It’s been proven that 85% of your success in life will come from your ability to communicate and interact effectively with others. If you hold a position where you have to be able to use “OPK” (other people’s knowledge) and “OPE” (other people’s effort or energy, or enthusiasm) – effective communication is the the most important skill to posses.
Extensive amount of research has been done and specific behaviors and mind sets that lead to high performance, working well with other people, and effective communication were found among managers. If you plan to reach the top of your industry, you need to know and practice these traits in everything you do that affects the people around you.
The very best managers are clear about what they want and expect. The staff has to know what they are supposed to do, and when they are supposed to do it and to what standard. The greatest demorolizer by far is when a team doesn’t know what’s expected. It’s amazing to to see some managers become angry and upset when people do not do the job they expected and then it becomes clear that the people doing the work have no idea what it was that the manager was looking for.
The second characteristic of the very best managers is a high consideration factor. The employees need to feel that the boss cares about them as people rather than just as employees. They need to feel that the boss looked upon them as friends and was kind and considerate to them as individuals, as well as employees.
The question is – How can a manager be caring, and constructive while driving high performance and making sure the job gets done.. gets done well and on time?
The feedback of course has to be provided, but there is a fine line between constructive feedback and criticism. One of the most successful coaches in the world Brian Tracy said “Psychologically, destructive criticism is the greatest destroyer of human beings ever imagined. If a person is severely criticized as a child, the person can be destroyed emotionally for the next 50 years. Destructive criticism has acted very much like a reverse neutron bomb in the field of human personality. A neutron bomb destroys all the people but leaves the buildings intact. A reverse neutron bomb, in the form of destructive criticism, destroys the person but leaves them alive and walking around, an emotional and psychological danger both to themselves and others.”
Here are some tips from Mr. Tracy on providing performance feedback (and let me tell you they work):
- Whenever you have a situation where the job is not being done to your satisfaction, begin by asking questions and getting the facts, in advance. Don’t ever assume or leap to conclusions about a performance problem. Very often, you will find that what appears to be a person dropping the ball is a new and even better way of doing the job. Take your time and get the facts before you react.
- A good starting point is to assume the very best of intentions on the part of everyone around you. Assume that they are acting on the best information they have and they are using their talents and skills the very best way they know how. Assume that any mistake that has been made has been the result of miscommunication or misunderstanding of instructions or expectations.
- Focus on the future over the past – the past is inherently negative. Nothing can be done about the past, so continually harping on the past and reminding a person that they did poorly in the past only makes a person feel badly about himself or herself. In a way, the person feels angry and trapped because the past is like spilled milk, it cannot be redone.
- The purpose of the evaluation is to give the individual valuable inputs and ideas he or she can use to be better next time. Positive people think about the future and think about solutions. Negative people focus on the past and concentrate on who is to blame.
- When a person has made a mistake, be sure to criticize the performance, not the person. Talk about the job or the work as if it were something neutral, like a book sitting on the desk or table between you. Instead of saying, “You made a mistake,” you can say, “This job is not being done the way we expect it.”
- At the end of any session of performance improvement, you should reaffirm your belief and confidence in the other person.
“Everything that you do or say helps or hurts. Everything adds up or takes away. Everything either builds a high trust, high performance environment or detracts from it. Nothing is neutral. Everything counts!”
– Brian Tracy