It's nearing the end of the year, which is also the time to conduct performance reviews.
In case you are on the receiving end of a performance review, and for some reasons your boss is not exactly excited about your performance this year, here are some practical tips on how you can become the employee that bosses love to work with.
And no. We don't advocate sucking up. After all, if you work for a good boss, good bosses hate flattery and sucking up from their team members. While there are aspects that you can improve your interactions with your boss on a personal level, there are also equally important aspects that you will need to address at a business or organisation level.
Hence, this month's topics:
This issue's main article is on "How to Become the Employee that Bosses Love to Work With? (without sucking up to them)", and we like to draw your attention on some of the issues that bosses care most about, and how you can help your boss achieve those. If you also happen to be a boss too, here are some suggestions that you can give your staff so that they could work better with you.
How to Become the Employee that Bosses Love to Work With? (without sucking up to them)
by c.j. Ng
When Malcolm first joined his new company 3 months ago, he had regard this new position as a great opportunity to realise his full potential. The company was well-known for launching highly entertaining and imaginative cartoons and stories that entertain audiences young and old globally.
However, a few months into his job, Malcolm realised that this wasn't the case for him. Not at least under his boss.
Instead of allowing Malcolm a free hand in creating new story and cartoon characters. Malcolm's boss gave very mundane and detailed work to Malcolm. Not only did Malcolm dislike the work he has been given, meticulousness wasn't one of Malcolm's strengths, and as a result there were a lot of mistakes in his work.
Being a stickler to details, Malcolm's boss was quite upset with the mistakes that Malcolm made, and with the increasing amount of work given to Malcolm, the more mistakes he made, and the angrier the boss got.
In addition, whenever Malcolm went to his boss to share a creative idea, the boss would either shoot the idea down, or made sarcastic remarks that Malcolm hadn't even pass through "kindergarten" in their department and hence was not worthy to contribute ideas.
While Malcolm saw the potential that his company could give, his boss was making him feel like quitting every single day. Malcolm was committed to do a good job, and no matter how hard he tried, it seemed futile.
(Note: Case study inspired by John Lasseter, whose first job was with The Walt Disney Company, where he became an animator. He was fired from Disney for promoting computer animation, and joined Lucasfilm Computer Graphics, later renamed the Pixar Graphics Group. When Disney purchased Pixar in April 2006, and Lasseter was named chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios)
Understanding Your Boss' Priorities
While it may be true that in the above case, Malcolm and his boss had mismatching work styles which led to an unproductive work relationship, Malcolm could have improved the situation IF he had understood the priorities of his boss.
In short, there are 2 types of priorities that a boss or any decision maker in an organisation could have: official/ business and personal priorities.
It will be rather easy to list the official or business priorities. These are either the goals or strategies that the organisation or the boss' boss wanted the boss to achieve, and could include:
It should also be known that the boss' priorities could seem to run against the corporate culture of the organisation, especially when the organisation is restructuring or re-strategising to move in a different direction.
In terms of personal priorities, typical bosses are thinking:
Hence. it can be understandable if some bosses are a little bit more conservative when it comes to trying out new ideas. It would also be more beneficial if the employee could understand the boss's official or business priorities, and provide the right support so that those priorities are achieved.
Understanding Your Boss Work Styles and Team Role Behaviours
According to the Belbin Team Role Profile there are 9 behavioural roles that one will display in different combinations in a team or work setting these are:
In the case above, in addition to Malcolm's boss could be having directives from above to reduce production defects and improve delivery schedules, Malcolm's boss could also have tendencies to "go the extra mile to make sure everything is done the right way as a Completer-Finisher, and could also be less welcoming to new ideas as an Implementer.
On the other hand, Malcolm's tendencies could be that of a Plant or Resource Investigator, and hence was also looking for opportunities to try out new ideas. Worse still, Malcolm might have the tendency to overlookthe small details which his boss places a high priority on. In any case, having this self-awareness will be a first step in improving communication with your boss or colleagues.
At first glance, it seemed doomed that Malcolm might have found the wrong boss, and could leave the company as a result of not being able to get along well with his boss. However, here are some tips that Malcolm could do to salvage the situation, and also build great rapport with his boss as well:
Is this all easier said
If Malcolm quits too much whenever he finds a tough boss, or a boss whose work styles doesn't really match with Malcolm's, he might have a CV that will be very unappealing to future employers. He could absolutely derail his own career development.
Furthermore, while bosses will prefer to work with employees with the abilities to do what the bosses want, they particularly could not stand employees having a bad attitude. Rather than showing a negative, problem-bringing attitude, Malcolm could choose to have a positive and problem-solving attitude.
