performance management

How to Spot an Uncoachable Employee

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The business world is challenging enough as it is, but what happens when your business depends on employees who might not be that open for cooperation? If you don’t react in time to stop a disaster, you are potentially looking at your business suffering a significant loss, both financially, and concerning your company morale.

If you’re looking to gather the best possible team around you, here are a few things to be on the lookout for when coaching your new employees, to help you avoid getting stuck with an uncoachable group.

They Can’t Take (Negative) Feedback

One of the first clues you are stuck with an employee who’ll give you headaches is that they get defensive in feedback situations. Usually, they’ll become overly emotional, tune out, and try to “explain” and “justify” their poor performance by finding excuses irrelevant to work (e.g., their cat got sick, and they’ve been so stressed lately.)

They Find Blame Elsewhere

Finding blame in everyone and everything outside yourself is usually indicative of a poor performer. They often aren’t interested in doing much for their personal growth, whether individually or as part of your team. They’ll won’t take accountability for their mistakes and, when criticized, they’ll take it as a personal offense, rather than an opportunity for improvement.

They Exploit Personal Relationships

Everyone has been in this situation. A friend’s daughter needed the job, so you were kind enough to let her join your team. After all, you’ve known the kid her whole life, so how could she not be right for the job, right? Ah, the naivete.

If the person you gave this opportunity to keeps ditching responsibilities and shunning the advice you give them, their work should speak louder than existing relationships. Furthermore, if you hear them acting superior with their colleagues because they know you, you’ll have a problem in the long run. If you want to hire someone you know, have a serious talk with them before they start working, and explain they’ll be treated just like any other employee.

They Are Unwilling to Be Vulnerable

To truly progress at work (and in life!) you need to be humble and vulnerable. This requires an openness to admitting your mistakes, asking for help, experiencing discomfort, and having difficult conversations. These are the ingredients that make up your professional and personal relationships. If your employees are too proud to communicate and show their true feelings, they most likely don’t have the potential for growth, and won’t be able to take your coaching seriously.

They Have a Hard Time Changing Their Perspective

As human beings, we are mostly driven by our unconscious mechanisms and “pre-programmed” beliefs. Employees who are open to “re-programming,” i.e., learning new ways of looking at a situation, or being wired for success, are real keepers! In opening up to new perspectives, knowledge, and information, they are expanding their overall understanding of things at work and outside of it, and learning to detect behaviors and beliefs that could potentially sabotage them. Employees who are stubborn in their views are likely the same employees that’ll give you a headache in the long run.

They Think They Are Better Than They Are

The job market is beaming with applications of people looking for jobs of all kinds. This means that plenty of “overqualified” employees take a job that pays rent, while hating every single moment of it. Such an attitude will lead to them feeling superior,not only to other employees, but their leaders as well. Letting these attitudes linger can cause uncomfortable situations and an unproductive work environment.

No matter how intelligent, educated, and smart your employee is, they also need to be adaptable to coaching. And for the C-suite leaders and managers reading this - that includes you. It’s important for companies to think twice before hiring a person who believes they are better than the job they are doing.

Building a team that functions like a well-oiled machine can be tough but if you have uncoachable, ego-driven and stubborn people on the team, you’re going to experience constant friction. When you spot the above signs in employees, you need to take a step back and do an honest assessment of the negative impact that this individual can have on the team, and the company’s growth. After all, your team is the foundation of your business, and one bad apple might just ruin the bunch.


High-Performing vs. Mediocre Leaders: 5 Key Characteristics That Separate Them

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"The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor but without folly." - Jim Rohn

For decades organizations have been suffocated by mediocre, personal-interest-driven, questionably competent leaders, creating unhealthy work environments and leaving employees frustrated and unmotivated, and the workplace unimpressive.

For everyone who values an inspiring workplace, the 21st-century brought about a change in the overall business culture and attitudes towards all things work. Today’s high-performing leader empowers employees, and values healthy personal relationships, inclusion, and diversity. Respect and kindness matter to her, and they trump arrogance, ego and superiority.

