Feelings count… to employees they count as much as wages & hours
Post 2: As the new manager to three supervisors, James began the fourth point of his plan to explore how the diverse leadership styles of his supervisors impacted the results of their teams. Point four was to ask each of his three supervisors (Sean, Petra and Shante) to describe for him the communication and reporting practices they had each created to stay aware of their team’s performance needs.
Sean reported that he starts his daily ‘pep rallies’ with updates and changes and then fields any questions to confirm understanding. He explained that the energizing part of the meetings is when employees brag about their ‘best play of the day’ from the day before. Sean had depended on reports from his former manager to provide names of low performers. To address ‘performance slumps’ he would sit with each employee on his manager’s list to share observations and ideas for improvement.
Petra enthusiastically shared her ‘daily-detail’ report she required to be completed weekly by each employee. After analyzing these against system data-reports that reflected client decisions, she posted ‘weekly rankings’ of results, color-coding employees according to improvement opportunities. If employees remained ‘in the red’ for three consecutive weeks, Petra required a one-on-one with an action plan ‘ensuring a reversal in direction.’ When asked how she communicates and confirms understanding, Petra stated that she sends a Monday email of updates and changes, followed by a Friday quiz over the Monday email. Any missing or failing responses are indicated on the ‘weekly rankings.’
James reflected on the comments from Sean and Petra. Petra’s team had an average of reaching only 86% of their goal over the last 6 months, and Sean’s was only a bit better with 89% of goal.
He smiled at Sean’s excitement during the description of his individual team members, and he felt Sean would respond well to training and guidance to become an effective coach. James planned to help him understand that adding accountability to his team’s zeal would improve their performance and their confidence.
James was not as confident in a simple solution to help Petra: trusting others is more of a natural quality than a learned skill. She did not speak of the people on her team as individuals and seemed over-focused on her processes and data-gathering than on their abilities. Analysis is important, but James needed to dig a little deeper to find out if Petra was willing to incorporate behavior that would convince her team she believed they could achieve.
REALITY: Leaders that BOTH believe employees are willing to try AND use statistics reflecting employee competence are more likely to motivate improved performance. Believing in others is not often enough to motivate them to do their best. Performance statistics alone do not usually motivate change.
In Next PEPPERBOX Blog: Find out what Shante does to inspire her team’s success that leads the department. There will also be tips on balancing the accountability and trust that can grow confidence in employee competence.
[The 3 blogs in this series were posted on 7/31, 8/4 and 8/7/2015.]