April 2, 2019

Four Ways To Help Your Employees Excel

 |  By: Mike Opperman

How well your employees perform depends greatly on the type of feedback they get from you or their direct reports. Marcus Buckingham, head of the ADP Research Institute, and Ashley Goodall, senior vice president, Cisco Systems, offer four ways to help people excel:

  1. Look for outcomes. When something good happens, go to the team member who created it and reinforce the positive action. “By doing this you’ll stop the flow of work for a moment and pull your colleague’s attention back toward something they did that really worked,” they say.
  2. Replay your instinctive reactions.   Learn how to replay your personal reactions to your employees. “The key is not to tell someone how well they performed or how good they are,” Buckingham and Goodall say. “Instead, describe what you experienced when their moment of excellence caught your attention.”
  3. Never lose sight of your highest priority. When someone is doing something wrong, your highest priority is to correct them. But a higher priority, Buckingham and Goodall say, is to stop someone and commend them for doing something right. This will help them understand what excellence looks and feels like.
  4. Explore the present, past and future. When someone asks for feedback, Buckingham and Goodall suggest going through a three step process. First, start with the present and address the current situation. Then go to the past, and help them remember what they did when presented with a similar problem in the past. Finally, go to the future and ask your team member what they already know they need to do based on past experience.

In the end, people are more likely to have better performance when their positive actions are reinforced rather than when told how to fix themselves. 

The comments from Buckingham and Goodall appeared in this Harvard Business Review article. Read it for more information on providing the right feedback to employees.