If you are an aspiring leader, or are already one, here are some things to keep in mind if you want to avoid being a mediocre leader.

Drop the ‘My-Way-Or-The-Highway’ Manner

No one likes a smart a$$, especially not at the office. Instead of adopting the last-century-favored “I know this” attitude, try  something more powerful like “do we know this?” when talking to your team.

Take your employees’ suggestions, start a two-way conversation, and engage with the people you work with, instead of making them work for you. Everyone loves to be included in brainstorming and decision-making, and when your team starts feeling inspired by your knowledge, approach, and respect, you’ll get a team that functions like a well-oiled machine.

As Kevin Kruse, the bestselling co-author of WeHow to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement put it - “...it takes both the employee and the manager to create a thriving culture that fosters feelings of full engagement.”

Stay Grounded

The fact that you are a leader could mean you did something better than someone else. However, it could also mean someone in your team who hasn’t applied for the position is currently doing it better than you.

One of the crucial elements of being a high-performing leader is staying modest and grounded. You want to observe your team as a chance to build something together, challenge and inspire each other, and learn to work as one.

The more approachable and grounded you are, the more human you appear. And that means one thing: your people will treat you as a trusted leader instead of an annoying boss they hate.

Don’t Ever Stop Learning

Take a lesson from John F.Kennedy and understand that "leadership and learning are indispensable to each other."

The moment you stop learning is the time you consciously decide to end your journey to personal development, knowledge, and satisfaction.

To be the best in your field, and a leader whose judgment, advice and decision employees trust, you need to have experience that backs up your decisions. Keep learning things relevant to the technical aspects of your role, and the leadership end of the stick. Becoming better never hurt anyone.

Be Your Employees’ Support System

Employees everywhere are fed up with bully bosses who conveniently take out their frustrations on them by exercising the weird amount of power they’ve been granted by their positions. A mindful, respectful and understanding approach to handling your employees will go a long way. Give them a reason to trust you and come to you, no matter how delicate  the subject they want to initiate.

Employees who are not afraid of their bosses are the employees that build the foundation of a thriving business.

Encourage Growth

The most significant resource you’ll ever have are your people. Encourage their dreams, listen to their feedback, and be there to help them find a way (not necessarily your way). Empower everyone to give the best they can, and embrace innovation and freedom of expression as their primary business tools.

Growth happens outside the comfort zone, and it requires leaders to practice before they preach. Push yourself to grow from your successes and your mistakes.

If your actions inspire others to learn more, do more, dream more, and become more, consider yourself a great leader.

Being a high-performing leader means being there for your people through the big stuff and the everyday challenges. Mediocre leaders pretend to have the answers and end up with bruised egos when they’re challenged. Superstars find comfort in not knowing it all but in surrounding themselves with great people who do.

If you’re a superstar, you’ll accept that there will be times when you’ll be wrong or challenged, and learn how to navigate the roads on which you might not know the answers. Find inspiration in every team discussion, and respect varying perspectives.

Be the type of leader your employees would want to work for if you ever decide to move.

 

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Simone Brown is a performance coach who helps leaders and teams increase productivity. Her approach is grounded in  behavioural and brain-based strategies. She believes success isn’t just about talents and smarts, it’s about the development of emotional intelligence. Simone is also a speaker, and talks about topics such as emotional intelligence, millennials, and the importance of purpose.

Employee Engagement: Beyond Beer, Wings, and Bowling

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Every reputable company should understand the importance of company culture. The way you communicate your company’s values, vision, belief system, habits, and employee treatment mirrors your company’s culture and captures the essence of your business.

In today’s competitive marketplace, employee engagement has emerged as a critical factor for business success, and is observed as a direct result of the company’s core culture, i.e., its attitude towards the employees it hires. The employee equation of your workplace is simple: if your employees aren’t happy, your business will suffer.

