Q: I recently had my annual review with my boss. It did not go well. It seems that I have offended some of the other executives in the company with my style and have not focused on the correct things. This came as a complete surprise and has negatively affected my attitude and desire to come to work every day. What should I do?
A: First, I am sorry this conversation with your employer was a surprise. Feedback should be regular. Typically, I suggest one-on-one sessions every month. This allows for “real time” feedback that is both positive and constructive. The most difficult feedback is done on an annual basis.
Having said that, from our conversation you indicated that you love your work and feel you want to try to improve. If I were you, I would go to my boss and get some specifics with respect to areas of improvement. Ask if he can suggest one behavior that you might work on that would help improve your relationships with your colleagues.
I’d also focus more on your role and the deliverables for which you are responsible.
Finally, I would set up regular one-on-one coaching sessions with your boss. If you do this, you should be able to work through the negative feelings about the feedback, look to the future and get back to enjoying your job.
Q: My dad is the CEO of our company. Recently, he made me president and said I have the responsibility of day-to-day operations of our company. This works well until he jumps in and questions or changes one of my decisions without talking to me about it. Our employees are getting mixed and confusing messages. What should I do?
A: It is not uncommon for the founder of a closely held company to want his family to continue the operation and lead the company into the future. It is a nice legacy.
Unfortunately, founder-owners have a difficult time finding the right balance of staying connected while not overstepping and undermining the authority they want you to have. This shows up a bit more for you since you and your dad work in separate offices.
Here are three steps I would take to help with this transition (and remember, this is a transition): 1) Schedule weekly calls or face-to-face meetings with your dad to keep him in the loop on all decisions. 2) Ask if he will stand by your side as you announce changes and decisions that impact the organization. 3) Schedule a time to talk about how you and he should arrive at key decisions. It is not good for either of you to seem out of alignment.
One final note: Remember that your dad is giving up his authority to you. It may take some time for this change to reach an equilibrium that works for both of you. Give it time and stay focused.