Technically managing an individual’s performance starts with a recruitment plan and ends with an analysis of the exit interview.
Some believe performance management is the performance appraisal form managers complete once a year. Others think of it as using the disciplinary action procedures to document employee shortcomings. Both concepts are terminal uses of authority.
Managing performance is an ongoing process that may require the use of formal power only after communicating expectations, providing information and problem solving fall short. Managers should never feel victorious when using their authority. Indeed, it means that all other measures failed.
Skilled managers are quick to respect others and demonstrate that respect. Managers who help others make things easy and explore barriers jointly, create shared solutions. People are willing to commit to a solution they helped create.
Managing performance requires having a clear picture of the company’s purpose; an understanding of how everyone’s responsibilities contribute to the company’s success; and the ability to communicate that connection.
Skilled managers are capable of having meaningful conversations with people about their performance and behaviors. These managers learn to recognize when others feel threatened and modify their approach to regain trust and openness. This level of communication frequently brings positive results without disciplinary measures.
People who manage others need to be aware of the fundamental attribution error. People have a tendency to blame the person for things that go wrong and attribute things people do correctly to external factors. However, when an individual does something wrong, the individual blames external factors; when things go right, credit themselves.
People who manage others need to be aware that the person making the mistake may point the finger at the external factors, including management. Understanding this theory helps managers build trust by seeing through the eyes of the employee who made the error. It allows the manager to work together with the employee to identify the external factors that contributed to the error and create a shared solution.
The next step is to confirm a commitment from the employee. If a commitment doesn’t come readily, ask why and explore obstacles. This may seem to be a long process to get an employee to perform. It’s a partnership with the employee that illustrates how the employee’s performance contributes to a mutual goal; the company’s success.
Doling out discipline may fix today’s issue quicker, but it creates resistance.
Avoid the Fundamental Attribution Error