According to Gallup’s 2013 study on the State of the Global Workplace, “only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work” which translates to just one in eight employees contributing to their organizational goals or outcomes. The study further notes a staggering 63% of employees who altogether lack motivation in their workplace. Gallup concludes that “people spend a substantial part of their lives working,” meaning that “the quality of their workplace experience is inevitably reflected in the quality of their lives.”

Employees Need More

Organizing team building activities like a karaoke night, wings, beer, or poker tournaments generally sounds fun, but they don’t cut it anymore. These days, we have a highly disengaged workforce because people aren’t satisfied. They need to feel like their work is valued and that they are a part of a team they can trust and rely on. A sense of security plays a huge role.

No one wants to feel threatened for communicating their thoughts differently than others, asking for their rightfully-earned benefits, or feeling ridiculed for having a different approach to work than their colleagues. Soft skills are taking dominance in the workplace, and smart leaders are embracing tolerance, inclusion, and understanding as their core leadership mottos.

Encourage Two-Way Communication

Airbnb has managed to create a fantastic company culture due to its unrelenting belief in honest, two-way communication. As one of the owners, Levy, explained, “our rule of thumb is that nobody should hear about anything externally until we’ve told them internally.” The company organizes bi-weekly world meetings outside of San Francisco and joins everyone on a live stream.

Every new movement within the company is distributed broadly, and “people really appreciate knowing what we’re talking about, asking questions, and sharing thoughts and ideas.” Levy further noted, "that stems from our communication philosophy that we want to have an honest, open and two-way dialogue between everyone in the company." Similarly to Airbnb, Google and Apple encourage the same type of communication that lets the employees in on everything going on within the company, treating them more as “partners in crime” than “regular employees.”

Build Your Culture Through Belonging

The modern office should no longer cultivate nor encourage the climate of employee fear, dissatisfaction, and frustration. Like Bill Gates put it, “...leaders will be those who empower others.” No matter how fun a workplace you build, if your people don’t feel like a part of your business structure or aren’t comfortable around people they work with, they’ll create cliques that will further lead to the deterioration of your office structure.

Introducing mindfulness, awareness, and understanding in the workplace before organizing a joint field trip to the nearby amusement park could be the way to go.

Rethink the Concept of “Employee Engagement”

In the words of Josh Bersin, “the days of the annual engagement survey are slowly coming to an end, to be replaced by a much more holistic, integrated, and real-time approach to measuring and driving high levels of employee commitment and passion.” Hopefully, things are gradually moving towards understanding the importance of employee happiness and working to build a supportive environment that will make them feel safe and wanted.

Create a Homogeneous Environment

Titles do matter, but do they matter more than the employees themselves? It is not uncommon for the title-chasing enthusiasts to climb up the corporate ladder faster than the others, leaving “the less enthusiastic” employees behind and, in doing so, creating a very uncomfortable work environment.

Big companies might want to consider eliminating official titles to encourage their unlimited creativity and commitment. "The minute people start talking about job titles, or are more interested in equity over changing the world through connecting people …, we know that they are probably barking up the wrong tree," said Levy of Airbnb.

Create a Culture of Fandom

The founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, created a culture of fandom, turning it into possibly the best employment strategy ever. Honestly, who would make a better employee for your company than an admiring fan? Add company discounts, gifts and other company-related goodies handed out to the employees for free, and you get a group of enthusiastic and encouraged employees who are over the moon to come to work.

Focus on Employee Encouragement and Development

At Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson encourages an atmosphere of positivity and employee encouragement: “I have always believed that the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers and that people flourish when they are praised.” Apple also focuses on their employees’ contribution (i.e., the number of projects they’ve worked on) rather than the longevity of their employment at the firm, encouraging them to feel like part of the Apple family.

It is no surprise that engaged employees are fostering customer loyalty, promoting retention and improving organizational performance. The more involved they are, the more likely they are to put in the extra effort. To keep your employees happy and turn your business into a thriving unit, make employee engagement your business imperative.

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Simone Brown is a performance coach who helps leaders and teams increase productivity. Her approach is grounded in  behavioural and brain-based strategies. She believes success isn’t just about talents and smarts, it’s about the development of emotional intelligence. Simone is also a speaker, and talks about topics such as emotional intelligence, millennials, and the importance of purpose.

