At The Leadership Edge, we have been committed to Diversity for more than 31 years and we, like much of the general public, are now increasing our focus to the equally important areas of Equity, Inclusion and Justice. This Black History Month, we are proud to highlight some of the brilliant minds who had to overcome unimaginable hurdles on their way to monumental contributions all while inspiring youth around the world to focus on S.T.E.M. studies.
Most of us are not currently commuting to and from work every day, which, for some, has freed up a significant amount of time daily. Yet, for those with additional work and family responsibilities; homeschooling, a loss of your support systems, etc, you may find that you have even less time than while working in a traditional workplace. Either way, a re-evaluation of your day might be necessary to make sure you fulfill all of your responsibilities while allowing for critically important self-care.
The workaholic/grind mentality is common in our industry and self-care is often secondary. The additional time many of us have now has helped us realize the importance of not only taking better care of physical, mental and spiritual needs but also focusing more on our personal relationships and family. The Leadership Edge shares some of their lessons learned and renewed personal priorities below.
It has been a heartwarming year for women in the sciences with the recent awarding of Nobel Prizes in Chemistry. The awards highlight how important diversity and inclusion are in our industry. The new documentary Picture A Scientist chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists by bringing to light the challenges they have faced as women in the sciences and their commitment to improving opportunities for women moving forward. This personal, powerful & eye opening film really hit home for our team as it has for people around the world.
When we experience change, one of the first feelings we have as human beings is that we are alone. We think we need to solve all of the problems, identify and secure new resources, and somehow feel that we are prepared and capable to do it all. During times of change, we need others more than ever. We suddenly find the resources, the know how and the support we need to make great things happen.
The end of the year is fast approaching and chances are, no one ever prepared you for how to lead a performance review conversation during a pandemic.
You may have found that while some goals were put on hold there was also an expectation that many, if not most of the company goals were expected to be delivered upon, on time and on budget. The typical competencies that you measured may have seen a few additions, including communicating remotely, being self-motivated, working autonomously, or building high performing teams while juggling children, school, dogs and managing cold callers on your home line (if you still have one). With the new challenges that have been presented as many workers Zoom in from their home office, feeling the stress of huge levels of change and uncertainty, you might want to keep the following tips in mind.
We are experiencing a new reality, unlike any we have experienced before: Talk with your leadership team.
- What are your philosophies around performance?
- What types of values and competencies do you want to reward? Have these been communicated as expected or desired?
- Where do you stand on performance? Is it business as usual, or have you modified expectations given the circumstances?
Communication is more important than ever: Make sure that you are over communicating with your people about the expectations your organization has of them. When there is uncertainty, try to create as much certainty wherever you can. If deadlines have changed, let them know and document the conversation. If it is business as usual, discuss strategies for staying on track during these uncertain times. If you haven’t communicated any of this, it is not too late! Make sure you have the conversation before you write or discuss your final performance review. Chances are you will see other perspectives that may modify your messaging and, very importantly, you don’t want any surprises in the review.
Review Preparation: Much of the hard work of reviewing performance should be carried out before the formal meeting.
- Encourage involvement by asking your employee to provide feedback on their performance and solicit feedback from key stakeholders.
- Ask your employees how much time they get to spend every day in their strengths. If you hear a shockingly low number, explore it with them. What are their barriers to spending more time doing what they are really good at and truly enjoy.
- Explore your employee’s development goals. Why are they excited about taking on the new challenges of a more senior position? Are they looking for a title change or do they really understand what the promotion would entail? What skills are they looking to learn and why?
- Understand what they love most about their job and see if you can get beyond what engages them to what truly fulfills them.
- Throughout the process, maintain a coaching versus assessor mindset.
- The best evaluations are reflective of the entire review period, they take into consideration their current performance and development goals, reflect any changes that have occurred throughout the year, include key stakeholder feedback, and do not have surprises.
Manage Discussion Challenges: Your employee’s self-evaluation will provide insights into any potential disconnects in performance perceptions, which allows you to better prepare for the discussion.
- Ask open-ended questions and seek a deeper understanding of your employee’s perspective.
- If the employee has expectations that will not be realized, reflect and identify why not.
- Be prepared to share how the employee’s performance needs to change to be a qualified candidate for promotion, for example.
- Identify the link’s from your employee’s activities to the organization’s performance. This will help them to make the connection their work has to the greater purpose and mission of the organization. Everyone’s work matters.
- Understand your employee’s development expectations.
- Ask for feedback on your leadership and close the conversation on a high note.
Review Discussion: Create a framework that starts and ends on a positive note.
Open by sharing the agenda for the meeting. “First, we will start by reviewing your goals and your successes related to them. We will then discuss any areas where performance wasn’t what we hoped it would be, the contributing factors and how they can be resolved. We will wrap up by discussing your goals for next year, including performance goals, and also your development goals for the short and long term. Be straightforward and consistent, encouraging and clear. Your goal is not to bring your employee to tears, but rather to ensure your communications are clear and supportive and provide a path forward. Use examples to reinforce your feedback. Maintain a dialogue, not a monologue. Ask open-ended questions. Check for understanding. Ask if what you shared aligns with their thinking. At the end of the review, ask your employee what they heard. Make sure they heard all of the good as well as the areas for improvement.
Utilizing these tips can help reduce the anxiety surrounding reviews, especially during an already anxious time. Members of your team want to know that you are committed to helping them as people, supporting their growth, both personally and professionally. Your ability to be resilient and flexible while holding to your organization’s high standards can make performance reviews a time for growth and excitement about the future.
#lifesciences #leadership #performance #reviews
Virtual programs are not new to us but the need to move our entire portfolio to a virtual platform was unexpected. As we respond to unexpected challenges, whether they are a change in the financial markets, unexpected data, or the loss of a key player, the following tactics may serve you well.
Team dynamics are often a constantly moving target even under normal circumstances. Add a global crisis and getting everyone on the same page at the same time can seem daunting to say the least. Our commitment to each other was the unifying factor that helped us make it to where we are today. Learn how The Leadership Edge Operations Team became stronger as the result of early lessons from the Pandemic.
“I don’t have time to think.” Does that sound familiar?
Pressure, deadlines, milestones, partnering relationships and burn rates are all part of working in a life sciences environment. With constant deadlines looming, it’s easy to get bogged down in day to day, minute by minute thinking.
And yet, with all of this circling around you and your people, we’re in a business driven by innovation. Creativity is critical. Execution may be our driving force, but inspiration has to have room to flourish.
So how do you manage to find time for that? It’s not easy, but maybe a few of these ideas will inspire you.
Finding our way through the pandemic has taught us all a great deal. As we prepare for our new beginning that lies ahead with the anticipated approvals of therapies and vaccines, The Leadership Edge operations team shares their lessons learned from the early days of the pandemic, in hopes that they can be applied today, to create a phenomenal future for us all.
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- Why are Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Important?
- What changes have you made in your routines to become more efficient with this new work environment?
- What have you learned as a result of this great time of change and reflection?
- Our team’s biggest take aways from “Picture A Scientist.”
- What attribute(s) are you most proud of when it comes to your team?