What to do when there is a conflict in the team?

What to do when there is a conflict in the team?

 

What to do when there is a conflict in the team?

 

 
In reality, wherever there are teams, there are often conflicts amongst team members.
 
Often, due to poor communication, team members may find they have incompatible goals and become very competitive toward each other.
 
Other times, ambiguous rules and scarce resources make it difficult for members to coordinate their behavior.
 
Sometimes conflict arises because there’s an abusive leader.
 
Different forms of conflict can cause huge time loss in business organisations. Studies have found managers have to spend between 30% and 43% of their time 
dealing with intra-team conflicts. 
 
For employees, 16% of their time is spent on conflicts with supervisors. 
 
conflict time losses
 
So why do we have so many conflicts, and how can we resolve them?
 
To answer these questions we need to understand the nature of teamwork.
 
  • When we work in teams, we need to reach a consensus about what type of emotions are appropriate. 
  • We need to specify goals.
  • We need to synchronize timing and sequence.
  • We need to exchange and disseminate information.
  • And we also need to align behaviors and attitudes.
  • And we need to do all these together

 

But how?

Some experts say, we can ask team members to do standardized and formalized jobs.
In this case, it’s very clear what individual members have inputted. And it does reduce conflicts, however, this solution discourages the emergence of creative ideas and 
it’s less useful for teams operating in ambivalent and complex environments. So how can we avoid the inevitable conflict that arises in teamwork? 
 
This is where diversity plays a big role. 
 
A high level diversity occurs when we find out that other members are different from us. These differences can be their age, gender, educational level, values, beliefs, personal experience or career aspiration. 
 
However, if we can value these differences rather than neglect or disrespect them, we can coordinate teamwork better. Eventually, we can achieve better team performance and obtain more creative ideas at the same time.
 

Again…BUT HOW?

Managing people is never easy, but when the conflict between two or more of your direct reports escalates to the level of hatred, how do you minimize the drama and keep your team on track?  After all, remember that this is a fundamental part of your job as a manager…

If you can get to the root of your employees’ fear, you can help them rebuild their relationship. And if you do it the right way, the shared vulnerability will start to foster trust in place of hate.

Here is a possible approach to get at the root of the problem and resolve the conflict once and for all:

Before addressing the interpersonal tension between your two direct reports, it’s important to ensure the conflict isn’t stemming from more systemic issues.

  • First, ensure that your direct reports have clarity about their roles
  • A solid understanding of what is expected of them
  • A set of measures and rewards that promote collaboration rather than competition.

Or in other words – Make sure their relationship is set up for success.

Then, before you talk to them, spend a moment thinking about your own frustration with and judgments about them.

If you are fed up and unwilling or unable to be empathetic, you won’t be in a position to help. Hatred is the product of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and fear — empathy can dissolve it.

Start with the positive assumption that your direct reports are good people experiencing something stressful. Compose yourself, or risk provoking even more anxiety in the people you are trying to calm down.

When you are ready, relentlessly provide feedback whenever you see symptoms of the poor relationship.

For example you could say something like: “When Nick spoke, you rolled your eyes.  For me, that demonstrated a lack of professional maturity. What caused your reaction to what Nick was saying?”

Take every opportunity to call out bad behavior and don’t hesitate to provide feedback on the absence of behavior either, as in: “I noticed that you didn’t say anything during Nick’s presentation. What was going on for you?” In each case, ensure that your feedback ends with an open-ended question that gets the person talking.

Use the answers to your questions to uncover clues about the root causes of the conflict.

 

Remember, for feelings as strong as hatred to be triggered, the root causes are probably very close to home. 

 

By asking the right questions, Shed light on issues of:

  •  low self-esteem – “What worries you?”
  • anxiety about change – “How do you see this playing out?”
  • fear of losing control – “How do you experience it when she does that?”

Let each answer show you the path to the next question. You are attempting to get beneath the person’s biased perceptions of situations and down into their motives and beliefs. That’s where the emotion is coming from.

As you listen closely to the answers, it is critical to redirect comments that include assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling. For example, if he says “he is trying to destroy my credibility,” re-frame the idea as “we don’t know Nick’s motive; I am interested in how his behavior is being interpreted by you. How do you feel when he disagrees with you in front of the team?”

Reflect back what you hear and start to make some hypotheses about what might be going on. “I get the sense that when Nick was promoted two levels in three years, you started to think about your own career progression. Is that fair?” “Tell me more about what you’re thinking.”

