Zenger Folkman blog

July 18, 2014

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Who Done It: The Danger Of Assigning Ownership To Anonymous Feedbackby Joe Folkman

forbes_logoWhen people receive anonymous 360 feedback there is a natural human tendency to look at the data and attempt to figure out “who done it”. It’s an interesting mystery and often people state with great confidence that they “KNOW.” We often advise our clients that about 50% of the time they are correct but that also means that 50% of the time they are wrong.

Recently, I was reviewing data with a client and came to the results for the competency “Develops Others.” Paul* (names have been changed), the leader receiving the feedback, was a new manager with a lot of potential and enthusiasm but not a great deal of experience. … Continued on Forbes.com.


June 26, 2014

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The 6 Competencies Global Leaders Need To Succeedby Jack Zenger

forbes_logoWhat competencies do global leaders need to acquire?  In a study of 108 senior executives my colleague Joe Folkman and I  identified those who were rated at the 90th percentile in their global perspective. These leaders were viewed as the best global leaders in their organization. We then looked at behaviors or competencies that separated them from other senior executives. Six factors emerged that differentiated them. … Continued on Forbes.com.


June 19, 2014

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The Urgent Need To Develop Global Leaders For Company Growthby Joe Folkman

forbes_logoNowhere is the dearth of leadership felt more strongly than in those organizations expanding their global reach. In a recent study, my colleague Jack Zenger and I found that one-third of global organizations have identified “global leadership” as a serious constraint. We’ll define global leadership as those individuals who work in more than one cultural or geographic arena. They are distinguished by their willingness to leave their country of origin and take on new assignments that may require using a new language or adapting to a new culture. Consequently, 70% of larger organizations have plans to increase their overseas assignments. Yet, ironically, less than a third of these organizations have any formal leadership development process in place.

As a result, many organizations have few candidates for overseas assignments, no information about those in the firm who aspire to such opportunities, no clear understanding of the competencies required for such assignments, and little interest being expressed by younger internal managers in becoming global leaders. … Continued on Forbes.com.


June 6, 2014

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Are You A Good Coach? Here’s How To Find Outby Joe Folkman

forbes_logoThere is a widespread phenomenon among people that causes them to believe they are above average in most areas. If you asked 100 people if they are great drivers 95% will tell you they are, but traffic accident reports beg to differ. It is simply impossible for the majority of people to be exceptionally good at a particular behavior. In my line of work, this attitude is particularly prevalent in workplace coaching.  If you ask 100 managers if they are good coaches the number may be slightly lower than 95%, but not by much.  Managers assume that if they are good managers, being a good coach will naturally follow.

How effective is your approach to coaching? In a recent Harvard Business Review blog my colleague Jack Zenger and I invited readers to take a coaching evaluation to see where they stand in comparison to outstanding business coaches. We invite you to take that evaluation as well, which is available here. … Continued on Forbes.com.


June 4, 2014

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Finding the Balance Between Coaching and Managingby Zenger Folkman

hbrAsk 100 people if they have good common sense, and more than 95% will tell you they do. Ask them if they are good coaches, and almost as many will say yes. Executives we talk to assume that if they’re good managers, then being a good coach is like your shadow on a sunny day. It just naturally follows.

This would be good news, if it were so, since more and more top executives are expecting managers to coach their subordinates. In fact one at Wells Fargo announced that he expects the bank’s managers to dedicate fully two-thirds of their time to coaching subordinates.

What’s more, employee surveys we’ve conducted over the past decade show that subordinates want coaching. Our own empirical evidence echoes myriad studies in finding that effective coaching raises employee commitment and engagement, productivity, retention rates, customer loyalty, and subordinates’ perception of the strength of upper-level leadership. …Continued on Harvard Business Review.


May 22, 2014

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Does Gen Y Really Want Honest Feedback?by Joe Folkman

forbes_logoThere is an abundance of articles about why Gen Y needs to be treated differently.  However, I was intrigued by the fact that none of these articles appear to have been written by a Gen Y author. So I decided to ask the Y Generation what kind of feedback they want.  I gathered data from 3,715 respondents, of which 1,026 were Gen Yers. I  asked them their preference for giving and receiving feedback after hearing observations that Gen Y only wants to be praised, recognized and given positive feedback. …Continued on Forbes.com.


April 2, 2014

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Mood And Engagement Are Contagiousby Joe Folkman

forbes_logoI used to think that my attitude and engagement affected me, but not other people. I could come to work in a bad mood or frustrated with work and if I did not tell anybody, no one would know. In my experience, most people suppose that employees are simply required to perform their job well and not make any big mistakes. Some might say, “It’s not my employer’s business whether I am enthused and happy or depressed and despondent, as long as I do my job.” In many ways I thought my emotions were locked up inside. However, the evidence is compelling that emotions are as contagious as a cold or the flu. They spread freely to others in an organization. …Continued on Forbes.com.


March 21, 2014

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The Feedback Conundrum: Does Positive Or Negative Feedback Help You Most?by Jack Zenger

forbes_logoWhich has helped your career more? Positive feedback? Or constructive critiques? In a recent Harvard Business Review blog our organization collected data from 2,479 people on this question. Their response was a surprise: We discovered that 52.5% say negative feedback was more helpful, while 47.5% say positive feedback influenced them more. It appears the world is divided roughly in half on this issue. What does this mean? … Continued on Forbes.com.


March 10, 2014

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Do You Need to Lighten Up or Toughen Up?by Zenger Folkman

hbrWhich has helped your career more?

A. Positive Feedback
B. Negative Feedback

If you’re like most of the people we’ve recently surveyed, you answered “B.” Praise is always good to hear, but 57% preferred to hear constructive criticism. There’s no mystery why. Practically three quarters of them thought their performance would improve and their careers advance if their managers gave them corrective feedback.

But is that so? Well, sometimes, it would appear. But sometimes not.  As we continue the survey, we’ve sought additional detail, asking which kind of feedback actually has been most helpful in career advancement. (You can participate in the survey and compare your scores to the findings we’re reporting here.)  Over 2,500 people have replied to this question, and it turns out that the pack is fairly evenly split on this question, with 52.5% saying negative feedback was more helpful, and 47.5% saying positive feedback helped them more. …Continued on Harvard Business Review.


March 6, 2014

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70% Of Workers Aren’t Engaged — What About The Managers?by Joe Folkman

forbes_logoWe recently read Gallup’s 2013 report on employee engagement, which reports that seven out of 10 workers in America are either actively disengaged or not engaged in their work. It triggered several questions, and one of the most basic is this: “Are we turning the spotlight on the right people?”

As an aside, we confess some deep seated skepticism about this number.  That stems from the fact that our own data on employee engagement diverge significantly from those of Gallup.  Our numbers suggest that there are roughly twice as many engaged employees.  Secondly, all HR executives with whom we talk believe they have evidence that far more than 30% of their workforce is engaged.  Finally, our personal experience with a wide variety of workers does not support this dismal view of the American work force.  But let’s put aside debate about the exact number of engaged employees or engaged managers and use the Gallup data to focus on the most important issues. …Continued on Forbes.com.


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