I’m fortunate in my position as CEO within a privately held direct response company to be in a position that affords me the privilege of being candid and honest with my staff.
I communicate with no hidden agenda or the need to play games (unless you unless you consider negotiation to include restraining myself from lunging across the table and wanting to choke someone who is acting dumb…or using all the techniques I learned in Acting 101 to invoke a sincere stare at someone demonstrating their incredible sense of denial, game playing.)
I can also be candid and honest at my ripe old age by claiming the “older and wiser” card.
On another note, I firmly believe that negative events, conflicts with staff, conflicts with clients, conflicts with suppliers and even conflicts with friends and family are ALWAYS AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE and even strengthen RELATIONSHIPS…an opportunity to engage in, and not run from that which can be constructive.
Taking this position in life by turning conflict into opportunities brings me to the point of today’s post.
It strikes me as odd that those managers and others who serve as role models and mentors to others do not see opportunities day-to-day, week-to-week to provide constructive criticism and to cite improvement opportunities incrementally, so that there is NOT what I call “annual review log-jam.”
It’s unfortunate having to observe the hand wringing, the anguish, the unneeded stress of a manager who anticipates an annual review with their subordinate, that they would rather avoid . An even greater travesty is the review that may not be particularly negative, but one that may be uneventful or simply satisfactory; you know, neither bad nor incredible (much to the disappointment of the subordinate).
It’s unfortunate to see the look of shell shock from a staffer whose annual review came nowhere close to their expectation. Right?
People you steward and mentor need to be provided constant and ongoing feedback at every juncture, when each opportunity presents itself.
You know, that moment at the end of the day or after a tough meeting when people are closing up. Or when people are just beginning their day.
Take a couple of minutes to let them know where they may have fallen short on something or where they excelled in something.
Do it weekly, if not daily. Do it with a positive attitude…in bits and pieces…and be ready to listen and maybe question.
Little doses of good and maybe some bad…but ongoing.
So, why wait to unload?
With a constant helping hand and an eye for that quiet moment or sense of timing to engage, one can save oneself so much awkwardness and disappointment at the quarterly, bi-annual or annual review.
Most importantly, you will save yourself from surprises (dunno about you, but I hate surprises).
Ongoing input presented in a constructive way is the hallmark of a real leader/mentor. Rocking people’s worlds with shock and awe should be reserved for soldiers on the battlefield.
George Lizama, a founder of Production Solutions and its CEO and chief marketing officer, has spent over 30 years in production management. A recognized leader in the fundraising industry, George served as president of the Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DMAW) in 2010 and received its Distinguished Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, he received a Washington Business Journal Philanthropy Award for CEO Leadership, partly in recognition of his longtime support of Northern Virginia Family Service, of which he is a director.