 

The objective is to make sure each individual understands how their thoughts and feelings affect their perceptions of the other.

 

Encourage each person to consider the possibility that the other is trying to cope in the best way they know how.  Ask questions that help them think about the situation differently.  “How do you think Nick felt when he joined a team of people who are older and more experienced than him?” “How might you help Nick get his point across so that he doesn’t need to be so assertive?”

Once you have helped each individual understand his or her half of the relationship, you can bring the two together to have a conversation. “I’ve been speaking with each of you about my concerns over your strained relationship. I think you’re ready to talk to one another.” Interject as little as possible in the conversation, but where you know there is something that’s not being said, provide a gentle nudge: “Nick, we talked about how you experience it when Bob disengages in a meeting…” This process might take several conversations—stick with it.

The advantage of making this level of investment is that it will go a long way toward fixing the problem once and for all—once you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, it’s very unlikely you will still feel a conflict.

Even more importantly, it will be some of the best leadership development the two individuals have ever received. You will have helped them grow up, gain some insight into themselves, and forge a relationship that benefits everyone. Their newfound accountability for relationships will serve them well throughout their careers

 

SO, NOW WHAT?

Well… just pick one…

 

 

Can you think of a person or organization, that could benefit from this? Share it with them…

Giving Feedback

Giving Feedback

 

Work and Business Psychology

 

To be an effective leader and manager, you need to be skilled at giving out both praise and criticism. While praise is easy to give, it is far more challenging and unpleasant to criticize your employees. Yet the practice of management requires you to occasionally show employees where they need to improve. Thus, it is vital for managers to learn how and when to give negative feedback.

The first thing to realize is that people generally respond more strongly to negative events than positive ones.

In other words, we are usually more upset about losing $100 than we are happy about winning $100. In fact, in his book – (Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last) – John Gottman, suggested that positive interactions must outnumber negative interactions by at least five to one in order for a marriage to succeed.

This observation is also true in the workplace, as Professor Andrew Miner  and colleagues discovered in a study published in 2005. They recorded employees’ moods several times each day and, each time, asked them if any events (such as a positive interaction with a co-worker) had occurred within the past few hours.

Their results showed that employees reacted to a negative interaction with their boss six times more strongly than they reacted to a positive interaction with their boss. This suggests that negative feedback can have significant adverse effects on an employee’s well-being — and, presumably, their productivity.

What does this observation mean for managers? Put simply, managers need to be cautious before criticizing employees.

To start with, you should avoid inadvertently criticizing any of your employees. For instance, if an employee writes a first draft of a written document, some managers might want to suggest some minor revisions even if the draft was generally good. In these situations, managers should clearly communicate that their revisions are merely suggestions coming from a second pair of eyes — and that they aren’t criticizing their employee’s performance.

More generally, managers need to weigh the trade-offs involved in making negative feedback. If you criticize your employees, you will likely provide some corrective information, but you will also put your employee in a bad mood. If an error is so inconsequential that the corrective value of criticism is low, it might make sense for you to keep that feedback to yourself.

Of course, there are situations when a manager must provide negative feedback. On these occasions, don’t lose sight of your purpose for offering that feedback: to improve the employee’s performance going forward. As much as you might want to excoriate your employee for what you believe is a spectacularly awful performance, your business gains nothing from it.

In fact, shaming your employee is likely to have substantial negative effects on your business. In their research, Christine Porath and Christine Pearson, found that many employees considered themselves to be on the receiving end of workplace incivility, such as overly harsh criticism from their boss. According to their research, nearly half of these employees decide to intentionally decrease their productivity.

Instead, in order to obtain the desired corrective effects of negative feedback, you should take steps to soften the emotional blow. You want your employees to focus on the message that you’re trying to convey, rather than any intense negative emotions.

At a bare minimum, make sure to deliver your criticism in private. There’s nothing more humiliating than being criticized in front of your co-workers. And it is critical to keep your tone collaborative. Make clear that your employee still has your support and your respect.

One strategy for providing feedback is to start by literally saying, “Let me provide you with some feedback.” That statement lets the employee prepare emotionally for what you’re about to say; in my experience, it also seems to activate the calm, rational part of the employee’s brain rather than the defensive, emotional part.

Negative feedback is a key tool in the effective manager’s kit. But you must use it wisely and carefully, or else they will do more harm than good. Focus on potential future improvements, instead of dwelling on past errors. And think twice whether an error truly requires negative feedback: criticism can have an unexpectedly large impact on an employee’s happiness and productivity.

