Thursday, May 14, 2015

Should Managers Focus on Performance or Engagement?

Performance is a by-product of engagement.

The speed of change is accelerating, organizations are shifting from industrial speed to digital speed; from the inside out - operation driven to the outside in - people-centric.

With unprecedented opportunities and many pitfalls on the journey of digital transformation, should leaders or managers focus on operation performance or employee engagement, short term quick win, or long term business excellence?

Performance and engagement go hand in hand. Performance is a result of how well a manager engages in developing an employee. Of course, the employee has to do his or her part of having the right attitude, skills, and willingness to participate in the development process. It is all about creating a strong relationship, understanding, reflect, and drive performance. Engaging not only helps in performance but helps the employee to go the extra mile for achieving more with joy. We must understand the sky's the limit for performance, and when an employee exerts, enriches, and enjoys to the best - the organization benefits along with the employee.

Performance is a by-product of engagement: Why would you consider them exclusive - when one is so correlated to the other that with engagement, comes improved performance, and good performance - if measured effectively, will demonstrate higher levels of employee engagement. So the key is that the measures for both need strict and meaningful ties to company strategy, the organization's performance goals, and roles and responsibilities that specifically result in the outcomes required for competitive advantage. If skills are lacking, the goals won't be achieved. Therefore, a good talent management strategy also needs to be in place. All common sense stuff - but requires visionary leadership along with a lot of drilling down into the systems and processes that support organizational structure.

Managers must be mentors, "bosses" and to a degree a confidant: Being from "the old school," a manager's needs to accomplish their goals through their people. They must develop, motivate, and reward their folks. They must also offer constructive advice when necessary. How often do you see the high performance from a disengaged team? It is through proper engagement that you can build trust, to help drive performance and continuous improvement. To notice and allow poor performance often perpetuates it. To get respect, you must give respect. You must communicate the goal and how each person fits into the success of that goal. As a result, everyone is on the same page and success shall follow.

Performance management is not just about winning, but in pursuit of excellence: Winning and excellence are superb words for people and individuals anywhere in the world, who work very hard honestly in business with integrity to follow and achieve their goals and be competitive. Competition is good. It will make you work hard with more passion and more inspiration, the same as life. If we go deep, then two lines or two paragraphs will not be able to describe it. The difference between excellence and winning only is just to compare professional vs. unprofessional attitude. The mind digging has to go in deep. Unprofessionalism may make you win but never lead to excellence.

High-performance managers do both. They reward good behavior. They find ways to discourage negative behavior. They are strengths-based, engagement-focused, and performance-oriented. They develop deep interpersonal relationships with their employees and focus on achieving excellence, beyond driving performance only.


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