08 Feb, 2012
Performance Coaching – 6 Steps to Transforming Performance
Revolutionaries normally carry guns but in boardrooms across the globe, they come armed with a radical mission – to overthrow old-style management practices and bring in a new order to re-engage employees.
Dictators everywhere – be warned: the days of control freak bosses are numbered.
As report after report comes in showing that the majority of employees are disengaged from their work, which is in turn depressing productivity and profits, it becomes increasingly evident that existing management practices aren’t working.
It doesn’t matter how many times the office is revamped or the mission statement is rewritten, or how employees’ incentives or punishments are raised – it’s not making any difference to how much employees like turning up for work.
Something has to change – and if you’re of the “my way or the highway” management style, that something is you.
Statistics like those from the Gallup Management Journal and Right Management Consultants (the world’s largest career transition and organisational consulting firm) that show only between 20% to 30% of employees are fully engaged (working with passion) in their jobs.
A bigger percentage say they are actively disengaged (causing trouble at work) and the majority are in a sleepwalking type of state, putting in the hours but not the energy or passion.
Engaged employees stay in the job longer, and are safer, more productive and more profitable – so it is imperative that something is done to address a situation where between 70% and 80% of employees are working with varying degrees of alienation from their jobs and companies.
The fundamental problem is that there has been a dramatic change in the workforce – with companies outsourcing and taking advantage of lean manufacturing processes and technological advances, existing employees are being paid primarily to think, create and innovate – and as yet, management hasn’t caught up with that development.
Leaders are still too often using old-style practices where they give orders and expect people to follow directions, instead of allowing them to think and create for themselves.
For the first time in history, the employee often knows more about how to do the job than the manager.
When you don’t have all the answers, being directive may not be the best way to drive performance. One of the things that’s broken and needs fixing is the way we manage performance. In the majority of situations, you get a better performance from people by helping them to think better, rather than by just telling them what to do.
When people start to have ideas and have the ability to act on them, they certainly are significantly more engaged in the job than they were before. Letting people come up with their own ideas is a deep well of motivation to tap.
That is the essence of quiet leadership: improving employees’ thinking – literally improving the way their brains process information, by creating opportunities for people to make new connections themselves. A quiet leader is always focused on the development of their people: they’re putting their people’s learning and development and growth as the number one issue rather than their own ego rewards.
Six Steps to Transforming Performance
These six steps describe a new way for leaders to have conversations when they want to make a difference another to another person’s performance. They describe a new way to interact, to give feedback, to influence, to stretch and grow people and to bring out the best in others.
Step 1: Think about thinking; to let people do all the thinking, keep them focused on solutions, stretch their thinking, accentuate the positive and follow good process.
Step 2: Listen for potential and not to get too close (or involved).
Step 3: Speak with intent; in other words, to be succinct, specific and generous in your communication.
Step 4: Dance toward insight by getting permission for harder conversations, placing people so they know where you’re coming from, using thinking questions so that others do the thinking and then clarifying their responses.
Step 5: Create new thinking. Get people to become aware of their mental dilemmas and reflect more deeply on them by asking questions about their current reality. Once they’ve had an insight, we explore alternatives for how to move their insight into action then we tap into the energy given off by the new connections being made.
Step 6: Follow-up. Following up can make a big difference to the emergence of new wiring (neural connections in the brain) so we focus on the facts and people’s feelings. We encourage, listen for learning, look for implications and then look for the next goal to focus on.
It takes commitment to develop this new management style, but it is worth it.
And like any revolution, it needs massive support and so far, the signs are good – change is indeed in the air.