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Rhythm Blog | Accountable Leaders & Teams

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

Do You Know if Your Boss is Happy with Your Work?

Ryan Walcott Tue, Jul 7, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Many people wonder and worry about whether or not they are doing a good job and if their boss is happy with their work. It is one of the consistent emotional challenges employees face in the workplace, and sadly, most people don't know what to do about it.

One way this challenge has been dealt with is by having the dreaded annual or quarterly performance review. That's the day when you go and find the document (if you had one) from your last review and hope that you were able to improve your work performance from last time you had a formal discussion with your boss. This is usually a lose-lose scenario. You dread these meetings because they feel so formal and awkward. Your boss dreads these meetings because they have to try to figure out something smart, insightful and helpful to say to you to make them look and feel like they are being a good boss. Once it's over, all breathe a sigh of relief and are glad they don't have to do that again for another 3 months—or even a year.

Strategic Leadership vs. Tactical Leadership: Which Management Style Are You?

Cathy McCullough Tue, Jun 30, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

We read a lot these days about strategic leadership and tactical leadership (as we should). Leaders find themselves up against a multitude of scenarios and situations, all of which they’re supposed to magically handle in the right way with the right methods for each situation. When you study leadership, you quickly discover the massive complexity that surrounds it. So let’s take just one slice of strategic vs tactical leadership and dissect it for the purpose of your own reflective thinking about what kind of leader you tend to be (and the pros/cons that surround these tendencies). 

The slice of leadership we’ll look at is the tactical leader vs. the strategic leader. Both are needed, but when you’re trying to lead a team (or teams) of people toward a common endpoint and/or if you’re trying to grow a company, understanding the differences between these two management styles is imperative. Without a sense of understanding around your own leadership tendencies, you can’t move the needle on much of anything let alone work towards achieving a strategic plan or objective.

Work From Home Expert Tips: 23 Tips for Remote Work

Jessica Wishart Fri, Jun 26, 2020 @ 02:55 PM

As the COVID-19 news unfolds and more people are staying in (check out www.cdc.gov/covid-19 for the latest accurate information), some of us could be spending more time at home than we had planned this spring. While I am lucky enough to have the kind of job that I can do from home, I’ve never figured out how to do it well. On the odd snow day or sick day that I’ve attempted over the years, I’ve always felt that working from home is far less productive and more tiring than being in the office where it’s easier to focus.

The 5Cs of Communication: How to Use Them in Crisis Communication

Jessica Wishart Fri, Jun 26, 2020 @ 01:56 PM

If you are like me, your inbox is full of COVID-19 response letters from every vendor, doctor, airline, restaurant or business of any kind you’ve interacted with. These external communications serve their purpose, but not nearly as essential as your internal response.

No matter what business you are in, if you are the CEO or an executive leader, you're thinking about how your business is responding to (and being affected by) COVID-19. Your people are worried; everyone is worried. At the very least, your job is to lead them through this anxious and uncertain time, and it's also to prepare for the worst, just in case.  This is why we always recommend using the 5c's of communication framework to ensure that everyone has all of the information that they need.

7 Signs Your Remote Team's Health is Suffering

Jessica Wishart Fri, Jun 26, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

For many managers, leading a remote team is something new. After a few months, you’ve probably worked out many of the technical issues and settled into a rhythm of remote work. As many companies go back to the office, some team members may remain remote due to childcare issues, caring for family members, pre-existing medical conditions that increase their risk, or myriad other reasons. Some companies may continue remote working for the foreseeable future. As you navigate shifting team dynamics, how do you know if your team health is as strong as it should be?

In a Remote Work Report released by HubSpot in 2019, lack of social connection (29%) and communicating with co-workers (29%) were the two biggest challenges faced by remote workers. If you can’t see your co-workers and interact with them in the office, how do you know your team is experiencing these problems?

How to Engage Remote Employees That Work from Home in 2020

Ted Skinner Thu, Jun 25, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Employee engagement for remote workers is a huge topic in the market today, especially with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) limiting travel and forcing a large part of the working population to work from home that don't typically do so, throwing their work life balance into chaos. It is difficult enough to engage employees that are in the same office as you, let alone keeping a geographically dispersed group of employees engaged. In today’s hectic and fast-paced work environment, organizations need to do everything they can do to create an engaging workplace that helps find, attract and develop A-players no matter where they are located.

7 Essential Skills for the Future

Jessica Wishart Tue, Jun 23, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

A little peek behind the proverbial curtain for you: I have a digital notebook (I use Evernote) where I capture blog ideas as they come to me. I periodically review that list to see what topic ideas I may be able to research and write out as a full post. I had an idea in January to write about the need to invest in workplace training to help upskill team members for the future of work.

I wrote the following draft of a first sentence: "Maybe 2020 isn’t quite the future we imagined.” Looking back on that now, I can confidently say most of us never predicted a global pandemic, economic upheaval, and social unrest—and we are only through the first half of the year.

The Five C's of Leadership and Team Accountability (Updated for 2020)

Cathy McCullough Mon, Jun 22, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

From a leadership perspective, there’s a real thirst for increasing leadership accountability. Executives have recently asked me various questions that linger over the concept of building team accountability to help them achieve their strategic plans while creating high performing teams:

“How do I build accountability in teams?

What else can I do to get people to do what we need them to do?”

“How can I hold a team member to be held accountable and still be seen as a good leader?”

"How do I balance leadership accountability and personal accountability when building a team?"

"Creating a culture of accountability is hard, how do I provide constructive feedback without being the bad guy?"

Building team accountability requires that we understand a few dynamics because it’s more complicated than we might recognize.  It goes above and beyond the responsibility for the outcomes, which is obviously important, but effective leaders know that they need a culture of accountability in their teams that provide the inputs needed to achieve the expected team performance.

What Typical Performance Reviews Miss

Jessica Wishart Fri, Jun 19, 2020 @ 11:30 AM

Let’s imagine you are going into your quarterly performance review, armed with all the great results you’ve achieved over the last 90 days. You’ve tackled a few big projects and collect the data to show your results. You’ve rated yourself on the skills and competencies listed in your job description, and you’ve even identified a few areas for growth, since you know that’s going to be part of the conversation, too.

What a lot of HR systems that track performance reviews fail to connect the dots on is how your individual performance or projects or results impact the company’s business performance. At the end of the day, if you are wonderful and working so hard and getting great results, but your efforts and energy don’t move the company forward on its key results, then how valuable are your contributions?

Skip-Level Meeting Questions and Updated Agenda for 2020

Ted Skinner Fri, Jun 5, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

What is a skip-level meeting?

As defined in an article by Jared Lewis, "In a skip-level meeting, upper-level management bypasses mid-level management to talk directly to non-managerial employees. Although there's not typically a special position known as a 'skip-level manager,' senior managers conducting these types of meetings are considered skip-level managers."  The manager meets with employees to try to better understand their team members, build trust in the organization and get a better sense of the work environment challenges facing your front line employees.  Skip level meetings for employees are just as important as they are for managers, and both should be well prepared prior to the "skip level meeting."  Done properly, the skip level meeting is an effective tool to improve communications across your organization.