And this approach should be generally reversed when it comes to praise. Unlike criticism, managers should bestow their employees with praise generously, publicly, and at every opportunity — especially at the culmination of projects. While most bosses seem to think that they dole out praise by the dozen, I rarely meet an employee who feels that the boss sufficiently values his or her achievements. So, as often as possible, tell your employees how much you appreciate their commitment and hard work.

 

ADVISES ON GIVING FEEDBACK TO AN INDIVIDUAL

 

Fundamentally, feedback is a good thing. For managers, it’s an important tool for shaping behaviors and fostering learning that will drive better performance. For their direct reports, it’s an opportunity for development and career growth.

Why, then, is it so problematic? Most managers say they dislike giving feedback and don’t think it’s as effective as it could be. Those on the receiving end say they don’t get enough feedback they can actually use.

Many reasons account for this disconnect. Strong emotions on both sides, a focus on character rather than on behavior, and a lack of clarity about what needs to change and why are just a few of the factors that can undermine a feedback session.

Focus on business outcomes

Business outcomes should be your starting place for giving feedback: You need to develop talent, boost sales, improve service. When feedback is framed as a means to reach a specific business goal, it becomes an opportunity to solve a problem rather than criticize.

This opportunity is not geared only to the manager. When feedback is focused on the employee’s development, that makes it a lot more helpful. Feedback becomes a gift of someone investing in the recipient’s career.

Give feedback often

Feedback works best when it’s a continual process rather than a formal session once or twice a year. In fact, experts agree that the yearly performance appraisal is the worst time to surprise an employee with negative feedback. You’re nervous, and so is the employee. With pulse rates up and adrenaline flowing, the natural response is fight or flight, not the thoughtfulness an effective feedback session requires.

Practice giving feedback often; soon it will become a habit. Praise good performance right away. When negative feedback is required, talk with the employee within 24 hours.

If you’ve managed your direct reports for a while, you’ve drawn conclusions about them. That’s fine, but don’t let these conclusions lead you astray in a feedback session. For instance, saying something like “You’re unprofessional” is a recipe for disaster. A character attack provides no information and doesn’t offer any actionable ideas for change.

Before a feedback session, find concrete data that may or may not support your conclusions. Your goal is to gather evidence that will allow you to describe:

  • Specific behavior. Be specific about what the person has done or not done, without judging her intent. Avoid statements that begin “You always. . .” or “You never. . .”
  • The impact of that behavior. Tell the person how her behavior is affecting you, the team, or the business.
  • What you want the person to do differently. Your employee can’t read your mind. Be explicit about what needs to change.

Don’t assume you’re right

Even after you’ve collected your data, you might not have the complete picture. Other people may not see this person’s behavior as you do. Furthermore, the employee will have his own side of the story. Difficult feedback is rarely about getting the facts right, It’s about conflicting views, feelings, and values. Reasonable people differ about all these things.

Approach the feedback session with the goal of getting a complete and accurate picture of the situation. Just as you want your employee to listen with a willingness to be influenced by what he hears, you need to be willing to be influenced by what you hear.

Ask questions

To make this a learning conversation for both you and your employee, ask questions to get her thinking:

How do you see the situation?
How might you do things differently next time?
What do you think worked, and what could have gone better?

Questions like these establish a supportive atmosphere in which the employee can explore alternative approaches that might produce better results. The more an individual thinks about improving her performance, the more committed she is to making it happen.

Follow through 

Because managers dread giving feedback, they like to feel that once they’ve had the conversation, they’re done. Not so fast! There is a big difference between understanding and changing. Your employees’ ability to make that leap requires ongoing support. Thus, follow-through is vital. Ask, “Now what are the next steps you will take, and how can I support your progress?” Plan to meet again in a month.

Consider yourself a catalyst for the change you’d like to see. Suggest specific steps that will help the employee work on performance gaps. Cannon recommends having him gather his own data by asking peers or subordinates for feedback and suggestions on a particular performance area.

Gather feedback on how you give feedback 

Is giving feedback an area in which you need to improve? At the end of a feedback session, ask what your employee thought of the conversation and how you can be more helpful.

 

OK, BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN IT COMES TO TEAMS…?

 

Business books, magazines, and blogs are chock full of advice about how to give feedback to individuals, but how do you do the same for your entire team? What type of constructive criticism is appropriate in a group setting? How much is too much? And how should your colleagues help?

