Here’s a look at three interesting stories currently in the news with ramifications for your team’s productivity.
1. Are you stifling your team members’ individual creativity?
The environment on your team might inadvertently be stifling individual team members’ creativity, warns this piece on Lifehacker. Common mistakes to watch out for are creating a culture where people feel their first ideas must be polished or fully fleshed out (“it’s a form of self-censorship, where high standards are applied at the wrong time”); offering feedback on ideas before asking questions to better understand them (questions are more likely to open people up while critiques are often seen as a challenge); and applying the wrong amount of process (which “leads to a bureaucratic mess, where even chance thoughts have to be run through the meat grinder of process”). The piece also suggests that you keep in mind that when projects are in the rough-draft stage, they’re likely better served by temporarily lowering your standards – not permanently, but long enough to help you problem-solve and refine.
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2. Let’s not kill performance evaluations
It’s trendy to hate on performance evaluations, but this Harvard Business Review piece from Lori Goler, the head of People at Facebook, cautions against killing them. She smartly points out that even when companies get rid of formal evaluations, ratings still exist: “Employees just can’t see them. Ratings are done subjectively, behind the scenes, and without input from the people being evaluated.” Formal evaluations allow you to make the process transparent, get input from peers and others, help employees understand the big-picture assessment of their performance, and ensure that difficult feedback is delivered rather than punted down the road.
In particular, Golder notes that replacing performance evaluations with real-time feedback systems doesn’t help people gauge how they’re doing overall. (At Facebook, one employee said that the ratings from evaluations “serve as a punctuation mark, because they’re clear.”)
Also, check out our advice on how to make performance evaluations more useful to your team.
3. Work habits you need to change at each stage of your career
What worked in earlier stages of your career may not be the right habits to propel you forward in later stages. In fact, “there are four key ways you'll need to change your approach to work as your career progresses, writes Danielle Merfeld in Fast Company. First, while early in your career it’s wise to check in frequently with your boss and seek regular input, there’s a point where that changes and progressing in your role requires less dependence on that input – with your face time with the boss spent more on high-level decision-making. Second, as your career progresses, you have to adjust to managing your work over longer timelines – monthly or quarterly milestones are more likely to dictate your work. Third, the higher level your role, the more you’ll need to switch from exercise oversight over your team to more of a coaching model. And finally – in many fields, at least – at some point it becomes more important to develop a professional presence outside of your company so that you’re able to represent yourself and your industry more broadly.