Today’s leaders are hired not just to manage people but to coach them and develop their potential. If you can’t do that you probably won’t be promoted.
Here’s a case in point:
Forward-thinking companies like General Electric and Microsoft are moving away from annual performance reviews. For one thing, they’ve figured out that for feedback to be effective it has to be given in the moment, on the spot, not a year after the employee exhibits behavior you want to see improved.
That’s why I am busy these days “shadowing” some of my executive clients on the job, during real meetings, presentations, and workplace interactions. I can observe them in their real-world element and give specific, highly applicable guidance, strategies, and techniques. It speeds up their development tremendously and often gets immediately measureable positive results as I show them exactly how to practice these new leadership and executive presence skills.
But here’s the rub. The trend away from quarterly or annual evaluations presents a predicament for many up-and-coming leaders like yourself. What’s the problem? Companies want leaders with the mindset, confidence, and “how-to” knowledge to not just give orders. To lead in today’s environment you have to know how to coach individuals and teams – on a daily basis – to get more productivity and performance. Simply put, leaders need to get busy acquiring outstanding soft skills. It is not enough to conduct an annual review of an employee and then consider your job done.
Feedback Still Rules
Annual performance reviews are on the way out, but feedback has not lost its value. In fact, it’s more critical than ever in enhancing performance – particularly when you work in an organization that has stopped using the traditional performance review.
Where do you get the vital input you need regarding your leadership development and the skill sets you require to get promoted to the next level? That’s a million-dollar question that too few of today’s high potential executives are asking themselves.
I’ve broadcast the message for decades that you should not depend solely on your performance review feedback. Bosses and supervisors generally don’t give enough specific and candid information during those reviews to help you advance. Many don’t give the rest of the year, either, and they are the leaders whose careers are in jeopardy.
Why Don’t Leaders Give Useful Feedback?
The end result is that during a typical performance review you’ll never figure out what practical steps you need to take to make progress and win the promotions you want and deserve. Trust me, unless you have a really rare leader overseeing you, your boss doesn’t want to engage in that uncomfortable dialog.
There is way too much at stake, because awkward conversations are a high-risk. One misstep can land a leader in trouble with HR or the legal department. They probably have other things on their mind anyway – like their own career progress and next promotion.
Ask and You Shall Receive
If you want a honest assessment you’re going to have to know exactly what questions to ask – and be able to ask them in a safe and supportive environment. That’s one of the main reasons why major corporations reach out to coaches such as myself, who specialize in development of high performance leaders, to provide that kind of insight and feedback.
My job is to help leaders like yourself improve their situations, develop a more impactful and natural executive presence, and get into position for greater responsibility and more lucrative compensation. If I don’t accomplish that then my reputation will go up in smoke.
The Bottom Line
But unless you’re been specially trained at this kind of sensitive communication you can do more harm than good to your employees, their career potential, and your reputation as a team leader. You must know how to finesse these vital conversations and impart actionable feedback to your team members.
Otherwise you might be passed over because you lack today’s leadership communication skills. I do not want that happen to you. So give me a call if you hit an impasse and realize you need someone to give you that executive leadership advantage to propel you quickly to the next level.
As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified image master (CIM) and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Consulting, provides leading-edge image and brand management strategies for top leaders and high achievers who wish to take their career to the next level. She also delivers innovative and inspiring corporate workshops to assist large organizations in strengthening their corporate brand. Illustra Consulting Copyright © 2016, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIM, CPBS 1-800-267-3245, [email protected] This article may be reproduced only in it’s entirety, including the above bio.