What the Experience say

Providing feedback isn’t solely the team leader’s responsibility. For starters, that would be impractical. You can’t be the only one holding everyone accountable because you can’t possibly observe everything that’s going on. Second, if you’re the only one praising or critiquing, group dynamics suffer. You want to give everyone the opportunity to say his piece. Your job as manager is to ensure that team members are providing regular constructive feedback. There needs to be an expectation within the team this is a shared leadership responsibility. Here are some principles to help you lay the groundwork for ensuring and enhancing this effective team practice.

Set expectations early

When a team works well together, it’s because its members are operating from the same mindset and are clear about their goals and their norms. At the start of a new project, help your direct reports decide how they’re going to work together — and importantly, how they will hold each other accountable. Come up with an explicit agreement about how the team will handle issues like the division of labor and deadlines. Stipulate, for example, that if a colleague knows he is going to miss an important deadline for his portion of a project, he must email the team at least 24 hours in advance. If someone doesn’t follow through on the expectations the team created, he’ll get feedback from the group about what happened because he fell short.

Create opportunities for regular check-ins

There’s no hard-and-fast rule about how often your team should meet to review how things are going, but in general, it’s better to start out with more structure and relax it over time, than to start out with too little structure and have to impose it later. When you’re in the early stages of creating a project plan, schedule regular check-ins as part of the timeline. If the team is running smoothly you can always cancel the meeting.

Ask general questions

Giving and receiving feedback is a skill and most people are not naturally good at it. One of your goals is to develop your team’s capacity to give feedback and help people get used to articulating how they feel the team is doing. Take baby steps. At the second or third check-in, ask the group general questions such as, “On a scale of one to five, how well is the team sharing the workload? What needs to change?” As the leader, you’re the moderator of this conversation. Once team members have spoken, offer your two cents about where the team excels and where it faces challenges.

Work your way up to structured reviews

As your team gets accustomed to working together and sharing feedback, you need to do a deeper dive into how team members are doing at the individual level.  Ask each person to prepare specific reviews of colleagues to be read aloud at the next meeting. Every team member should say one thing they appreciate about the other members and one thing that would be helpful if they did differently. The aim is to help people understand how their behavior is impacting others. If they hear the same kind of feedback from multiple people, that is powerful. When it’s your turn, you should validate your observations with others. Ask: ‘Are you seeing things the same way?’ Get other people’s reactions.

Keep performance issues out in the open

The management mantra for giving individuals feedback is: “Praise in public, criticize in private.” But in team settings, this goes out the window. In the traditional view, it’s inappropriate to raise issues in a meeting that would make people uncomfortable or put people on the spot. But your job as a leader is not always to make people feel comfortable. When teams have problems, it should all be out in the open. You alone can’t help people improve; there needs to be a group plan. After you’ve harnessed the power of the group to prompt change, one-on-one conversations with struggling colleagues are then in order. Say to them: ‘What did you hear from the team? How are you going to do things differently? And how can I help?’”

Foster team relationships

Conflicts between coworkers are inevitable. But you can’t just say, ‘I’ll handle it,’ because [as the manager] you can’t solve a problem to which you’re not a primary stakeholder. You can coach people on how to have difficult conversations, and you can help facilitate those conversations, but team members need to address issues where the inter-dependencies lie. Help colleagues build trust before problems arise by encouraging open conversation. And, when there is conflict, make sure they understand, they need to give feedback directly to each other. The only way good work gets done is through good relationships — the better the relationship, the better the work.

Debrief every project

At the end of a project or when your team is disbanding, schedule a final check-in to discuss what worked and what didn’t, what should we bring forward and what should we do differently next time. Take careful notes: the information gleaned in this session should not only be part of the organization’s final project review, but also part of each team member’s annual performance appraisal. The objective is to provide closure on the team and also determine what each member needs to do to further develop.

Principles to Remember

 Do:

  • Make sure your team understands that feedback is a shared leadership responsibility
  • Schedule routine check-in meetings
  • Keep the tone positive by encouraging team members to say what they appreciate about others’ contributions

Don’t:

 
  • Start meetings with your own feedback for the team — allow everyone else to first express how they think they’re doing
  • Shy away from  performance issues — address them openly with the group
  • Get in the middle of personality conflicts — help facilitate difficult conversations

Case study #1: Create opportunities for team and individual reflection

Once every quarter, Laree Daniel — chief administrative officer of Aflac, the insurance company — assembles an ad hoc team around a particular customer incident for an in-depth feedback session. “I take a customer case study in which we either did very well or very poorly, and I gather everyone that touched the customer in some form,” she says.

