If you want to get the most out of people, you have to apply pressure – that’s the only thing that any of us really responds to …
Provocative statement & idea – isn’t it!
Creating pressure in an organization – for change, for improved results, for new directions – requires confrontation. Without confrontation you’re not going to change people’s behaviors, attitudes and actions.
Confrontation doesn’t mean putting someone down or embarrassing them in front of others. It’s not until you look people straight in the eye that you get to the source of their behavior & motivation. You need to say to a direct report, “I don’t think you’re performing up to your potential; I believe you can do better. It’s in your best interests that you succeed and it’s in my best interests that you succeed.”
Once you set that context, you need to be specific & direct about an individual’s failings and tell them the truth about their performance – face to face.
I’m persuaded that a significant majority of employees have a common belief that the value of work lies in achievement (doing a good job), and at the end of the day achievement would be the most important thing they want to take home with them every day.
You can rely on that fundamental belief (it’s true for you too, isn’t it?), and draw on that motivation when planning your “confrontation” and identifying the areas where improvement is necessary. One of our clients likes to use the idea of “carefrontation” when implementing the above initiative – we like that idea too.
Managing Performance Without Changing Personalities
A business-owner friend of mine once commented, “I’d be much better at management if I didn’t have so many different kinds of people working for me!”
The “value” of a manager in an organization – any organization – is their ability to produce results through other people. An effective manager is one who can produce increasing results through other people.
Where does one go to learn how to produce increasing results through other people? This is the challenge, because management is neither a science nor a profession, neither a function nor a combination of functions. Management is a practice – gained through experience and in context. Management may use science (and I’m going to emphasize that in a moment), but it is an art combined with science and knowledge. Knowledge is certainly important (whether it’s technical knowledge, business knowledge, or people knowledge); but wisdom – the capacity to combine knowledge from different sources and use it judiciously – is key.
For instance, managing performance with a direct report includes three primary manager-employee interactions: goal setting, coaching and feedback. In some organizations managers are taught specific methods & skills for handling each of these interactions. Often these generic skills (certainly useful) are based upon a single set of assumptions and fail to take into account the motivational & psychological differences which exist in the real world. Not all people feel the same about being measured & evaluated – and clearly not all people perceive the value & need for goals the same – or have the same response to feedback.
Effective managers realize they have to modify their behaviors & actions in each of the three interactions in order to consciously adapt to the needs & preferences of each employee. For example, take goal setting. Independent personalities want major control, or at least significant influence, over the process and can actually resist too much management involvement. Conversely, more dependent personalities who function best in a more structured environment need more guidance with setting their goals, a lesser degree of stretch, and shorter time frames in which to reach goals. So the approach that works with one is likely to be less effective – or a failure – with the other.
Applying different methodologies are just as important in the other two performance management interactions. A coaching procedure that successfully helps one personality re-direct his or her behaviors may be totally ineffective with a different personality.
Concord’s clients know that gaining “wisdom” (knowledge, skills & insight) in understanding job personalities and people personalities is an important outcome of our PPS Program (Pro.file Performance System ). Their managers & executives learn how to skillfully apply knowledge of human behavior & motivation into their selection, management & retention initiatives. It’s a very effective way to proactively bring the insights & knowledge of behavioral science right into the space on your management team’s hard drives reserved for “people knowledge”.
This article was used with permission from Concord Consulting Corporation. Feel free to contact them for additional information.
Concord Consulting Corporation
#158, 150 Chippewa Road
Sherwood Park, Alberta
T8A 6A2 Canada