Toxic Employees: How to Detect and Deal with Them

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Charles interrupts Anne during her presentation and makes a snarky remark. The next day when Anne enters the lunch room he stops mid-sentence, and the people he is talking to go silent. As soon as Anne makes her coffee and leaves, she hears him whispering and snickering with co-workers.

No matter what form they take, you can be 100% certain that toxic employees are affecting your organization’s performance?

A study in a Forbes article,  indicates that rude employees and workplace incivility costs companies about $14,000 per employee due to lost productivity and work time.

If you’re in a positon of leadership and not paying close attention to this problem, you’re actively hindering the success of your company.

The first step to addressing this issue is detecting the people that are killing your workplace culture and probably causing the good ones to question if they’re working in the right organization.  

The bully

If you think that bullies only exist in schools, you’re wrong. In fact, according to research by Dr. Judy Blando from the University of Phoenix, 75% of employees surveyed had been affected by workplace bullying, whether as a target or a witness.

The bully isn’t always the scariest person on the team; in fact, they can come off as charismatic. The bullies in your office are the ones making fun of others. Some of them do it lightheartedly because they’re trying to get a laugh.

Then there are the worse kind of office bullies; they're the ones who corner others, make them feel bad, feed on their insecurities, and manipulate them to do their work for them.

The whiner

Employees should be encouraged to have a voice to share their concerns and grievances. It's ok to stand up for what is right; however, there's a difference between speaking up against something that is wrong and whining about something you personally don't like.

The whiner has to let everyone know when they’re unhappy about something. They may not agree with a policy or don’t like the new software everyone is expected to transition too. Whiners complain in the hopes that they find someone to agree with them so that they can be miserable together.

The yeller

Not every organization has yellers; the ones that do will tell you they’re no fun. They’re the ones who lose their temper easily. They shout at co-workers or even at people they’re on the phone with. They sometimes get away with it by claiming they’re “just having a bad day.”

Whether they’ve got something going on in their personal lives or they just lose it under stressful situations, it’s still uncomfortable for the people who have to witness their breakdowns.

The slacker

There’s nothing wrong with taking a break occasionally; in fact, it’s good for productivity. But imagine someone who looks like their breaks last longer than the actual time they work. These are the ones surfing the net all day or hanging out in the break room shooting the breeze. The reason these people are toxic is that their laziness can be infectious.

The gossipmonger

The gossipmonger is one of the most toxic of the bunch. Some gossip for giggles, while others do it to manipulate colleagues. Gossipmongers are the ones who treat the office like a soap opera, injecting drama and intrigue in everything for their own entertainment.

Gossipmongers thrive on attention and are constantly looking for anyone to exchange dirt with. While some of the stuff they say is true, there’s never a good reason why people in the office need to know about other’s private business.

Dealing with Toxic Employees

Before you confront a toxic employee, establish their pattern of behavior and document instances when their behavior has negatively impacted others.

Everyone has a story. And as irritating and poisonous as the toxic employee is, they have one too. Some people might not be self-aware. The ones who are willing to acknowledge their actions and express willingness to change, are the ones worth having a second conversation with.

Dylan Minor, an assistant professor at the Kellogg School of Management, tells Harvard Business Review, “A manager can use this information to coach the person, or suggest resources to help address the root of the problem.”

If an employee is coachable, help them work through the behaviours holding them, and others back. Make sure their intention is honest though.

Someone who wants to change just to save their job (and reputation) isn’t changing for the right reasons. Make sure it’s because they believe in self-improvement . If they’re a high performer, you might consider hiring a coach to help them with a plan for improvement.

In situations where the toxic employee has already been called out for their behavior and they still haven’t demonstrated willingness to change, it’s time to show them the door.

The cost of onboarding a new employee might cross your mind but think about the cost of not letting them go. You could end up losing your star-performers if your company culture isn’t healthy.