How to deal with tears and aggression

Friday, April 19th, 2013

There are many things that managers dislike about performance appraisal interviews with staff. One of the most dreaded is the woman who breaks down in tears at the first hint of critical feedback.
I’m not talking about the one-off event where one party, the manager, is a little insensitive; and the other party, the employee, is [...]

This is the fourth of the blog posts based on the top ten most read Straight Talk Tips that go to my clients each month. The tips are free and you can sign up for them here
Importance of managing emotions in difficult conversations
Conversations about performance or behaviour have many starting points but all have an underlying [...]

Moving Targets

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

This is the first of the blog posts based on the top ten most read Straight Talk Tips that go to my clients each month. The tips are free and you can sign up for them here
Moving targets re-title: How to set realistic objectives
Conventional wisdom holds that when you want people to perform at their [...]

How to get accountability

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

If you want to build a high performing team you must know how to hold people to account for their performance. In general however, people are more skilled at avoiding accountability than others are at holding them to account. There are three tactics that are most commonly used. For each, there is a specific behaviour [...]

The downside to stretch goals

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

In most organisations it is assumed that if you want to build a high performing team you need to set stretch goals and objectives. Logically, it makes sense that setting challenging goals and objectives is the best way to inspire the most effort and the best performance. The only limitation that is commonly recognised is [...]

Be careful when you set goals

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Common sense and research show that setting goals, targets, outputs or key performance areas is a necessary and effective way of focussing people’s attention and driving their performance and motivation. We put our trust in stretch objectives, challenging KPAs and BHAGS – Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
But like all prescribed remedies, there are side effects. One [...]


Friday, April 1st, 2011

The old acronym K.I.SS. - Keep It Simple Stupid - is as well understood and relevant today as it ever was. In spite of that, much business communication is ineffective, whether it’s written or spoken.
People tend to ramble, never getting to the point. They focus more on showing what they know, rather than on [...]

Become more resilient: manage upward

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Speaking up to anyone in authority can be difficult and high risk. If you get it wrong, it could be career limiting. But it may be the only way to remove feelings of frustration and dis-empowerment at work and can be a powerful way to increase your resilience.
One of the conversations that most people avoid is asking [...]

Become more resilient: learn to accept feedback

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The old saying that ‘practice makes perfect’ is inaccurate. The only way to do things better is to obtain feedback. This holds true whether you’re trying to play better golf or improve your performance at work. Using feedback effectively is a key element in building up resilience.
Everyone needs both positive and negative feedback. Unfortunately, our [...]

Don’t do it by e-mail!

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

My heart sinks when I hear someone say, ‘John isn’t performing well these days. I must send him an e-mail’. Doesn’t everyone know by now that you can’t do sensitive and difficult conversations by e-mail!
In any conversation that has a strong emotional tone you must be face to face. These are the kind of conversations [...]