When Clear Feedback Delivers No Change

Feedback

Joe MullI was leading a half-day workshop for new healthcare managers at a practice group in the Midwest recently, when one of the participants, Marilyn, shared her frustration with how an underperforming direct report, Sue, was responding to feedback.

“Every time I address these issues with her,” Marilyn said, “Sue responds with deep anguish. She tells me how awful she feels, acknowledging that she knows she’s letting everyone down. She’s remorseful and apologetic, almost to the point of making herself a martyr. Then she goes out and…nothing changes..”

Despite multiple feedback conversations with Marilyn, Sue continues to show up late, not complete all of her responsibilities, and make errors along the way.

“She seems to genuinely feel badly, but I’m pretty fed up at this point,” Marilyn told me.

“Then it’s time,” I told her, “to stop discussing incidents and start discussing the pattern.” Continue reading

Are You Brave Enough as a Leader?

braveryThis weekend my daughter (who is almost 5) asked me a thoughtful question at dinner.

“Daddy, what is bravery?”

Several thoughts flashed through my mind in an instant. I wanted to give her an answer simplistic enough for her to understand but accurate enough to address the complexity of her question.

Bravery is when you’re not afraid, I thought, then immediately rejected that answer. “Bravery isn’t the absence of fear!,” my mind yelled. “Most people who have to be brave admit to also being quite scared at the same time!”

I decided at that moment to use a definition of the word courage I’d heard years earlier. Continue reading

Dealing with an Abrasive Doc

shouting doctorOnce I month I visit a local physicians practice group for 2 hours of leadership training and real-time performance management coaching. At one of these sessions, a Practice Manager asked me about a frustrating situation with a doctor, one that is, unfortunately, all too common.

”What do I do with a doc that constantly goes crazy on us?”

He described a physician who has angry, confrontational reactions to any and all hiccups, delays, questions, or problems that arise during the course of the day. Large, small, or common, it doesn’t matter. These violent outbursts are regular, predictable, and are directed toward the staff much of the time. This behavior has resulted in a constant quest, by the staff, to avoid this man at all costs. They all dread the days when they are scheduled to work under him.

So what’s a leader to do? Here are 5 strategies to Deal with an Abrasive Doc: Continue reading

Resilience: A 2 Year Old Knows How

Miles

Miles had a rough morning.

This morning was like any other: my wife and I each getting ready for work while feeding and dressing the kids and gathering all the lunches and supplies necessary to get us all out the door on time and prepared for the day.  Then…a monkey-wrench:

My 2 year old son ralphed all over the living room floor.

If you have kids then you know we simultaneously experienced profound sympathy for our poor little guy, the “oh-crap-we-don’t-have-time-for-this” shifting of priorities, and of course the minor gross out that accompanies a milk-and-cereal upchuck.   Continue reading

Exit Interviews Are Stupid. Stop Doing Them.

exit-interview-293jt020112It’s a bit absurd if you think about it.

The employee who has chosen to leave is consulted as to the direction and performance of the team and organization.

Doesn’t really make a lot of sense, does it?

We assume that, freed from the need for self-preservation, these departing employees will shine a light on what’s really going on in the unit or practice. That these interviews, when compiled, will identify patterns or prevalent issues in need of reform.

Here’s an idea. How about asking your current employees? Continue reading

Employee Engagement: It Ain’t About the Money, Folks…

pay and bonusesLast week I came across a LinkedIn article given high visibility on what drives employee engagement. The author’s three suggestions were 1) share profit info with employees so they can see their impact; 2) hold events like summer picnics to bring together a family atmosphere; and 3) share success in the form of monetary gifts like bonuses and gift certificates.

While #2 is spot on (cultivating team relationships is key to engagement), #1 and #3 miss the mark. Profits and bonuses are extrinsic motivators. While they certainly serve a purpose and can result in short-term gains in performance, employee engagement depends on our ability to tap into intrinsic motivation in each employee.  Continue reading

Coaching vs Mentoring vs Feedback: What’s the Difference?

Coaching and MentoringBrowsing Twitter, LinkedIn, or your favorite business blog these days subjects you to a barrage of advice about what you should be doing to lead more effectively. Become a coach to maximize the performance of your team! Nurture a mentoring culture to bring the best out in people! Give constant feedback to engage employees effectively! But which one should you be focusing on? What’s the difference between them? Here’s a quick rundown:  Continue reading