Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Manager Skills: Giving Feedback to Employees Is Hard for Me

Is it difficult for you to give feedback to employees about their work performance? Perhaps you think that they will take it personally? Maybe you are afraid of their defensiveness or perhaps ignore you and leave you in the difficult position of confronting them again or deciding to forget the whole matter.

Well, you're not alone in your concern about giving feedback. To make manager skills easier, try what is known as the "sandwiching technique." You won't find too manager supervisor training course modules that teach it.

This technique of providing constructive feedback or correction of an employee's performance allows the message your sending to be received more easily by "sandwiching" the unfavorable comments between favorable comments. For example, say: "Nancy, I've been pleased with the way you've stepped up the speed of assembling the monthly reports. You've made real improvement there. I am concerned, however, about the quality. There are frequently mistakes in the charts that need to be corrected. I hope you'll work to improve the quality as well as speed. I feel good about your attitude toward the schedule we are trying to keep, so I know you'll do fine." Notice how the message you wanted to communicate was placed between two true but positive statements. This technique reduces defensiveness and makes your feedback more acceptable, particularly with employees who are more sensitive toward constructive criticism. This manager skill will serve you well and reduce your stress

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Granting or Zapping the "I-Want-A-Raise" Question

You know how it is. Your employee comes to you and wants a raise. You say no, and the employee goes away mad. Your relationship is tarnished and both of you lose. You know there is no way for the employee to get a raise, but the employee is not seeing it your way.

Let's help the employee be a bit more effective and mature in their request, even if there is no chance of getting a raise. Then you can address the request in writing and call it a day.

No employee should be verbally requesting a raise. This is simply inappropriate. A raise is money. Nowhere do we ask for more money on this planet without putting it in writing and giving to the person who then decides whether to give it to us. Somehow along the way, many employees decided that this is a function of an oral request. So, ask the employee to do the following.

I guarantee that if the raise is not warranted, the employee will figure it out as they write up the request. A certain number of employees will never do it. And others will be much more likely to accept your rejection of the request. The bottom line is that you are going to reduce your stress and unwarranted requests by 85% with this approach.

In the end, you will get a better relationship.

Tell the employees, "There is no promise that I can get you a raise, but it is appropriate for such a request to be in writing. Here is the proper outline. Please submit it to me and I will review it:

1) Provide a statement of original duties and responsibilities for the position;

2) And than a statement of your present duties and responsibilities for the position;


3) identify each new duty and how it demonstrates increased responsibility, not workload. Responsibility means in this instance "liable for accountability to the work organization". Give this example to your employee orally,

"Imagine if your boss is director of the Sharpened Pencils Unit of the company and assigns you the task of sharpening 500 pencils. He or she is directing your work but is responsible for delivering the 500 pencils. The accountability for the work goal is the supervisor to the organization. You are the sharpener.

If your boss asks you to sharpen 600 pencils this is more work, but it does not increase your responsibility in the corporate sense anymore than being asked stay a half hour longer after work increases your responsibility for the work you accomplish during that half hour. Understand?"

Please provide me with this document whenever you like.

Note how your employee producing this document and giving it to you will permit a more logical discussion and make your life easier, teach the employee a valuable lesson, and more likely help you preserve an effective relationship. The employee may still be mad, but he or she will know down inside that you are teaching a lesson and managing his or her request fairly. Find a supervisor training course that gives you helpful and practical tips like this at