The profile of a 'Complete' Manager
The Complete Manager 5 of 14: Performance Assessment
We're continuing our examination of the profile of a 'complete' manager - one who daily achieves Predictable Success® for herself, her team, and the organization she works for.
Over the last few weeks we have been looking at the profile of a complete manager. We have seen that the foundation of a complete manager lies in their ability to be enhance their productivity. More specifically in the areas of; time management, priority management, crisis management and delegation.
(If you want to follow along the connections between the 14 characteristics, you can download a copy of the Complete Manager Brain Map - a pdf version of the graphic at top right).
You can track the series using this progress bar:
Building on the Foundation
If a manager can exhibit skills in the areas we have already covered then they are able to reach levels of productivity that will dramatically increase the effectiveness of their day-to-day activities.
As I'm sure you are well aware, the ability to do things right and to do the right things is great. But it is not going to be enough to become a complete manager.
The next group of skills in our series is in the area of developing others. Over the next few weeks we are going to look at what is required of a complete manager in the areas of: performance assessment, skills assessment & coaching, mentoring & 1-1's, empowerment and hiring.
This week we are looking at the skill set associated with Performance Assessment.
Why does Tiger Woods use a golf coach?
You'd think the best golfer in the world would be able to sort out his own performance - and yet Tiger, just like any high performer, knows that to stay on top he needs regular, external assessment of his performance - even while he's consistently winning.
Similarly a complete manager will take charge of the performance assessment process not just for the new hires but right through to the top performers. In a lot of organizations (large and small) a regular, consistent performance assessment process is not in play for a large majority of employees.
Here are some of the reasons why this does not happen.
1. What time is it? Sorry, I have something I really need to do.
We've heard (and used) this excuse all too often. Even with our best intentions to hold a performance assessment session with one of our employees, things can crop up and get in the way. All of a sudden a customer has a complaint that needs to be tended too immediately or you get called into another more "urgent" meeting. Whatever the scenario, the end result is, the meeting does not take place.
Dealing with this one should be pretty easy (at this stage). If you have laid the foundation of a complete manager by improving on your productivity there should be NO.... I repeat NO reason that you don't have enough time to conduct ongoing performance assessment.
The formal annual or quarterly meetings should be in your planner months ahead of time and, weeks before the session, you should start drafting the agenda.
On top of that, the complete manager will conduct ongoing, informal sessions at least once every two weeks (even better if it's once a week) with each of their direct reports.
The key thing to remember here is that to become a complete manager, you need to improve your productivity, which in turn, will allow you to have both formal and informal performance assessment sessions with each of your direct reports.
2. But she's doing so well.
Performance assessment is only for those who need it, right?
One of the most common mistakes managers make is to spend all of their time developing their weakest employees. Whilst this is important and should be part of your focus, your top performers need it just as much. They may not want to admit it but there is always room for improvement.
Not only should you develop your top performers, you should look at all areas of their game, making them more 'rounded' at what they do. Going back to the Tiger Woods analogy; not only does he spend hours on the golf course, driving range and putting green, he also spends a great deal of time in the gym, working on his muscle strength and out running, working on his fitness levels. All of this makes him the great 'rounded' player that he is.
The same should hold for the performance assessment process you conduct for all of your employees. You should look to review all areas of their game. If they are a great sales person, help them to develop some of the skills needed to fulfill that order. If they are great with the finances, develop their ability to look beyond the bottom line.
3. I don't want to offend anyone (Read: I don't like confrontations)
The third reason that consistent performance assessment does not take place is quite simply that the manager is scared of confrontation. This may be a result of the culture within the organization or it may be a direct result of the manager's own experiences.
Whatever the cause, (and it's not a moral judgement call one way or the other) performance assessment does not take place at all. If it does then it's usually a watered down version of what it should be, with a lot of platitudes but not too much constructive feedback. What ends up happening is, the employee being evaluated takes away nothing of worth. Worse still, they may be walking away with the belief that they are performing superbly well and they don't have many areas (if any at all) on which to improve. Either way they are not developed and brought to the next level of their personal effectiveness for your organization
They key to overcoming this is contained in the next four words.FEEDBACK IS NOT CRITICISM
If both the manager and the employee being assessed can adopt this attitude toward their performance assessment, then the confrontational aspect of the process is removed, leaving both parties in the position to give and accept feedback without the need to lean on the defensive foot.
4. Performance Assessment? Sure we do that.... Once a year.
Too often I hear it spoken "I am on top of our performance assessment. I sit down once a year with each of my direct reports and we go through their assessment. That's good enough, right?"
Not exactly, in fact, not at all. Those are the words of someone who is not in control of the performance assessment process.
As we mentioned before performance assessment is an ONGOING process. It's something that happens outside the annual or quarterly, formal performance assessment sessions. It's weekly and daily; sometimes formal and sometimes informal.
You need time with your direct reports talking about the technical every day things that get the job done. You also need to spend time with them talking about what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong and why.
The role of the complete manager in regards to performance assessment is to ensure that every member of your team knows not just if they »succeeded¼ or »failed¼, but also how and why they did so.
There are 7 things that the complete manager must do in order for this to happen.
If two or more answers are in the 'Never' or 'Sometimes' columns, consider getting help. If three or more answers are in the 'Never' or 'Sometimes' columns, don't consider not getting help!
Next up: In the next article, we'll move into the second key skill for Developing Others; Skills Assessment/Coaching
Do You Want to Be a Complete Manager?
Do You Want Your Team to Be Complete Managers?
Then pre-register for our upcoming Complete Manager Program - a distance learning program based on all 14 'Complete Manager' characteristics. The next program launches on August 1st.
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