How to Receive Constructive Feedback

March 8, 2016

20160224_165321-01 Receiving feedback in the workplace isn’t always easy. Sometimes it can be hard to take constructive (or negative) feedback and turn it into a positive response. If you have received feedback that was not up to your expectations, the last thing you want to do is cause an emotional outburst. Here are some top tips on how you can control yourself with negative feedback, avoid confrontation and utilize feedback to become a better employee.

  1. Let your boss express his or her ideas fully: always be sure to let your boss finish what she/he is saying and do your best to understand what is being said. Paraphrasing exactly what you are being told and making sure to let the other person finish is very important. This way you can demonstrate that you’ve heard their opinion and that they had full opportunity to express their opinion.
  2. Always evaluate feedback: Looking for particular reasons for a particular feedback you got is important. Be sure to look at the situation and examine some of the underlying aspects. If your boss has expressed feedback in an emotional outburst, for example, you may want to consider some of the other factors like he/she being under overwhelming pressure from management or poor conditions at home.
  3. Keep yourself in check: Responding to feedback with a negative response can put your job growth prospects in danger. Be sure to keep yourself in check with your nonverbal responses and with the emotion in your voice.
  4. Work to alter behavior: the only way that you can use negative feedback is to work at altering your behavior. Use feedback to find workplace goals and then avoid certain behaviors to become a more effective employee.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification: If you are unsure of the specifics of negative feedback be sure to ask a number of clarifying questions on how you can improve or specific actions that you are doing that could be causing inefficiency. A good boss will be able to identify a number of alternatives to your behavior or to your workplace practices.

Use these top tips when receiving feedback from your boss so that you can use it to the fullest extent.

Further reading:

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A picture is worth a thousand words

March 22, 2015

 Don’t get stuck on design without looking into user experience

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Don’t start refinement too early or else you may miss out best solution

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How random data can be interpreted depends upon experience and creativity

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Always remember, keep is succinct as much as possible

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Effective

Credit pictures – Internet. If any of the above shared image is owned by you, please send me complete info and source of image, I will gladly mention credit on this page.


8 Leadership Quotes

May 27, 2012

  1. Strategy is not the consequence of planning but the opposite, its starting point. – Henry Mintzberg
  2. Run with your head the first two-thirds of a race and with your heart the final third. – Jack Daniels
  3. A good team is a great place to be, exciting, stimulating, supportive, successful. A bad team is horrible, a sort of human prison. – Charles Handy
  4. In adversity, remember to keep an even mind. – Horace
  5. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks. – Phillips Brooks
  6. The secret of getting things done is to act. – Dante Alighieri
  7. Constant dripping hollows out a stone. – Lucretius
  8. The first great gift we can bestow on others is a good example. – Thomas Marell

Twitter for Managers and Leaders

November 1, 2009

Early this month, I spoke about PMI-GLC’s Social Media Initiatives at PMI Leadership Institute Meeting @ Region 4 (at Orlando, Florida).  I found out that majority of project managers and leaders are aware of the social media in some way but not utilizing that much. LinkedIn for networking and Facebook were two tools that most of the PMs knew and had profiles active. I am using Twitter for some time now and finding it very useful and informative.  Here is my Twitter page or follow me @kulveervirk.

In this post I would like to give my readers quick info on Twitter and how it can be used by project/program managers and leaders effectively to advance the profession, help the stakeholders and grow their personal network while learning new stuff.  Next you develop strategy to use Twitter effectively.

Some Basics:
It is evident that more and more professionals are interacting through social media tools and technologies to share the ideas and spread the word.  Social media includes blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Twitter, and many more. There are millions of people using Twitter all across the globe.

Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say but keep on saying it.  – Robert Frost

Twitter is very innovative way of communicating with people you choose to communicate with.  It is inexpensive and effective way to distribute information on the Internet. Twitter allows you to communicate in 140 characters.  These 140 character messages you send or choose to read are called tweets.  In this message (aka tweet) you can include a link to any article, post, or blog.  Once you are on Twitter you will choose to follow some of the folks tweeting and you will also have some followers who are interested to read your tweets.  You can choose whom to follow or if you want to block someone from following you.  You can create lists (similar to groups).

First step after setting up your account  for a professional is to search for fellow professionals in similar profession and start following them.  There is minimal lingo involved that you can find it here to get started. Once you start following people and communicating, you are already on your way create, share and discover ideas on project management and leadership.

For Managers and Leaders:
 Twitter is excellent tool to connect to your stakeholders (provided your stakeholders are on Twitter and following you).  You can provide quick info or update about your project, product, service or initiative to your stakeholders.

For example, you have a product that tracks helpdesk tickets and you have new exciting feature that you have incorporated into the beta release, you can keep updating your followers about the progress and also provide the link to your blog when you provide some update.

If you have a flagship software or hardware product and you may have loyal following (as in case of Apple and Microsoft), you can provide info and also read what others are talking about your product and support/service.

One practical use of Twitter is by Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to spread the word on health and safety; now a days on H1N1

Other best use is when you are following other professionals in your field, you can find out industry trends, what are they working on, what new things have they discovered.  If can respond to the questions that are being asked or you may have some ask for advice.

