There’s an interesting assumption I’ve heard voiced again and again by business owners and managers, which is that people don’t actually like being managed, and, more specifically, that people don’t want to work with a manager who actively manages their performance.
Here’s how some of the business owners and managers I’ve worked with have put it:
“I feel embarrassed about managing performance, some of my employees are more experienced than I am and some are my friends. They won’t like it if start acting “all managerial.”
‘Won’t my employees feel patronised if I manage their performance – won’t they think I don’t trust them?”
Well of course it depends on what “being managed” looks like. Generally people don’t like being told what to do, being constantly watched, being constantly criticised (so that’s something you didn’t know then!). But then again, that’s not effective performance management
So What Do People Want?
In my work with managers I often ask the question “What do you, as an employee, want from your manager?” Here are some typical answers:
Clarity / feedback /recognition / communication / learning / praise / assistance / advice / support / responsibility / challenge /clear direction / incentives
I’m guessing you can see that many of these wants are directly related to effective performance management. In fact, the comments quite neatly describe performance management. A few examples:
√ Clarity of expectations, both the managers and employees, is the basis of effective performance management
√ Feedback, the ability to make objective comments based on observed performance against agreed objectives, is what drives effective performance management
√ Recognition, praise, reward, incentives – all part and parcel of effective performance management
I’m sure you get the picture.
And The Research Says?
Here’s some research from the savvy people which basically illustrates the same point: In a Gallup study of performance, covering more than 200,000 employees across a dozen or more industries, teams that rated managers highly on four factors were more productive and more profitable. They also had lower staff turnover and higher customer satisfaction ratings. The four factors:
- knowing what is expected of them
- receiving positive feedback and recognition regularly for work well done
- having a manager who shows care, interest and concern for each of them
- having a role that fits their abilities
In a further Gallup study 80% of British workers said they lack any real commitment to their jobs and most blame poor management for their low level of motivation. Workers said they don’t know what’s expected of them, their managers don’t care about them as people, their jobs aren’t good fit for their talents and their view counted for little.
What people seem to want, and want quite badly, is to be well managed. No surprise there then. What maybe is more of a surprise is that much of what “well managed” means is effective performance management. And that is a surprise to many managers.
And The Practical Application?
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. How do you think the employees in your business would rate you (and your managers) against the four Gallup factors?
2. Do you need to do something differently?