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November 7, 2013

Managing Performance – I (Handling Disconnect)

Everyone, who has managed teams, understands the importance of performance management and providing feedback to employees. Dealing with employee disconnect /dissatisfaction comes with the territory.  We share our experience and learning with you through following scenarios. Also, it is important to remember that whilst we manage teams, we are also employees and might have faced similar situations.
One common tip for all situations: Don’t try to close issues immediately. Always be polite and firm. Seek help/counsel from your manager and HR. Never hide behind statements like Management doesn’t agree, HR is not willing to relook etc. , own feedback and resultant rewards or lack of them.
Scenario I – Employee approaches manager with very clearly articulating his/her accomplishments /contributions as well as how (s)he achieved those results. Contrary to common belief, this is where most managers fail. This kind of situation needs lot of care and attention. Also, understand that anyone with this approach is worth retaining and keeping motivated.
·         Listen, Listen Hard; don’t react.
·         If, you are not ready don’t try to close issues by committing or implying to have committed anything except being able to revert in aspecific time frame.
·         Do your home work; also understand that every organization has limitations, bell curve, forced ranking etc.
·         If you are convinced that issue is genuine, connect with takeholders (your manager, HR) and work out possible solutions.
·         Go back to employee and communicate facts.
·         If required feel free to take assistance from your manager or HR but under no circumstances let anyone else take blame or credit. There is nothing more frustrating for an employee than to feel his/her manager does not own the Situation.
Scenario II – Employee approaches manager with expectations consistently basing on Degree, years of experience and a long list of comparisons with other colleagues.
·      While listening, try to steer conversation towards results.
·   Try to understand if  conversation is about entitlement or some other genuine concerns are getting manifested in this manner.
·      Do your home work; look at past performance (results) and credentials.
·    If you are convinced that concerns aren’t justified, communicate feedback based on facts and clearly outlining expectations.
·      Most importantly deal with issues of entitlement attitude head on and provide a direct feedback. Don’t soft paddle. Don’t give allowance for cultural issues, immaturity etc. By doing so you are missing on a critical coaching opportunity.
·    Observe and track employee conduct as likelihood of employee being part of / falling into office gossip group and spreading negativity can be high.
Scenario III – Employee approaches manager and discussions are solely focused on results and lack of rewards in return. More often employees in this scenario tend to be either aggressive or project themselves as victims.
·   While listening, try to steer conversation towards how part and relevance of results in bigger picture, this will allow you to direct conversation towards exchanging information.
·  Try to assess if employee is being aggressive (with entitlement mindset) or (s)he is feeling victimized.
·      Do your home work; look at past performance (results) and credentials. More importantly check out values (how) part of employee, because if (s)he isn’t talking about it, it is a clear red flag. Even for most valued employees, communicating their concern effectively is their responsibility.
·    If you are convinced that concerns aren’t justified, communicate feedback based on facts and clearly outlining expectations.
·       Most importantly deal with issues of effective communication and coach employee concerned.

As an Employee:
·         You have done the hard part.
·         Be firm and polite while communicating how you feel, and remain focused on facts.
·         Avoid comparison with other colleagues.
·         Seek solutions, be part of solution.
·     Understand Organizational limitations, while being persistent to look for means and ways to achieve your goals.
·      Never be aggressive or demanding.   Don’t ever talk about your issues; with anyone in office except your Manager or HR. Avoid being part of office gossip at all costs. More careers have been ruined by office gossip compared to actual lack of performance.
·      Re-look at your communication style, use facts and results to communicate your concerns and avoid being seen as someone with entitlement attitude.
·      If you are convinced about being consistently overlooked, look at opportunities outside current team, project, territory or organization. You own your career and take steps to make it happen, don’t wait for ‘expire by date’ to pass. 

Related Post

Managing Performance II : Performance Appraisal Form

Happy reading !!
warm Regards,

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