Communication is Key!

What a week!  I have really had to play “manager” this week and that is definitely NOT my most favorite thing to do.  I much prefer the coaching and leadership aspects of my job; the paperwork just annoys me and the micromanagement wears me out.

What I discovered this week is that communication is one of the most important aspects to working with other people.  Since I would venture a guess that if you have a job, you probably somehow, someway work with other people, I think you can relate to exactly what I am saying.  (If you don’t think you work with people, I would really like to know the job you have because that means you have no boss and no customers).  This week I ran into an issue where one person was totally put out by another person they work with because of a communication issue.  When both parties were brought together to review the issue, neither of them knew the other person was annoyed.  Well duh!  Why these two individuals couldn’t communicate without an intervention and mediation is beyond me.  However, once the issues were put out on the table, both began to realize they had opportunities for improvement.  The light bulb suddenly appeared above each of their heads and I could visibly see the change taking place.  The two began working on a plan to move forward; a plan that included (guess what?!?) communication and project statuses.  **hand slap to forehead**  Without being able to communicate (or feeling uncomfortable with a communication) I cannot imagine anything getting done.  These two people were waiting on the other to make a move when in reality, the move should be natural based on the communication that has already taken place.  When an issue arises, people need to stop the he-said / she-said with their manager (or others) and actually come together.  I am by no means perfect with this (everyone knows how much I hate confrontation) but knowing there is an issue is the first step to recovery, right?

Hopefully moving forward, I can once again turn to the leadership aspect of my job and cut out all of this paperwork.

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
Charles Dickens

The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus

Every year about this time, I pull out of of my favorite leadership books (The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus) and review all of the tips and tricks that are available in a fun and easy read.  If you have not read the book, I highly recommend taking a couple of hours out of your day and see what Santa and the Elves have to say!

One of the most difficult  areas for me personally is to find out “who is naughty and nice”; specifically confronting performance problems early.  As a manager, I find coaching the “super stars” to be one of the easiest (and most rewarding) parts of my job.  I often find myself ‘showing off’ those individuals because honestly, that is just easy to do.  However, when an issue arises, I find myself dragging my feet to address the issue simply because I don’t like confrontation.  I want everyone to be a rock star and I do not understand how people could want to create problems for themselves.  I have spent tons of hours of training to try to learn just how to handle the performance issue confrontation and I know all of the tips and tricks; that does not make the confrontation any easier.

Here is my personal solution to addressing performance issues: reframe and rethink how I address the issue.  If someone is having an issue, my job as his or her manager is to help them see the error of their ways and to move them toward the appropriate behaviour.  If they choose not to take that feedback and to continue to provide poor service, then there is not much I can do.  However, that individual may not actually know there is an issue.  That communication is up to me as his or her manager to let them know.  Rather than looking at the issue as a confrontational issue, I look at it as a learning opportunity.  How the indivudal chooses to use that opportunity is up to them. 

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” ~Rosalynn Carter