Newsletter – July 18, 2017

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Managing remote staff; hiring, diversity, and raising your bar; and more!

Hello friends,

One of the biggest changes to workplaces in recent years is the massive increase in the number of people who work remotely, both managers and staff. If you’re not already managing people who don’t work in your same location (whether that location is your headquarters, a satellite office, or your own house), you might be soon.

We’ve put together some advice on how to manage remotely, which you can read here. (Sneak preview: “out of sight, out of mind” is not the advice.)

We’ve also got three more resources for you this month:

Want to hire a more diverse set of people? Raise your bar.

“Does hiring more diverse people mean lowering the bar?” Just the opposite, writes Joelle Emerson, arguing that in many cases organizations’ poorly designed hiring processes “are at odds with research on how to most effectively evaluate people” and fail to identify highly qualified and diverse candidates. We love her recommendations to equip candidates with information about how to excel in your hiring process; use exercises that closely mimic the work the person would be doing on the job; and define “culture fit” around the specific qualities it takes to thrive in your organization, not whether or not the candidate is someone you’d want to hang out with (since the latter biases us toward people who remind us of ourselves). We’ve shared this in the past but want to make sure newer subscribers see it too.

Ask what the other person thinks

Too often, managers plunge into feedback conversations without taking a crucial step: asking the staff person how she thinks the thing being discussed is going. As a result, managers can miss out on crucial insights about the other person’s perspective (which can be especially key across lines of difference and power), and can miss the opportunity to fully engage the person and build accountability for the future. In this piece on “the forgotten key to feedback,” Kevin Eikenberry has a list of great questions to consider asking, like “how did you think X went?” or “what did you think went well?” or “what do you wish you’d done differently?”

One good way to remember to do this is to use our SAW model for feedback, where the “A” stands for “ask questions,” to ensure you’re having a two-way conversation.

And speaking of feedback…

A game plan for that conversation you’ve been putting off

We’re probably all been guilty of putting off tough conversations that we really should have had yesterday (we’ve certainly both been guilty of it). So we can probably all benefit from Liane’s Davey’s advice in this Harvard Business Review piece to see letting an issue go unresolved as being like carrying debt: “You’ll eventually have to pay the principal (by having the difficult conversation), but the longer you wait, the more interest you’ll pay in anxiety and dread.” And of course, that’s not the only price of delay. Conversations often get more awkward the longer you wait to have them (“why didn’t you tell me sooner?”), and waiting can erode trust and allow the person to carry on with the damaging behavior. Maybe more helpfully, she notes: if you have waited too long and now feel uncomfortable about that, it’s okay to say, “I should have shared this with you earlier” or “I value you so much as a colleague, so I wanted to take the time to say this right.”

As always, we hope you find these resources useful in your work.


Jerry Hauser and Alison Green
The Management Center

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