“Leadership is less about who a leader is and more about the value a leader creates for someone else.”
-Dave Ulrich (@dave_ulrich)
The person who sits at the helm of your organization greatly affects how the company’s ship sails. Leaders set the tone for an organization and have the power to develop and encourage future managers, but there can also be leadership challenges. Succession planning is more than passing the torch to capable workers, so it’s pivotal that your leadership team is aware of the influence they hold. Something to remember is that position can hold a lot of pressure and it’s not uncommon to see a few mistakes from even the most capable managers. The challenges are many, but solutions exist.
Whether it’s missed sales goals, employee productivity challenges, high-tension atmospheres or increased turnover, the following 5 techniques could turn your troubles around.
Focus on Frequency
You’ve heard of high-touch business models and you might have even heard of high-touch HR. The principle is, that people struggle to remain on task the more distant the interactions with the company becomes. In business, product and service providers work to give buyers customization and one-on-one attention, even if the approaches are automated. Companies might even establish an account manager to proactively contact clients and customers to explain new features or deals, all with the goal of maintaining a positive relationship.
Managing the performance of employees should be similar. While the annual review supports goal setting and compensation discussions, they simply aren’t enough. Employees need a steady idea of direction to ensure performance and productivity is ongoing.
Balance Out the Process
Employee performance relies heavily on the various approaches a leader takes during every step of development. There should be a combination of day to day interactions alongside frequent feedback that all work up to established, more formal, checkpoints like performance reviews. However, a leader shouldn’t rely on just those things as they often only include one viewpoint of the employee – their own.
Implementing 360-degree reviews and employee mentorships or coaching programs will create a more full circle view of workers while spotlighting some of the contributions employees make that a manager may not see. With a more balanced performance plan, your employees all have the ability to work under their best conditions.
Find Tech that Helps
HR technology and performance management tools are only beneficial if management understands the technology and actually uses it. A well-rounded performance management program has many intricacies like the above point states. Technology and automation can give managers the ability to cut down on administrative tasks and focus more on the individuals who work within their teams. But that doesn’t mean any performance tool or frequent feedback platform will work for every team.
Dive deep into your current strategy to find where tech intervention is hurting or helping. Find areas where improvements can be made and begin researching performance platforms. Make it a habit to audit these tools so leaders don’t feel stunted by their tools.
Know Yourself and Your Team
To be a great leader, it’s important to be confident in your abilities, but humble in your approach. The workforce is continually changing and because of that, leaders will have to change and grow too. A 2015 study found 71% of organizations believe their leaders aren’t ready to lead to the future.
Prioritize your own development by taking part in leadership training opportunities and by learning from your people. Each personality you encounter is a chance to learn new communication techniques and create an open relationship between you and the employee. The more communication, the more you can tailor your approach to their development. For example, you’ll know which introverted workers won’t speak up in meetings, but still have the desire to discuss career goals through one-on-one conversations.
From day one, employees need to understand both their role and how it affects the organization. Most leaders are happy to explain a company’s mission and values and even expect new hires to align, but is there enough connection between the individual, their job and the company’s overarching goal?
A whopping 70% of employees say they’re most engaged when senior leadership continually updates and communicates company strategy. The best part is not only are they engaged, but employees are informed of what the company is trying hard to achieve. When your business reaches challenging times, everyone will remain on the same page and feel confident in the importance of their role.
Leaders have major influence over present and future performance of employees, as well as the development of future managers. Succession planning and employee satisfaction is in the hands of your people managers, and that can be a lot of pressure. Overcoming leadership challenges isn’t black and white, but there are sure-fire performance management techniques that can help keep employee development on track.