You will find and follow many industry leaders and experts are constantly tweeting and you can learn a lot from them.  For example, I follow @kenblanchard, @jack_welch, @tom_peters, @tom_peters, @Padmasree and many more whom I admire.  You may find that your boss or your CEO/CIO is also tweeting, follow him and find out what he says and asks.  Twitter also gives you opportunity to ask direct questions or share ideas.

You can use Twitter to promote your brand.  People from different walk of life might be interested in what you are sharing via tweets and learn from your experience; its nice way to give back to community as well.

There are some drawbacks as well that come with any tool or technologies.  You must be very clear about your objective while tweeting.  Always stay professional and tweet only when you have something useful to share or ask.  A nice motivational or inspiring quote is always better than saying “I am baselining my project plan 7th time in a month.”

Whatever you say (or tweet), represents you and builds your image.  You are building your network and you will get some loyal followers on the way. If you are tweeting about your organization or corporate product, make sure you are authorized to say something. 

You can receive and communicate on Twitter using your smartphone.  If you have Twitter account, you can follow me using @kulveervirk and find out whom am I following.

Thank you for reading and hope that this info will help you in some way.  Let me know what other creative ways you are using Twitter as a professional or project manager.

Useful links:
Why Project Managers Should Twitter
Twitter 101 for Business
Shorten and track your URLs


Trust is very important for teamwork

June 17, 2008

When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality. – Joe Paterno.

Who else can say better than JoePa?  He is absolutely correct, but key thing is outgrowing individualism.  When a team is motivated to work together, everything seems possible and there is quite a different feeling. I have been blessed to work with some of the best people who knew how to empower team and have experienced how team’s common goals produce stunning results. 

Very first thing is to cultivate the trust in the team.  If there is no professional trust among group members, team will never perform at par. 

We have to be little bit open to our team members (my own perspective). if we become totally professional by delegating tasks and demand results with ‘paid for the work done’ attitude, team will not work.  You got to use some emotional intelligence, you got to connect with the employee.

Next, you being the boss,  have to guide and empower the team.  Every team member comes with unique skills, personality, objectives, understanding.  You got to know who needs direction, and who needs nod; who needs to be left alone and who should be slowing down.  Check Situational Leadership II post on my blog.  You are the one who will make things happen through this dynamic team.

Thanks for reading and I welcome your comments how you made your team perform above expectations and what factors were important to you.

 


Leading Creative Employees

February 1, 2008

There are always some special people in teams who are very much techie, creative and loaded with specific knowledge.  Lets call these employees creative people in this post.

These creative people provide tremendous value to organization through application of their knowledge and expertise.  These really smart and creative people need nurturing environment and motivation. When leading these creative people, keep in mind that they may

  1. think they know more than anyone (or know everything);
  2. do not want to be led (know what, how and why);
  3. do not want to follow the process (think its bureaucracy);
  4. want to discuss the solution with higher authority (by-pass chain of command);
  5. expect people to come and ask for help (until then they keep quiet);
  6. show their exceptional knowledge in group meetings;
  7. become poor listeners and jump to solution (feel they know problem already);
  8. dislike to say thank you for any assistance;
  9. feel attached to the solution they offered (won’t accept alternate);
  10. stop contributing if ignored;
  11. want praise and recognition (not always care about position);
  12. want challenges and new things to work on.

Leading creative people require smart leadership.  Smart leaders will help these creative employee contribute by creating environment where they feel valuable while making sure that other employees also flourish. 

Smart leaders demonstrate their expertise and authority over creative employees quietly by not pushing them or by not showing them who is the boss.  Smart leader also makes sure that they know what organization’s strategic goals and objectives are; but does not dictate how to achieve.  These creative people can contribute beyond expectations when their leader becomes their coach-cum-mentor-cum-guardian.

Not all the points may apply in any given situation and there might be other examples as well.  I am interested to hear your thoughts on this.  Please leave comments.  Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!


What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There

January 15, 2008

I read many books in 2007 and one of the best that I want to mention here is What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith.This book is all about how successful people become even more successful.  There are tons of books on leadership and management out there but this is something.  In my case, book had very good title that got my attention plus it had Ford CEO Alan Mullaly‘s recommendation on the dust jacket, I decided to give it a try. The book was a wonderful read, I read it very slowly enjoying each page filled with new insights and examples – just like I am sipping tea in early spring morning.

Sometimes people get to almost at top by dedication, integrity and excellent work, and then do not get there (to the real topand achieve greatness and may be fame as well). There are many factors contributing to get there but author has identified 20 habits that hold person from getting there. These are very common bad habits that cost a lot in long run such as – not listening, beginning conversation with ‘but‘, speaking when angry, playing favorites, etc.

Visit author’s website www.marshallgoldsmithlibrary.com  for more info and free resources. 

Here is link to the list of 20 bad habits identified in the book.

The beauty is the way author has explained these common habits and their impacts on others in organization is just like a sage speaking to you.  I have heard from many of my peers and seniors who read the book on my recommendations,  came to me and thanked me. I hope I get a chance to meet him personally and I would pass all those thanks to Marshall for writing such a nice book. If we are getting such an advice compiled in a book, its the best deal for your career.

I am glad that I read it and would recommend to all leaders, aspiring leaders and managers to read it with open mind and make our organizations more successful and in return we also grow with others.  Let me know what you find out.

Thank you and have a great day!


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