Newsletter – April 3, 2013

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Don’t let your best staff members escape, capture your boss’s heart, and more

Hello friends,

We’re not sure if you’re reading anything other than breathless predictions about the next season of Game of Thrones (is Tyrion in danger?! will Daenerys be able to control her dragons?!), but we hope you’ll make time to read the latest batch of resources that we’ve put together for you.

1. How to develop your top performers – and keep them from leaving

A reader asked us:  “One of my top performers recently quit, and it made me realize that most of my staff development energies end up going to lower performers who are struggling. What should I be doing for my higher performers who are self-sufficient and thus don’t generally get as much attention from me?”

Ouch, the pain of being blindsided by a higher performer’s announcement that she’s accepting another offer, and realizing too late that you hadn’t focused on her as much as you could have. We’ve posted some thoughts here on how you can help develop your top performers, and thus hopefully ensure they stick around.

2. The best question to ask in an exit interview

Speaking of which, by the time you’re doing an exit interview with a resigning employee, the horse is out of the barn. But if you want to know how the gate got opened in the first place (yes, we like tortured metaphors), there’s a crucial question to ask in exit interviews: “What made you start looking for another job in the first place?” That’s the key info you want, because it can help you retain other high performers.

(We stole this great question from this Wall St. Journal article on exit interviews.)

3. What to do if your team is blowing deadlines

If you have a staff member or a team that keeps missing deadlines, what are you doing about it? Managers often struggle to set reasonable consequences for missed deadlines, not wanting to take serious action every time but struggling with how to convey that it’s can’t keep happening. This article from Fast Company has great advice, noting, “You don’t need to be a tyrant. But you do need to have a conversation. Three simple questions will do. Ask, ‘What happened? How to do you intend to recover? How do you intend to prevent this next time?’ The act of having this conversation sends the message that it is not okay to miss a deadline. The conversation itself is a consequence.” Read the full article here.

4. A 12-step program to make your manager love you

When we talk about managing up in our trainings, we often hear a chorus of complaints about managers’ own bosses. And yes, plenty of times those managers are to blame – but there are still things within your control that you can do to have a better relationship with your manager, one that will make your job (and hers) easier. This piece from our own Alison Green recommends 12 things everyone can do to have a smoother, more effective relationship with their own manager.

5. What would make that meeting / project / phone call wildly successful?

As huge devotees of making sure that you’re clear on what success would look like on any piece of work, we love this article from Jeff Haden in Inc. He writes, “A great way to be significantly more productive is to start anything you’re about to do with one question: What does a wildly successful outcome for this meeting, project, conversation – whatever it might be – look like? If you ask that question up front you co-create success: Everyone knows what you’re shooting for and actively works towards making it happen.”  Even when we remember to ask that question before a large project, most of us don’t think to ask before smaller ones – and we should.

We hope you find these resources helpful!

Best,

Jerry Hauser and Alison Green
The Management Center

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