Making Your Boss Trust You
In general, bosses general delegate the most important work to the people they trust most.
Being an honest employee does not necessarily endear you to become your boss' trusted aide. While being honest is important, you will need to demonstrate that you sincerely care for helping your boss' goal, and that you don't mess things up and make things worse while you "try".
Hence, here are some steps on how you can build that trust with your boss:
The key message here is simple. Becoming the employee that bosses will want to hire and work with has got nothing to do with sucking up with bosses. It's got everything to do with how you manage your boss, and how you take the initiative to be an effective team member with your boss,
Need help in improving your work relationship with your boss and develop better careers? Simply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call +86-136 7190 2505 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a mocha. All information shall be kept in confidence.
Power Breakfast Hour: 11 Dec 2013
How to Become the Employee that Bosses Love to Work With?
What are some of the priorities your boss has, and how you need to make those your priorities too;
What are the primary working styles of your boss, and how you can form a better team with your boss;
How you can win your boss's trust in a shorter time ;
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Tips for Managers:
Evaluative vs. Developmental Feedback
Most people dread feedback. They often react negatively,
both physically (heart pounding, dry throat) and
mentally (fearful, nervous, defensive), when they hear
they are going to give (or worse, get) feedback. They
anticipate criticism, and they feel under attack. Ego
goes up and receptivity goes down. This is because
people look at feedback as evaluative, not
developmental — probably because that is how
they have experienced it. Although these two kinds of
feedback are interrelated, they are very different..
Evaluative feedback is what most people think of when they hear the word feedback. Evaluative feedback, often in the form of the annual performance review, is a key element of sales management. It is based on a familiar model of grading found in schools: A through F, a quartile, a ranking of 1 to 5. It allows for comparisons, and it is usually related to compensation.
When folks' attitudes, beliefs, and values are in
alignment, their behaviours are consonant and supportive
of departmental, team and organizational goals.
Developmental feedback is very
different from evaluative feedback. It looks forward to
what “we” (coach and person being coached) can do to
improve and create a better picture for the future.
Developmental feedback answers the questions, “What can we do better to meet/exceed plan?” or “How can we fix …?” Another key difference is that these developmental questions are not asked only once or twice a year, but daily. The time for developmental feedback is always — in a coaching session or in a corridor.
Development happens with developmental coaching.
Moreover, empowerment happens with developmental
coaching, not evaluative. Developmental feedback
empowers because it helps people identify obstacles they
face and reinforces their role in removing the obstacles
each day. Developmental coaching helps people live and
thrive in a Stretch Zone.
Both evaluative and developmental feedback
are essential to development. In an evaluative session,
90% of the feedback should be evaluative, and in a
developmental coaching session, 90%-plus of the feedback
should be developmental. The evaluative session and the
developmental session are different, and it is important
to separate them. However, the two are clearly linked.
The evaluation (grades) should be used as a platform for
development: The grade is X and the action plan is Y.
The grade is the evaluative piece, and the action plan
is the developmental one.
Performance review feedback can be emotionally charged
because it often is tied to pay and involves assessment.
People often get disappointed or upset during a
“negative” performance review and are relieved or elated
during a positive one. Neither range of emotions is
helpful to a developmental session. Since evaluation
feedback can overwhelm the developmental part, it is
better to separate the two kinds of feedback into
different sessions. However, if a person is open to it,
the evaluative feedback session can end with a bridge to
a developmental session right there and then or, if not,
with a plan for a developmental meeting a few days
To learn more about Richardson’s sales coaching training
About Directions Management Consulting
Directions Management Consulting is the partner of LeadershipIQ in China and Asia. LeadershipIQ helps more than 125,000 leaders every year through the facts drawn from one of the largest ongoing leadership studies ever conducted is used to help companies apply resources where the best possible results be achieved.
In addition, Directions Management Consulting is a leading provider of sales performance, innovation and experiential learning solutions in China and many parts of Asia.
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Currently, Directions Management Consulting has served clients such as GSK, InterContinental Hotels Group, Unilever, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche, Philips Lighting, Carrier, Ingersoll Rand, Freudenberg etc.
Through collaboration with consultancies such as Forum Corporation, MTI, de Bono China, ProWay etc., the consultants in Directions Management Consulting have served clients such as PwC, Volks Wagon, Air Products, Evonik, Wacker, Epson amongst others.
Directions Management Consulting will increase its efforts to conduct leadership studies in China and other parts of Asia, so that more companies apply resources where the best possible results be achieved in this part of the world.
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