The days of the manager who says, ‘My way or the highway!’ have certainly changed. Managing through fear belongs back in the dark ages when the autocratic manager was king.
These managers were very negative in managing performance, often very critical in nature.
Unfortunately, such negative behaviour from managers still exists and although it may work in the short-term as people comply out of fear, in the long-term employees become demotivated and less productive. In fact the smart or brave ones move on to another employer.
A quote from the delightful book, Squawk!: How to Stop Making Noise and Start Getting Results by Travis Bradberry and Lloyd James, sums this up by saying something along the lines of, ‘People join companies and leave managers’. It is often the reason people leave. Conversely an excellent manager may be the reason why people stay.
Excellent managers use positive performance management – here are some of the key elements:
Praise More Than You Criticise
Unfortunately one of the realities of being a manager is that we tend to focus on those things that are going wrong and try to fix them. We are glad when there are no problems as it means we can concentrate on other more important stuff and we often forget to show our appreciation.
What’s your ratio of praising to criticism? Just out of interest keep a record for a day or a week and see how often you praise and how often you criticise people. If you praise less than the number of times you criticise or give constructive feedback then you need to praise more. In other words, catch people doing something right rather than catch them doing something wrong!
Give Motivational Feedback
Giving feedback correctly is an art. The idea is that the person receiving the feedback feels motivated to perform not just because you tell them to. Rather than just launch into what they did incorrectly, take a moment to consider what they are already doing well. Have you ever had that situation where you have been working really hard all day and you make one small error and guess which thing you manager talks about? Frustrating isn’t it? So next time you give feedback remember to recognise what they are doing right first.
Praise In Public, Criticise In Private
Despite being a basic management technique, we still find managers who humiliate people by criticising them in front of their colleagues. As well as being embarrassing for all concerned it also tends to demotivate those who observe it almost as much as the victim.
Praising in front of others on the other hand has many more benefits. It not only makes the person look good in front of their peers and build self-esteem, it also encourages other team members to emulate what the person did, so they too can get the praise.
Positive performance management concentrates on preserving self-esteem and building confidence. This is the platform for people to show what they can really do. You may be surprised what they can achieve when they receive such positive support even when things go wrong.
Looking for more tips on performance management? This article might help you:
Head of Training
Originally published: 9 January, 2013
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