The little things – again!

Photo by Nutloaf


Bob Sutton quotes in his blog 10 of the best comments one of his most prominent commenters, Wally Bock , have written on his blog during the years. Many of them are worth a minute to read and an hour to think about, but I especially liked number 6:

When I studied top performing supervisors, we found that there were a few behaviors that they did differently from their less-effective peers. They showed up more and had more informal conversations with their team members, including conversations about changing behavior or performance. That enabled them to catch problems early, when they’re easier to solve. Thus, they had fewer cases where they needed to do documentation and formal conversations. Their team members had a good idea of how they were doing because they got frequent and usable feedback.

Notice that this quote does not talk about the job itself. It does not talk about being analytical or critical or any other “left side” abilities. What differentiate the top performing from all others are little things, like focus on relationships, feedback and help.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the little things that make the difference:

If you believe, like I do, that great managers work through relationships, helping and partnerships, then there is no better focus than conversations. And adopting an attitude according to which every conversation can change people’s lives is a sure proof way to make every little conversation count. This kind of focus helps guide you through all the things you can do and allows you to concentrate on a few actionable items.

And then, about the last ten percent:

The part of the work that is the hardest to do but makes all the difference. The change from standard to excellent. The change from ordinary to extraordinary

And earlier about consistent feedback:

Feedback should be given all the time. Not at a predetermined time once a quarter. But all along the year. This is where I disagree with Bratz. The question is not whether you had one meaningful conversation with your manager once a quarter. The question is how often during the quarter did you have meaningful conversations with your manager. Conversations that create value for you and are not done just to fill some kind of form or requirement from HR. If constructive feedback is given consistently, the answer will be all the time. And if it is done all the time, there is a high probability that we are dealing with a good boss.

A few interrelated things to think about. Are you focusing your attention on the things that will make you a top performer?


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