As we put together the Financial Tracking 2016 CCO Compliance Playbook, it became clearer than ever how much CCOs have to handle, often with lean resources. For that reason, we provided some ideas and advice for commanding greater budget share.
However, whether you’re managing compliance with a smaller budget than you need or receive the additional budget to beef up your staff, getting the most from your reports is central to success.
Several years ago we ran across a terrific article on American Express OPEN Forum by Julie Rains titled, “9 Reasons People Don’t Do What They Are Supposed To Do.” It offers a number of negative employee behaviors to be on the lookout for along with suggestions for how to fix them. We recommend that you give the article a read. It’s still fresh and vital information.
As I re-read the article, it occurred to me that, as managers, it’s just as critical that we scrutinize our own behaviors to identify red flags and areas for improvement. There are two sides of the equation as we consider how to manage for utmost team work and productivity: Caring and Confronting.
Have you ever had a boss who didn’t care about you? He or she was likely concerned only about getting the job done, whatever it took. Did you miss a kid’s school play or birthday party because of inflexible scheduling? Were you unable to ask for additional information, training or help to contribute at peak performance? Were you pitted against your colleagues? Were your ideas and concerns ignored?
How motivated were you to do a great job for this boss? Probably not very motivated at all.
To build a great team, you have to care about your people – sincerely. If you want to shine, you have to help them shine. To care about them you have to know them – not just their resumes but their individual situations. However, there are lines that you won’t want to cross. Here are some things to consider.
Caring is about two-way communication. Be an attentive, patient listener to encourage your team to share their ideas and issues. Share your thinking with them on business issues and projects so that they can contribute effectively and get onboard with objectives.
Keep a balance between business and personal. You’re their boss, not their therapist. That said, get to know a few things about each team member. Their kids’ names and ages. Hobbies and interests. Where they grew up. Think social conversation. Avoid drama. On the other hand, if a consequential life or family situation arises, learn enough to be supportive and to make any team assignment or scheduling changes.
Treat each person equitably. Each person on your team is a unique individual. So, the goal is not to treat everyone the same. What’s meaningful to one will not be to another. Make fairness your watchword. As you get to know your team members, you’ll learn what makes sense in a given moment.
Just because you care about your team doesn’t inoculate you from personnel ills. Regardless of the close-knit environment you build, from time to time someone’s performance will be less than required. Of course, knowing them and caring will make it more likely that you catch problems early.
While team-building contributes to productivity, failing to address problems among your direct reports will sap it for sure. Confronting people and issues effectively is a skill that is well worth developing.
For many executives it takes considerable effort to change the way they think about confronting – from a negative activity to a positive action. Here are a few ideas that will help.
Let people know where they stand. This begins with setting clear directions and performance standards. People don’t always recognize when their performance is lacking, so establishing benchmarks and metrics makes it easier to confront when someone is not measuring up. It also makes it easier to remediate problems and offer constructive criticism.
Enable the poor performer to tell his or her side. What you learn will be valuable in determining whether your perceptions are correct and what to do to resolve the issue – or dissolve the relationship.
Be consistent. On the caring side it pays to be equitable. When it comes to confronting performance problems, it pays to be consistent and even-handed. Do so within reasonable timeframes for improvement. But be sure people know what to expect if they don’t meet performance standards.
Keep your emotions in check. When delivering negative feedback, you may encounter emotional reactions. Prepare in advance for what you’ll say. May it short and to the point. Be solution oriented whenever possible. Mentally role play to anticipate the responses you might get so that you can deal with them without losing your cool. You don’t want to say something that you’ll regret the next day.
Be careful of timing. Don’t address poor performance on a Friday or before a vacation. It allows questions that come up after the fact to go unanswered in a timely fashion and any negative emotions to fester unnecessarily. Follow up with feedback the next day and re-inforce the longer term value of the relationship.
We started on this topic as a result of creating our 2016 CCO Compliance Playbook. Now we invite you to download this 27-page guide to the regulatory compliance year and the CCO’s role in navigating today’s choppy compliance waters. It’s our gift to the compliance community.
As always, we welcome your questions, comments and feedback on our content.