How to Give Constructive Feedback

One of the toughest parts of a manager’s job is giving employees constructive feedback. But it’s also one of the most important superpowers managers must improve.

Without good feedback, workers won’t grow. Whether it’s positive or negative, employees need to know where they stand. For our purposes, we’ll use the example of a superhero who has excelled at giving feedback: Charles “Professor X” Xavier, the founder and leader of the X-Men.

For years, Professor X has run a private school that trains mutants and turns them into superheroes like you. It’s not an easy job – he just makes it look easy. Here are four tips to give better feedback like the leader of the X-Men: [Read more…]

3 Secrets to Choosing Your Battles Wisely

Batman has the Joker. Spiderman has the Green Goblin. Superman has Lex Luthor.

Just because you’re a hero doesn’t mean you have to get along with everybody.

Conflicts happen. These superheroes had their nemeses, and, as the hero of your workplace, you probably have yours.

Whether it’s a difference of opinion, conflicting personalities, or even a flat-out argument, people don’t agree all the time – especially when there are multiple people clamoring for leadership, eager to prove themselves. (If a group was meant to have more than one leader, Professor X and Magneto probably would’ve gotten along a whole lot better!) [Read more…]

When good employee’s success becomes negative

Shy, but eager, employee lets success go to her head

Part of being a good manager is coaxing average performers to overachieve.

And generally that’s a good thing.

But with some employees, a little success can go to their heads – and create major headaches for managers. [Read more…]

Natural-born whiner: When other employees have had enough

Will minor complaints escalate into something bigger?

Some folks are just natural-born whiners. It makes no difference how well things are going, they always find small, annoying things to complain about.

While most of it is harmless, it can wear on your patience. And if allowed to continue, it could fester into a wider morale problem. [Read more…]

When to deal with unacceptable behavior

Whining is a warning of a more serious problem

Let’s face it. Most change isn’t part of a grand strategic plan.

It occurs every time you make new hire.

Of course, we try to hire folks who’ll fit in and make us better. But sometimes a single person alters the group chemistry in a way that hurts the operation.

And it’s not always the new hire who is the culprit. [Read more…]

When an overblown ego wears on everyone’s patience

No matter how we do it, only her way is the right way

We’re all trying to hire A-players who’ll help our organizations move to the next level.

But integrating a new A-player into a room already filled with other A- and B-players can sometimes be challenging. Egos can be bruised and feathers ruffled during the transition. [Read more…]

Good worker, bad attitude: How one employee can hurt morale

Prima donna dashes off scathing e-mail that blasts co-worker

We chuckle when we read about celebrity prima donnas, but it’s not so funny when the prima donnas work for us.

You know the type: Lots of talent, quality work, but arrogant and totally self-absorbed.

They’re the greatest. Everyone else stinks. [Read more…]

Making sure you get the answers you need

Some employees hold onto information like it’s a state secret. But asking the right kinds of questions – not just the right questions – can help get it out.

And sometimes the best questions aren’t really questions. They’re commands in disguise.

Open-ended questions help

Open-ended questions tend to produce answers beyond “yes” and “no” and “I don’t know” They start with words like: [Read more…]

New employee intimidated by hard-working veteran: What to do?

Predecessor worked outrageous hours and thinks she should too

Employees who work long hours can be valuable. But they should come with warning labels.

Not only can they burn themselves out, they also can intimidate co-workers who feel pressure to keep up.

That’s the situation Jill Cooper faced when relatively new hire admitted she was intimidated by her predecessor. [Read more…]

Reading the riot act: 5 tips for doing it effectively

There’s a time for polite coaching and then there’s a time where you just have to lay down the law.

Perhaps your employees are breaking the rules, no matter how many times you tell them.

Or maybe an employee’s actions have cost your company a lot of money.

Let ’em hear it – the right way

Here are five tips managers can follow to make sure their speech actually hits home [Read more…]