June 26, 2014

Resist The Rescue!

Some managers, especially those new to the role, believe they need to know everything. They see themselves as the “answer-man” or the go-to-person. This thinking reduces one’s confidence and works against the role of manager, coach or leader. Managing is getting things done through others, using people as resources; not directing each action. Responding to others’ questions with answers feels good. A manager may see herself as a servant-leader, but that is not the case. This person isn’t a leader but a firefighter who is always in reaction mode putting out one fire after another. It may feel good to […]
May 28, 2014

Stop assigning numbers to people!

Performance appraisals may finally be a human resource system of the past. Tons of evidence and our guts tells us they are ineffective measures of performance. Often, the best performers do not get the highest performance scores. The more we try to fix the appraisal process, the more convoluted and difficult to administer it becomes. The appraisal process is threatening for both the evaluator and the person being evaluated. Seldom has the evaluator been trained in judging performance, have a clear understanding of the position’s expectations and have frequent opportunities to observe an individuals’ performance. Recent findings reveal the ratings […]
December 2, 2013

Avoid Mistakes When Correcting Others

There may be reasons why employees cannot be corrected in a timely manner. Those reasons don’t matter. What matters is the employee continues to do something incorrectly or behave poorly. When employees are finally told about the poor performance or conduct, managers should expect them to be surprised. The employee has been breaking small rules, or getting away with less than adequate performance for a while. Both parties may well ask, “What makes this mistake or incident different?” Employees will be especially surprised if they just received a positive performance appraisal. The performance appraisal process isn’t perfect and neither are […]
September 24, 2013


Open office designs promote flexibility and space conservation. When combined with multiple electronic communication systems an interruption-rich work environment is created. Evidence shows exhaustion, error rates, stress, anxiety and physical ailments increasing with frequent interruptions. A Rice University study published in the Academy of Management Review distinguished four types of work interruptions; intrusions, breaks, distractions and discrepancies. The study looked at the type of work and the personality style of the employee to discuss the impact of each type of work interruption. An intrusion is defined as an unexpected encounter initiated by another person that brings an individual’s work to […]


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