Recently I did a post on the Seven Diseases of Middle Management. I have been exploring each disease in more detail. This post focuses on Performance Management Phobia.
Disease: Performance Management Phobia
Performance Management Phobia strikes many middle managers. The affliction is diagnosed when the fear and discomfort of managing employees gets in the way of the manager´s responsibility to create an environment of high performance. Performance Management Phobia can result in either the avoidance or bungling of performance conversations. Because the fear can be very deep-seated, this one of the hardest middle management diseases to cure.
Poor performers are not managed, don’t improve, nor are they dealt with when they cannot improve.
Employees do not know how well they are doing their jobs.
Excellent performers are not adequately reinforced and recognized.
Personnel issues linger and fester and get in the way of team performance.
Performance evaluation conversations are awkward and unhelpful.
Strong doses of accountability, helpful tools, and practice offer the best chance for eradicating Performance Management Phobia. Afflicted managers may need training to learn how to have performance conversations with individuals and teams. They also need to learn and practice communicating performance expectations, providing feedback, and giving reinforcement.
Managers need to learn how to create a work environment that encourages optimal performance. An aspect of this is understanding the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and what managers can do to affect intrinsic motivation.
Managers with Performance Management Phobia are often poor coaches and will need training and support in this area.
Managers need to be extremely picky when selecting new team members. An employee who is the right fit for the job and the team will have far fewer performance challenges.
Performance management is not an optional middle management activity. Productivity, efficiency, teamwork, employee satisfaction, and retention improve with effective performance management. Performance Management Phobia harms employee satisfaction and morale as well as performance. Employees expect their manager to take care of performance problems and deal with poor performers. Employees also have a reasonable expectation to know how well they are performing and what is expected of them.