First, Laree makes sure everyone is up to speed. Team members are given a packet of information that includes a write-up of the incident, transcripts of phone calls, copies of customer letters, and copies of the company’s responses. Next, she poses a series of questions to the team: What worked well? Where were the gaps? What can we do better?

The goal, she says, is to get the team to reflect on the company’s behavior from both the customer’s perspective and shareholder’s. “This isn’t about blame and I’m not scolding anyone,” she says. “I am the facilitator and I make it a neutral environment.”

During these feedback meetings, colleagues often have epiphanies. “They realize: ‘I didn’t know [my behavior] would have that impact,” she says. “It becomes a dynamic learning experience.”

The feedback and information she picks up from those meetings are used to make process improvements. “Often the best ideas come from those people who were closest to the work.”

Case study #2: Focus on empowering your team
David S. Rose, the angel investor and CEO of Gust — a platform for the sourcing and management of early-stage investments — has a simple approach when it comes to giving group feedback. “The goal is not to depress the team,” he says. “I try to keep everything upbeat and lay out our strengths and our challenges.

A few years ago, for instance, he was involved in leading a 15-person technical team at a software company. The group’s biggest issue was its disappointing B2B product suite. “Customers were unhappy and the front-end salespeople were being yelled at,” he says. “As a team, we had some good individual contributors but we needed to get better at working together. I couldn’t just walk in and give feedback along the lines of: ‘These products are terrible; you’re all fired.’ We needed to identify the organizational problems and come up with a prescription for a path forward.”

He broke the team into subgroups of two or three people, and he tasked each with brainstorming how to manage a particular inter-team challenge. The subgroups then provided feedback to everyone else; based on that, the team developed a strategy to improve workflow and communication. “We came up with a plan and the whole team felt empowered,” he says. “We knew what the problems were and we figured out how to solve them.”

Within nine months, he says, the products were in far better shape.

 

SO, NOW WHAT?

Well… just pick one…

 

 

Can you think of a person or organization, that could benefit from this? Share it with them…

Different Types of Motivation

Different Types of Motivation

 

Different Types of Motivation

 

There are different types of motivation that affect performance and well being. Popular psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan developed Self-determination theory, which distinguishes between different types of motivation. 
 
Generally speaking, we can talk about two types of motivation:
 
  • Intrinsic motivation 
  • Extrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation is when you do something because it’s fun.

A good example of this is a child playing with a toy. Children play with toys, not because they are being rewarded for it, but simply for the pure enjoyment of playing itself. This is Intrinsic motivation. 

Extrinsic motivation  can sometimes be a more controlling type of motivation. For example, if you do something to obtain a reward or to avoid a punishment. 
 
However, extrinsic motivation can also be autonomously driven. A good example of that is giving blood. Giving blood is not something that’s really fun to do. So it’s not intrinsically motivating. But people usually do it because they find that it’s the very important thing to do. For this reason, we call this Extrinsic autonomous motivation.

There are two types of motivation that lead to the best performance and well-being outcomes.
 
Intrinsic motivation and Extrinsic autonomous motivation.

In other words, if you do something because you enjoy it or you find it meaningful, you’re more likely to perform better and to feel better. You’re likely to have more energy and to put more energy into your work. 
 
On the other hand, if you work only for the paycheck, you’re less likely to perform well and you’re more likely to burn out. To get long lasting motivation, you need to enjoy your work or at least find it meaningful and important.

So how can managers help their employees get more enjoyment and meaning out of their jobs?
 
Employees need to feel three things in order to be well motivated. They need to feel competent, autonomist and related to others.

People feel Competent when they feel that they are able to master their environment. You can make employees feel more competent by matching their skills and 
knowledge to what is required to do a good job.

People feel Autonomous when they feel that what they are doing reflects who they are. And not having a sense of pressure. You can make employees feel autonomous by asking them for their opinions and by encouraging them to participate in decision making.

Employees will also feel autonomous when they are given good reasons to engage in an activity.So you can explain the importance of their work. For example, by explaining how their work impacts other people so they find it more meaningful.

Finally, because we are social animals, we need to have meaningful and trustful connections with others to thrive. You can make employees feel Related to others by giving them opportunities for social interactions in the workplace. That can be achieved through teamwork, social events, and more interactions with clients
 
As a manager, it’s also important to listen and to be emphatic with your employees. Research has shown when organisations do these things, they’re more likely to have engaged employees, who have better well being and are more likely to stay in the organisation.

 

SO, NOW WHAT?

