Are You Documenting Your Observations?

As leaders of our teams, networks, families and friends we tend to be forward looking people with the eye on the prize.  It is this mindset that naturally creates buy-in from those around us as they see we have a vision and are chasing it.  Unfortunately not every one we lead will decide to walk the ‘straight and narrow’ en-route to self growth. It is from my experience we must recognize these moments, use them as coachable situations and than document. I use coachable as a moment to address a behavior or action that is not inline with team standards or personal growth.

This post is geared a little more towards managers/leaders that are working their passion within the scope of an organization.  As you are aware, proper feedback is essential to self and team growth. It is a function of accountability. In order to keep clean eyes on your team, I have found it crucial to keep multiple forms of observational documentation in order to: 1) hold yourself accountable as to when patterns actually are occurring 2) layout proper documentation if and when Human Resources, HR, would like proof of behavior for discipline procedures.

‘IN THE MOMENT’ NOTES

As organizational leaders we are pulled in many directions throughout the day. As the day unfolds we tend to find ourselves observing behavior of our team in spur of the moment situations. For this reason we may or may not have the time to provide proper feedback, positive or coachable, to the teammate.  In situations like this I will make a quick note, on phone or notepad, with date/time/teammate name/action observed. Depending on the action or in action noticed I will either address the teammate as soon as I realistically can or store the observation for later when I do a quarterly reflection.

With so much responsibility and an ever full plate we often lose track of the time frame in which we observed behavior. I have, on occasion, gone to talk to a teammate about observations and upon reflecting on my notes realized his behavior was spread-out over a longer or shorter period than recalled. This is imperative in the direction the conversation goes. If we are providing effective feedback it must be founded in facts.

REVIEW NOTES

In addition to ‘in the moment’ notes I have a spreadsheet with more detailed observations/results pertaining to each teammate. This would include attitude of employee over a period of time as well as any positive feedback I’ve administered.  I use this as the basis for my quarterly vision reviews as well as our company yearly review. It is important your team knows the vision you carry not only the organization but also for them. Quarterly vision reviews go over the positives and coachables that have arisen over the past 3 months. Having proper documentation of the gratitude you’ve shared or the coachable moments the two of you have embraced goes a long way in building organizational trust.

It is our responsibility as leaders to not only hold our team accountable but also ourselves. I have found proper documentation as above is instrumental to accomplishing an environment where everyone know where they stand. What forms of employee documentation work for you? Please share your thoughts!

Regards,

John J. Keul

I am an active supervisor in a medium sized organization with a passion to inspire others to greater heights both in work and at play. You can reach me on twitter @jacobleadership or at john@jacobleadership.com. I would love the opportunity to learn from you and or help you grow in your journey to true leadership.

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