Many leaders, especially if they were promoted from within, struggle with performance management. Not because they are bad leaders, but because they easily slide back into “doing” instead of “leading.”
A leader can pull themselves out of “doing” by being a performance “A.D.E” to their team. Specifically, ensuring each member of their team has the Ability to perform in their current role, the Desire to grow, and the Encouragement to succeed.
Uncovering if each member of your team has the Ability to perform starts at the beginning when they go through a leader’s hiring process, which measured them against that leader’s SEARCH model, and probably against a competency-based survey . Unfortunately, Ability is also the easiest to fake, which is how individuals with "15 years experience," which is really 1 year of experience 15 times over, get hired.
Learning if each member of your team has the Desire to perform also started back in the hiring process, specifically during the interview. Individuals with a strong desire to perform typically have a clear vision of what their life, personal and professional, will be like in three years and have a specific plan for realizing that vision.
Desire also appears during coaching session (which a leader may need to rely on if they inherited members of their team) and in an individual’s weekly behaviors. If a member of their team isn’t consistently completing their weekly behaviors (e.g. number of blogs written and number of social media posts made) this is a red flag for a leader that that individual’s Desire may be slipping.
Encouragement is entirely up to a leader, but Encouragement cannot be applied homogenously. The way a leader may encourage one member of their team, with lots of public praise, is likely to shut down another member of their team.
Understanding how each member of your team prefers to communicate is critical if a leader wants their Encouragement to be effective, especially if they inherited members of their team. This includes how and where they prefer to receive criticism and praise, as well as their personal and professional goals.
Being an A.D.E to a team’s performance supports the leaders need to elevate out of tactical day-to-day activities and set the strategic vision for their team.
- Jody Williamson