Well… just pick one…

 

 

Can you think of a person or organization, that could benefit from this? Share it with them…

Using Goals For Motivation

Using Goals For Motivation

THE GOAL SETTING THEORY

(by Edwin Locke and Gary Latham)

 

 

A goal is a purpose or an intention that serves two aims:
 
  • It defines what needs to be done.
  • It helps people focus their attention on information that is important to meet their goals. 

 

Any form of deliberate or a voluntary action is driven by a goal. For example – when you make your breakfast in the morning, you have to decide what you’re going to eat and how you will prepare it. This is goal setting.

To be shaped, every goal goes through two phases:

  • The deliberation phase – the process of choosing what goal to pursue
  • The Implementation phase – the process of choosing how to pursue the goal

The goal-setting theory provides guidelines on how to set goals so that you can maximize your goal attainment. There are four guidelines to follow:

  • Set specific goals – they lead to higher performance than vague or broad goals
  • Set challenging goals – a person needs to feel stimulated in order to be motivated. The goals need to be just above the current skill level of the tasked person. (but not much above)
  • Goal commitment – people usually commit to goals when they have set them themselves instead of goals being imposed on them by others. In cases of tasks given, let say be an employer, the task will be given from others, but the employee can be involved in a discussion of why and how.
  • Feedback receiving (both positive and negative) – Positive feedback could be even more motivating than monetary rewards. It informs the person not only that he or she is progressing, but more importantly about what he or she is doing right. That way it stimulates repeating behavior. Negative feedback, on the other hand, is a tricky thing. It should never focus on the lack of competence. It should be focused on behavior to be changed and how it should be changed.

 

The SMART Model of Goals Setting:

 

Setting goals using the SMART goals principle can help to create clear and specific goals that you are most likely to achieve. So what is a SMART goal? SMART stands for:

  • Specific – State exactly what you want to be accomplished (who, what, where, why).

Bad example: Improve incident reporting.

Good example: Everyone who writes an incident report needs to include more details, specifically in section 2.

  • Measurable – Measurable goals should include indicators of progress, such as the number of incidents.

Bad example: We will lower our number of incidents.

Good example: We will decrease the number of incidents by 30% in 2019, using 2018 as the baseline.

  • Achievable – Goals should be challenging, but attainable. Context, available resources, and constraints should all be considered when developing goals.

Bad example: Everyone needs to complete the new training program in the next two weeks.

Good example: Within the next six months, everyone will attend the new training program. We will use a staggered approach for attendance so that we are not short on staff.

  • Relevant – Relevant goals should consider how the goal ties in with team members’ responsibilities and how it aligns with other objectives.

Bad example: Update the evacuation procedures.

Good example: By the end of the week, update the department’s safety evacuation procedures to reflect our new location.

  • Timely – A timeline should be specified for goals. It should be realistic, not too far ahead, and not too tight.

Bad example: The training needs to be completed when you have time.

Good example: All employees will complete the training by December 1st, 2019.

 

SO HOW CAN WE DO IT IN PRACTICE?

 

 
 

 

Let’s assume you are the manager of a software company. Your team has a challenge upcoming (it could be a number of things: new client or a new feature that needs to be implemented, or even training that the owners of the company wanted the team to undergo). For the needs of the example, we will take the scenario where you have a new feature for development.
 
So, in order to properly set the goal so that the entire team (involved with the task)  could be at the same page, you will need to make the goal well-written and easy to understand.
  • First, you’ll need to clearly describe what is needed to be done. What will be the perfect end result – not as a feature but as a real value – the outcome? (For example, instead of saying something like “We need to create a Python script that does X and Y, using such and such framework and sourcing this and that, it’s better to describe the final result that is wanted and later ask your team to offer potential solutions, technologies, and approaches.)

 

  • The second most important thing – why. What is the need behind it, its purpose, and how it will serve it?

