Managing Performance

In the traditional management environment – the “age of command” - managers used their positional power to make decisions.  Performance management was primarily by appraisal, performance goals were imposed, and too much time was spent looking for things that were wrong.  The performance appraisal interview was often a negative experience which was endured rather than welcomed. 
 
Today’s emphasis on effective leadership - the “age of persuasion” - has led to a new approach.  Performance management requires an ongoing commitment between managers and their staff to agree on performance expectations, regularly review progress and work together on the individual’s personal development.
 
In Leadership: Strategies for Taking Charge Warren Bennis & Burt Nanus identify one of the key skills of leadership as: The capacity to approach relationships and problems in terms of the present rather than the past.  Certainly it is true that we can learn from past mistakes.  But using the present as a takeoff point for trying to make fewer mistakes seems to be more productive ... than rehashing things that are over.
 
The performance model describes the broad philosophy of performance management and provides an overview of the key responsibilities of a leader in their role as coach. 
 
There are four keys to performance, which are given in the following formula:
 
Performance =  Motivation x Opportunity x Ability x Coaching
 
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In expecting good performance from your followers do you consider all four parts of this model? If there’s a missing factor, that could be affecting performance. We’ll look at each of these factors in subsequent blog articles but in the meantime here are some questions to reflect on:
1.  What I am doing to build the motivation of my followers to have a strong desire to work here?
2.  Do my people have sufficent opportunity to do their work (enough time and resources and a supportive work environment)?
3.  Do I attend to building the ability of my people (skills, experience, knowledge)?
4. Am I progressing in my ability to be a good coach of my people?


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