. If he allows your Ex-Manager to be in the meeting, then you can strengthen your case by getting his feedback to make your case even stronger. Make sure to give some background to your Ex-Manager before he comes to this meeting, so that he can come prepared.

Prepare your case before the meeting: Please don’t show up in that meeting without any preparation. This will look really bad on your side. So, please do a favor to yourself and prepare your case.

  • Make a list of all the accomplishments that you have done this year.
  • Highlight some of the biggest achievements that you have accomplished during the year.
  • Make sure to take your older performance reviews from HR and bring it to the meeting.
  • Jot down few points explaining why you think that you are above average employee.

Suggest some possible solutions: You can’t be right all the time. Let’s say, there is a huge conflict between your perception and his perception of your work. In this situation, rather than getting mad at your Boss, you should try to suggest some solutions. This will demonstrate to your Manager that he can trust you on taking initiative and understanding his point of view. You can start your conversation by saying “What I can do is…….we can work together to create some SMART goals for me, and let’s monitor my performance through that. In that way, we will both have shared accountability, and I will have some measurable outcome against which I can measure my performance. Also, we can arrange one-on-one periodically to go over my performance, so that we can track my progress in a better way.”

I hope these tips will help you to prove yourself in front of your new Manager. Let me know, if you have any other ideas through which you can demonstrate your value to your new Manager. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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Make your one-on-one with your Manager work for you


Different companies have different philosophies of Management. No matter which philosophy is followed by your company, your one-on-one meeting/interaction with your Manager will always remain crucial. Like any other meeting, if you are not well prepared for one-on-one interaction with your Manager, then you won’t get much value out of it. Over several years, I was able to make a comprehensive list of things that you must discuss with your Manager in your next one-on-one meeting.

Current work progress and areas of improvement: Sometimes due to a large group of people reporting to one manager, he/she can’t provide attention to everyone. Thus, take this opportunity to inform your manager about your current work progress. Make sure to communicate current status of your project and any issues that you might be facing. And yeah! Don’t forget to publicize your achievements. We are all humans, and we tend to forget things over time. So, make sure to remind your manager about your value in the company.

Talk about your future goals: My primary focus of one-on-one with my employees is to have a two way communication. I want to know, what I can provide to my employees to make their life easier at work and make them more productive. Thus, I always get impressed by those employees, who acknowledge their weaknesses and have a plan to diminish them. This approach might end up helping you. For example: I used to work with a very talented person. He was a team lead, very technical savvy, but slightly shy in her personality. When he talked to his Boss regarding his weakness and proposed few personality development classes for his improvement, his manager agreed to his plan immediately and paid for his entire program. This might happen to you too. Thus, make sure to communicate your goals with your managers.

Talk about your personal life: Most of the people believe that you should not discuss your personal life with your manager. I don’t agree with that. Of course, you don’t want to bore your manager/boss with your personal life problems, but you should not be afraid of talking about your hobbies and personal life achievements. You never know, your boss might like similar things as you do. And maybe you will end up finding something common between you and your manager, which will help you in the future to establish a positive relationship with him.

Provide feedback: This is one of the best opportunity to provide feedback about your co-workers, lead or manager himself. I like to provide positive as well as negative feedback about my coworkers to my manager. If you are not comfortable with negative feedback then its ok. But you should still provide positive feedback about your coworkers. This will not only make them look good, but it will show your manager that you are a team player and you value your coworker’s opinions. And depending on your relationship with your manager, you should also provide feedback for him. This will help you build trust relationship with your manager.

I hope these tips help you in making the best use of your one-on-one meeting with your Manager. If you know any other ways to make your one-on-one meeting more interesting then feel free to share it with me. I am always looking for people’s feedback to improve my knowledge. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2011 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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