 

  • Finally, how. Here, it’s important to mention that you should MOST DEFINITELY involve your team with the “How part”. Ask them, hear them and – if proper – use their solutions or parts of them while strategizing. When setting each detail, make sure that the person offering the solution, owns it and will be responsible for it after. That means he must understand what is needed to do it, what will be expected and what is not “ok”. (all those should come from his mouth)

 

  • The KPIs or Key Performance Indicators should be set from the beginning. In other words – how would a job-done greatly will look like, measured in numbers – for ex. : If we could do it with only three team members, for 5 working days, with no more than 2K$ as an investment towards third parties and not more than two days of QA time it will be perfect. The project lead will be Jack The important part here is, that after once the KPIs are talked-over, you need to sit and write those down:
    • Time frame 5 workdays – when you set a specific time-frame you should take under consideration all important elements. Yes, this includes the client’s desires, but it also includes the physical dimensions and possibilities. (for ex. if your team already has their plates full with other tasks).
    • Deadline – Friday, 21.01.2019. A big mistake to avoid is to “believe your folks will manage to do it”. It is always better to ser extra time and finish early than set a good-to-have time frame and fail…
    • Development Responsible persons – Jack and Jones (When you pick the team members for the execution of the tasks keep in mind the “Challenging” rule. They need to have the skills to do the task but at the same time, it should be a small challenge for them. The task needs to be just above the current skill level so that they could learn while doing it. Another important thing is to consider – is what you ask of them aligned with their responsibilities? Is it in their field? For example, if you are tasking a back-end python developer to create a front-end javascript feature – yes he could probably do it, but is it what he does? Will he be happy with it? Is it something that he wants to learn to do? Keep in mind that when a person can do something, that doesn’t mean he will be motivated to do it. If you have options, you should most definitely think twice when picking whom to task with specific tasks.
    • Project Lead – Jack
    • Third Parties Budget 2000$ (for ex.: 1200$ for frameworks, 800$ for plugins)
    • The time frame for QA – 2 workdays
    • QA Responsible person – Nick
    • QA Deadline – Tuesday – 26.01.2019
    • After QA Finalization Deadline – Friday 29.01.2019

 

  • Next – you should make it your priority to measure the progress during the process and make adjustments if needed, provide feedback and guide your team through challenges they face. It is not to wait till the deadline to find out that some parts are not ready yet, you need to be there step by step. This could mean you meet the team each day for a progress update, or it could also mean you use some reporting system that helps you stay in the loop.

 

  • Providing feedback should be directly connected to the tasks performed, You, as a leader and a manager, need to give feedback for both – the good and the bad. The most common mistake with serious long-term consequences is not to tell a person when he’s done a good job. Doing so will guarantee you that he or she will understand what is the desired behavior that you aim at and will try to give it to you each time.

When talking about negative feedback – let’s say the person messed up with something, you shouldn’t focus on his lack of knowledge, but at what’s to be done now and in future so that the bad outcome could change.

This should be made in form of questions towards the person.

For example: “Do you think this is the result we agreed on?”

“Does it do such and such?”

“How can you approach the issue differently so that it does such and such?”

“What else could you do to improve the process?”

“Who you could turn to for further assistance?” Etc.

After the process is fixed, you need to use the case for a learning moment. It is the time when you make sure that a person learns from his mistakes. Again questions – “What did you learn from that? What will you do differently next time?” Take under consideration that without feedback, more often than not neither the company nor the team is evolving, developing and improving, ergo – your business is not growing…

Can you think of a person or organization, that could benefit from this? Share it with them…

Work and Business Psychology

Work and Business Psychology

 

Work and Business Psychology

 

Most of us will spend up to a third of our lives at work.  We’ll spend even longer thinking about work.  It’s fair to say work is a highly significant part of our lives. And yet, this part of our life is often not as pleasant or meaningful as we would like it to be.
 
  • Have you ever had to deal with a boss who was not a very effective leader?
  • Have you struggled to maintain your motivation in light of a job that’s boring and under-stimulating?
  • Have you found it difficult to get along with a colleague who seems to come from another planet?
  • And have you felt stressed out at work and not really known what to do about it?
 
We all face these issues at times during our working lives.
 
And if you’re in a leadership position, you will not only face these challenges in your own work, but you’ll be thinking about how to manage other people’s work more effectively.
 
  • How do you get the people you lead to be engaged?
  • How might you approach conflict within your team?
  • How might you create a safe and healthy workplace for your employees?
These are a sample of the interesting questions that concern work psychologists.
 
Work psychologists aim to use knowledge about psychology to improve people’s lives and to help our organisations to be more productive.
 
This is what the SalesFixer do…
 

 

SO, NOW WHAT?

Well… just pick one…

 

 

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Performance and Individual Differences

Performance and Individual Differences

Performance and Individual Differences

 

People are different! Everybody knows that.

But what are the important differences from performance point of view?

What makes some people perform better than others?

To answer that question, one must consider the individual differences of people. More specifically – how they differ by the two main settings from organisational point of view –  Cognitive ability and Personality.

Why those two are interesting? Because they are what makes the biggest difference when considering performance of a person towards specific task.

