Who knew that Rod Stewart was such a management guru? He doesn’t look like one. But let’s judge the man by his words not his appearance, huh?
“Have I told you lately that I love you?”
And with that simple question, Rod does more good in the world of “performance management” consulting than most consultants ever could.
Have you ever wondered what you’re boss was thinking about you and/or your performance? I have. I’ll get to that in a second. I was speaking with a colleague the other day whose performance over the course of the last 24 months has been staggering. As a new leader in the industry he has assembled a team, collaboratively defined its vision, elevated care and customer service, and has achieved fantastic financial, clinical, compliance, and regulatory results. Can I paint a more successful picture?
And yet, after another record breaking month of results were posted, he was concerned that his boss wasn’t happy with him. Why? Because he hadn’t emailed him or called him to comment on his performance. It had been a few months now. No thank you. No Attaboy. Silence. So, instead of appropriately celebrating or feeling satisfaction, this top performer’s strongest emotions were concern and doubt.
I experienced something similar several years ago. My boss was on the road almost all the time. Not only that but he had the weight of the organization on his shoulders and hundreds of people wanting a piece of his time. As the weeks, then months went by I tried to just give him (AND MYSELF) the benefit of the doubt …
I’m sure he would call or email me about my performance if he had any concerns.
I know he’s just really busy.
He hired me because I don’t need the supervision or direction.
But, given enough time, its natural to FILL THE VOID with the worst case scenario.
I began to do what my colleague was doing. I began to not only doubt my boss’ appreciation of my work but I began to doubt if he thought my role was even important to the organization. After all, if nobody’s talking to you about your work (good or bad), your work must not be that important to people.
The benefit of the doubt turns into the TYRANNY OF THE DOUBT.
Maybe its just me and my colleague, but I don’t think so. I’ve had people I’ve managed express similar feelings during overdue conversations with me as well.
A few months ago, I kept missing a 1:1 with one of my department heads. Things kept getting in the way. One postponement after another. Sure, we’d talk briefly in our daily department head meeting or in the hallway but we missed quality 1:1, focused time to talk about her department (employees, goals, challenges, etc.) When we finally met, I told her how impressed I had been by her improvements and resident/patient satisfaction I was seeing. She was stunned. She fought back the tears. You see, she thought I was avoiding her because I was unhappy with her. I had inadvertently created a void and she filled it with the worst case scenario. Shame on me.
As leaders, we can way too easily fall victim to the illusion that silence creates. “All is well.” We can forget that even (especially) our top performers need regular feedback. Ironically, too often we spend an inordinate amount of time with under-performers at the expense of quality time grooming, coaching, rewarding, and recognizing those whose work we rely on so very much.
Let’s make the time.
–> Let’s set reoccurring appointment reminders on our calendars to reach out and fill the void with true conversation that builds loyalty and reaffirms mission.