Great Management is the Key to Great Employee Performance
By Jay Forte
Nearly everyday we hear that in tough economic times we need
more from our employees. We need them to have more control of
expenses, a greater focus on efficiency, greater effort, and more
innovation. If you wait until times are tough to ask these things
from your employees, you are already in trouble. Great organizations
insist on great things from their employees at all times – in strong
or weak economies. Strong organizations invest in the right people
who, on a daily basis, cut waste, spend wisely, hunt for
opportunities, and constantly make the organization better. This
isn’t by accident. These employees are well chosen, well coached and
well developed. In short, employees who are well managed can become
Maxperformers create opportunities out of daily events.
Maxperformers connect with customers and are passionate about their
work. Maxperformers remind us of the truth in the statement: our
people are our profits.
Management is the key to great performance. Successful
intellectual-age managers know how to engage, inspire and connect
with their employees. They know how to develop the ordinary employee
into the Maxperformer. Review the following five areas to create
Maxperformers in your organization.
1. Hire employees
who exhibit the right talents for the right role. In today’s intellectual workplace, we know employees
must think their way through the day. We also know thinking is
unique to each of us and therefore not everyone is a good fit for
every role. Maxperformers are employees who work in areas that match
their talents because it connects them intellectually to their work.
They feel capable, confident and competent. The key to achieving
great performance, as described by Marcus Buckingham in First
Break All the Rules, is to ensure that employees have the
natural talents and are cast into roles that allow
them to fully use their talents. Great cooks who work as warehouse
supervisors will never be known for their (maxperformance) culinary
genius. Great salesmen who work as accountants will never be known
for their (maxperformance) selling prowess. Employees become
Maxperformers because they know their talents and work
in roles that allow these talents to be fully developed.
employees’ roles around their talents, interests and values.
performers are bored with their work; Maxperformers are excited
about their work – they enjoy what they do. Successful managers
learn all they can about their employees and then build the
employees’ roles to include tasks and responsibilities that both
appeal to the employee and build organizational value.
The more the role is customized (sculpted) for the employee, the
more emotionally connected (engaged) the employee becomes; this
translates into dynamic performance. Have a salesman (who also loves
to teach and share information) coordinate and present new product
education to employees and customers. Have a driver (who also enjoys
connecting with customers) create and implement a new customer
loyalty survey. Each excites the employee and addresses a specific
business need. Employees become Maxperformers when they are
connected emotionally to what they do.
performance expectations so employees can own their performance.
Maxperformers take full ownership for their performance and for
their impact. Managers encourage this process by clearly defining
each employee’s performance expectations (including financial
expectations) and allowing employee input in creating the plan to
achieve the expectation. This activates an employee’s sense of
performance ownership and moves the ordinary performer to a
Maxperformer. It may be a retail sales associate who is asked to
create the plan to achieve a performance expectation that modifies
the retail space layout in order to sell 10 percent more of a
particular product. It may be an accounting employee who is asked to
develop monthly reporting that will encourage a better review of
operational spending to save an additional two percent in the next
six months. Managers move ordinary employees to Maxperformers by
defining performance expectations and allowing employees to own the
4. Spend time with
each employee to provide recurring performance feedback.
to constantly learn, improve and acquire new skills. Managers who
provide constant performance feedback regularly provide instruction,
coaching and skill guidance; they are always watching for the
teachable moment and use it to encourage great performance and
redirect poor performance. Employees who are given the regular
opportunity to improve quickly become Maxperformers; they welcome
effective feedback and use it to increase their performance,
contribution and impact.
5. Spend time with
each employee talking about the future. Employees think about today; Maxperformers plan for the
future. Managers who spend time discussing the employee’s future –
new directions, opportunities for growth and contribution – engage
employees for the long term. A career development discussion builds
a strong relationship between the employee and manager because the
manager shows interest in the long-term contribution and development
of the employee. Average performers are kept in the dark;
Maxperformers have a clear vision of the future, a voice in its
direction and the support from their manager to implement it.
Effective management is the key to developing average
employees into Maxperformers. Connect employees intellectually and
emotionally to their work and workplace. Not only will they develop
into Maxperformers who build your workplace brand, but they will
generate consistently extraordinary results.
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