What do managers fear most?
You guessed it: Giving feedback. Somehow, it never works out well. Some employees will shake their heads and make promises — and then go right back to their old ways. Others will crawl into a shell and tune out. Of course, a few brave souls will toss what their managers say right back into their faces.
NOT WHAT YOU SAY, BUT HOW YOU SAY IT (AND WHY YOU SAY IT)
According to Columbia University neuroscientist Kevin Ochsner, people only apply feedback 30% of the time — and it makes matters worse 40% of the time. That turns giving feedback a delicate proposition. In some cases, employees are too self-important or thin-skinned to take criticism. Feedback hones in on what they fear most: being challenged, exposed, and held accountable. However, feedback can also reveal larger issues under the surface, like poor leadership and training. It can carry the wrong tone, with negative sentiments lingering long after the positive feedback fades away. Too often, managers wield feedback as a weapon, a shaming device designed to show off their power.
In fact, feedback response is often a gauge of how a manager — and the culture as a whole — is perceived. The message may be, “You need to improve.” But it begs the question: how do you deliver it in a way that motivates employees to change their behavior without stripping them of their dignity? That’s the subject of a new MOOC from the University of Colorado, “Giving Helpful Feedback.” Here, feedback is still viewed as a gift…if it is given the right way (with the right intentions).
Most managers know what to do when they deliver feedback. You need to be specific, immediate, and positive. You rehearse what you say, focused only on the issue at end, emotions under control and an end squarely in mind. Simple right? That’s easy to say, not so easy in practice. That’s where this MOOC excels. A mixture of proven advice and cases, “Giving Helpful Advice” helps students picture everything that can go wrong — and right —when they have to someday say, “Can you come to my office?” In particular, the cases look at what works and what doesn’t…and in which scenarios. Even more, it tackles the issue that has bedeviled managers for eons: When do you know it’s time to cut someone loose?
LEADERSHIP AND ANALYTICS HEADLINE NOVEMBER OFFERINGS
That’s just one of over 40 MOOCs coming out in November. This month, teamwork and self-improvement have emerged as key topics. At the University of Pennsylvania, for example, you’ll find “The Power of Team Culture,” to help students better recognize and personify the values of their organization. Penn also offers “Optimizing Diversity on Teams,” enabling you to harness differences to foster innovation and results. For a more introspective approach, there is “Self-Awareness and the Effective Leader” from Rice University, a primer for understanding how your communication style may be undermining your message and credibility (and what to do about it). If you’re trying to figure out where your Industry (and your career) is going next, check out HEC Paris’ “Anticipating Your Next Battle, in Business and Beyond” for a guide to organizational and personal transformation.
Marketing is continuing to evolve from an art to a data-driven effort. This month’s MOOCs reflect that. The University of Virginia is launching “Marketing Analytics” to help you better measure your performance and uncover hidden opportunities. Similarly, Emory University continues to expand its analytics repertoire with “Forecasting Models for Marketing Decisions.” Marketing isn’t the only area drawn to analytics, with MIT unveiling “Supply Chain Analytics,” showing you new ways to get products from point A to point B faster and cheaper.
Looking for a treat? The University of Michigan’s Gautam Kaul, a master teacher and MOOC pioneer, has opens a new self-paced course, “Financial Decision Rules for Project Evaluation,” in November. For professionals looking to get a taste of the Ivy League, Wharton and Columbia are rolling out new sections of their popular “Introduction to Corporate Finance” and “Finance Engineering and Risk Management” courses respectively.
To learn more about these courses – and register for them – click on the links below.