Leaders Experiment

One of my favorite leadership experiments happened when I was a band teacher. If you know my origin story, you know there was a time when I was a very negative leader. Part of the turn-around in the late 1990’s involved the revelation of the power of positive feedback. I decided to do a radical … Read more

An Idea for Leaders to Talk Feedback

Here’s an idea for a team-building activity, with an added bonus— It can start the conversation about how important and welcome performance feedback is. First, ahead of time, ask each participant to come prepared with examples of two bits of feedback they’ve received in their career: One item that seemed harsh at the time, but … Read more

Leaders Consider the Source

When you survey people, formally or informally, beware this common trap: All responses are equally credible. Leaders can get distracted when looking at customer surveys, or employee engagement surveys, based on their own frame of mind at the time. Sometimes, we’re looking for the best, perhaps for reassurance, or to confirm our own biases. In … Read more

Reconsider the Performance Review

“What if feedback were so frequent that performance reviews became irrelevant?” This is one of my tweets from awhile back. I don’t have the data anymore, but it was the most re-tweeted tweet of my entire tweeting career. It struck a nerve. At the recent Professional Development Conference for the Central Iowa Chapter of the … Read more

Leaders Avoid This Double Standard

The following is an example of a common scene in my sessions with leaders. Me: Raise your hand if you’ve ever said or thought something like this: “If someone has an issue with me or my work, tell me to my face. Don’t hold back or talk about it behind my back; give it to … Read more

Own Your Tough Statements

There are certain words and phrases that can get us on the defensive before we even know what the topic is. One of the big ones is “No offense, but…” And related cushions followed by the word but. Remember that people on tight teams can handle tough talk. It’s okay for you to deliver tough … Read more