I remember being in organizations (physically present, I mean!) and hearing that question. It meant… I want to talk to you briefly about something. It’s not a big deal. It won’t take an hour, so we don’t need a formal meeting.
It was a way, pre-Covid, to talk informally. Even if the “stop by” didn’t happen that day, the two colleagues knew that something needed a bit of discussion and more effort was made to connect.
While I have always known that those informal conversations were important, during this pandemic I am learning just how important. During coaching calls I hear, “I haven’t talked to him about it. It’s not important enough for a meeting. It’s not that big of a deal.” And yet, it is.
Here are some suggestions for how you and your colleagues can have more informal discussions, before issues escalate, as office workers continue to work remotely:
- Use Slack or other messaging tools in your business.
- Use the telephone and establish processes for using the phone without impeding on personal lives.
- Change the default on your video conferencing. Do you always need an hour? Will 10 or 15 minutes do?
- Schedule daily check-ins of 15 minutes with your direct reports.
What are some ways you and your colleagues are staying connected?
As part of the partnership review process with my client Don, I just reviewed his 360 degree feedback with him. To put it mildly, Don needs to delegate more and delegate better. Don is a senior leader and here are some of the ways that improved delegation would be beneficial to his law firm and to him:
- Don is a champion at getting new business. If he delegated more, he would be able to concentrate on business development. This would likely double or even triple the business coming into the firm.
- If Don leaves or gets sick, the firm will actually be in peril. The organization is truly too dependent on him. While his ego may like this dependency, the security of the entire firm depends on others knowing how to do the work and do it well.
- Don’s micromanaging is limiting for the people who work there. They feel that they need to leave in order to progress in their field. When employees feel like they can no longer grow, they eventually find other jobs.
- Don is squelching new ideas that would otherwise enhance the business.
- Don complains often that he is overworked and he sighs a lot, which impacts the morale of those around him.
If you have been told that you are a micromanager or that you need to delegate more, here’s what you can do:
- Create a development plan for the people on your team. Include completion of a specific project, from beginning to end, on the plan.
- Take vacations and unplug completely. Allow other employees to complete the work without your input. Force yourself to trust others.
- Work with a coach to understand your own motivations related to work.
- Read What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith.
Do you have other ideas that have worked well in your organization?
I am so energized by the virtual program I just facilitated, helping 12 managers share best practices for “Leading High Performers.”
Three key takeaways:
High-Profile Assignments Lead to High-Profile Recognition
Seek opportunities for high performers to learn different sectors of the business, to work in various departments within the organization, and most importantly, to participate in high-profile assignments. High performers need the challenge and recognition. In addition, it is important for them to interact with colleagues in different parts of the organization.
Give High Performers Encouragement and Help Blaze the Trail for Them
High performers complain about being micromanaged. To be fair, all employees complain about being micromanaged, but for high performers, your involvement may be limiting their excitement and energy toward the project. Check in with high performers and ask them, “How’s it going?” “What can I do to help?” “What people or systems are creating barriers for you?”
Conduct “Stay” Interviews with High Performers Regularly (About Twice a Year)
High performers are driven, and they have a vast network. Depending on their skill set and industry, they may be approached by recruiters as often as once a week. Assume that your high performers are being contacted regularly and make sure that you give them every reason to “stay.”
You can conduct your “stay” interview more casually, but here are some great questions: 11 Great Stay Interview Questions
Let us know the name and a brief summary of a high performer on your team and we will highlight them in our next newsletter!