The Trouble with Annual Reviews

Occasionally it’s nice to hear from your boss or co-workers that you did a good job. Too often, however, it’s a rare occasion to receive an “ata boy” (or girl) from anyone. More likely if someone comes to you (your boss in particular) it’s to ring your neck or point his/her finger for some unexpected problem that “you” caused. The other time you are likely to hear feedback is during your performance review. Let me be brutally honest with you: I despise formal performance appraisals. I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Many management professionals are coming forward expressing concerns with the effectiveness of performance appraisals.

Business Nightmares - Part 1

What IS a Business Nightmare?

A business nightmare is any situation that is preventing your business or your division or your department from maximizing its potential.  Let’s quickly break this down. Business Nightmares: I use Business because it involves anything that impacts the business.  I use Nightmares, because nightmares are personal and sometimes scary.

Have you ever been roused from a scary dream, thanking the stars that it was only a dream and none of it was real?

Fairness Is Essential To People's Productivity

Treating people fairly is essential to getting the most out of people. Not only is treating people fair the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. Even though fairness is very subjective, you should still pay attention to how fair you treat the people in your business. People, by nature, constantly evaluate themselves against the world around them and determine whether or not they are treated fairly. Fair pay, fair performance reviews...


Business Nightmares - Emotions Part 2

In this second part on Emotions I will briefly explain the science behind the effects of our emotions and some suggestions for controlling them.

In the previous module we learned three very important points about our emotions:

  1. Our emotions have great impact on how we act and what we focus on;
  2. How others act toward us, and how we act toward others can profoundly change our emotional state.
  3. When our emotional state is elevated we are not giving our best efforts.


One More Time-How Do I Motivate People?

Very few people in this world have the luxury of working for fun. Most of us work in order to pay the bills that provide food, shelter, and occasional recreation. We work to survive. We work because we have no choice. Depending on your personal situation, not working would cause many to wind up on the streets, losing their homes, their families, and their friends – and some do. Since we really have no other alternative, we might as well try to make the best of the situation, and that’s what we do. Some say working is not who we are, it is what we do. I concur. But since “what we do” takes up approximately 1/3 of our lives, it behooves us to...

Taking Responsibility For The Success AND Failures Of Your Team

...when the leaders in the company take full responsibility for the failures in the company, they begin to act like true leaders.  Anyone can blame people for mistakes, but true leaders take responsibility and initiate action to make corrections and improvements.  Some argue that they do not have control over everyone in the company, and that they can’t be responsible for someone that does not perform or has a poor attitude.  They say, “Is it my fault that Sally won’t do as she is told?”  Or, “Should I be responsible for John whose sales keep declining?”  The answer is a resounding…

Being A Good Leader Is NOT Up To You

Leader sitting at table in a meeting.So, do you think you are a good leader? Well, the sad fact is that we don’t get to decide if we should be called a good leader. We might try to do the right things. We may work hard at communicating, sharing ideas, encouraging people, team building, and a whole host of other qualities deemed to be attributes of good leadership. However, besides the fact that there seems to be no universal agreement about the definition of good leadership (or just leadership for that matter), if you are a leader, then chances are you believe you are a good leader by your own standards.

It’s true. Just as we all believe we are brilliant in our own minds, once we step into a leadership role we believe we are good at it. After all, we must be good leaders since we were promoted to a leadership role. The leaders that promoted us must also be good leaders and they, therefore, must know good leadership when they see it. Unfortunately, this fairytale that we tell ourselves lulls us in to a false sense of capability regarding our leadership talent.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that there aren’t good leaders out there. There are lots of them. It’s just that we, as leaders, don’t have the luxury of making that determination.

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Focus On The System NOT The People

Everything we do, from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed, contributes to a complex system.  When you go to the grocery store, for instance, and buy a loaf of bread, you are only one part of a system.  Your contribution came at the tail end of the system.  Before buying that loaf of bread, a lot had to happen.  Flour was shipped to the bread maker; dough was created, baked, cooled, and sliced.  It was packaged, stacked, boxed, and shipped.  It was delivered to the grocery store...

New California Anti-Bullying Law Puts Business Leaders On Notice

New California Anti-Bullying Law Puts Business Leaders On NoticeBy Bill Koza

Anyone reading my previous posts will notice a slant towards the negative effects of bad leadership. Bad leadership includes treating people with disrespect, humiliation, abuse and a host of other incivilities. Now, California has enacted a law, AB2053, which requires employers with 50 or more employees to include workplace bullying training to employees and supervisors.

The law defines abusive conduct as:

  • Repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets;
  • Verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating; or
  • Gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance.

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Caring IS Part of the Job Description

From the book CEO Priorities. Mastering the Art of Surviving at the Top by Neil Giarratana

Give credit where credit is due. In any of your official speeches about the company, make a conscious effort to include, when talking about specific projects, specific people and their contribution in your remarks. It is nice to hear about creating new jobs and the economy and the percentage growth of the company sales last quarter, but get it down to the credible and human level. Everybody knows the “top line strut;” they have heard it a thousand times. But imagine the motivational effect that citing the names of your employees in speeches or press releases will have not only on those employees but also on the attitude of the people around them who see that outstanding performance.