 

 

Cognitive Ability and Personality – Explained:

 

Cognitive Ability

It is our capacity to learn, reason, problem solve, plan, think abstractly, and comprehend complex ideas. It is also simply known as “Intelligence”. It is proven fact ( 1998 – Frank Schmidt and John Hunter  85 years of research summary), that cognitive ability is the single strongest predictor of performance throughout very broad spectrum of tasks.

An important thing to mention is, that cognitive ability is important not only with complex tasks, but in all tasks! Even the simplest ones.

 
 

hunter diagram

Being incredibly important though, cognitive ability is only one part of a very complex puzzle.  It turns out that Knowing that a person is very smart tells us nothing about how friendly, team oriented, organised, socially engaging, or diligent they are as an employee, manager, leader, partner, etc. For that, we need Personality…

Personality

 

Our unique and relatively stable patterns of behaviour, thoughts, and emotions. It gives a perspective about what types of behaviour a person tends to default to.

 

OK but how to apprehend the rich spectrum of all people personalities?!

For that, we use so-called trait-based approaches. Or in other words – we can imagine a set of dimensions within which every person stands with his own personality.

Each trait has it’s own scale and every person is somewhere on that scale. To imagine that better think of the trait called Extraversion. We all has it but in different level. Some of us are totally extraverted (meaning more sociable and outgoing), while others might stand at the middle of the scale or  at the “introverted side”. Most of us are somewhere around the middle:

Extraversion Bell Curve

The same scale is relevant for all the 6 most important personalities traits from performance perspective:

  • Openness to Experience
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Emotional Stability
  • Honesty-Humility

So let’s go back to why personality is so important… Whereas cognitive ability tells us a lot about what a person can do, personality tells us about what a person is willing to do and how they might go about doing it.

For example, conscientiousness has been shown to predict performance across many jobs and tasks and extraversion has been shown to predict performance in jobs like sales or managerial roles where interpersonal relations are far more frequent.

The same is true for the opposite…

Personality can also be used to predict negative task outcomes. For example, people who are less agreeable seem to be more inclined to withdraw from their task and people who are less honest tend to engage in activities like counterproductive work behaviours, (stealing or taking longer breaks.)

The important thing to remember is that personality tells us about how we typically behave, and so it can affect what we choose to do.
 

 

 
 

The Situational Circumstances

Quite often, it is the situation that determines how we behave.
For example, even the most extroverted person will probably stay quiet when in a library and even the least conscientious person will try to work hard when the boss is watching them. In strong situations like these, personality does not determine our behaviour so much. Our personality is likely to be most important in situations where we have the freedom to choose how we behave.
 
Situational Circumstances
 
Most modern theories of personality now discuss how situations we face can combine with our traits to predict our behaviour in the workplace.

OK But How Can We Use All That Theory In Practice?

It’s all about making a prediction about how a specific person will perform with a task or a group of tasks (e.g. job)

As mentioned earlier, we should take under consideration the personality traits. The two most influential traits to be considered when trying to predict performance potential of a person are cognitive ability and conscientiousness:

Performance prediction

Great! But what is consciousness?

Conscientiousness

FIRST – conscientiousness is NOT consciousness ! (Use the internet to see the difference!)

Conscientiousness is less about getting to a job interview or board meeting on time in a freshly ironed suit and polished shoes and more about what fundamentally influences whether people set and keep long-range goals, deliberate over choices, behave cautiously or impulsively, and take obligations to others seriously. 

Conscientiousness is generally a key ingredient for success; people high in this trait are disciplined, high-achieving, and dependable. Yet the off-the-charts conscientious may court perfectionism because their sights are set too high. The extremely conscientious are less spontaneous, less flexible, and more stubborn. They may also suffer more than the less conscientious under conditions of extreme stress. How one fares as a conscientious person may be determined by how well they can stay in control of a stressful situation.

So having that in mind, let’s get back to practical implementation…

 
To simplify all this – in longer run, we should come out ahead when choosing who to task with a job if we put our focus at their cognitive ability and conscientiousness as the main performance predictors, but also if we get under consideration person’s other personality traits.
 
Whenever an organisation is hiring new workers, they’re really peering into the unknown. Often a hiring manager has very limited information about the applicants who apply for their positions.
For example, they might have a cover letter or maybe a resume. Or they might have managed to get some information from a referee. At the end of the day, a hiring manager has to make a prediction about how well a prospective applicant will perform on the basis of this limited information.
This is where all the above comes handy…
 
 
 

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