What is Performance DNA?
Much like any living organism, organizations have blueprints or codes...
Earlier today, while reading my daily news digest from CLO Magazine, an article caught my attention. The title of the article was “Survey: Most Managers Not Interested in Staff Development.” That title made my head turn much like my dog’s head turns when I say, “I would appreciate it if you would stop barking at that rabbit.” As a consultant focused on leadership development and talent management, that thought of managers not being interested in staff development is ludicrous and goes against my conventional wisdom.
However, as I read the article, it was clear that those surveyed were employees, and it was the employees that said managers are not interested in my development. My next thought was …hmm, that title is slightly misleading and alarmed at least one performance consultant—me. I left the article and thought...”that title is misleading and should I blog about that!?” Well, as I decided to in-fact blog about the article and its contents, and returned to the article, WA LA! The title of the article has now changed. The title is now “Employees Say Most Managers Not Interested in Staff Development.” I’m only guessing that perhaps, I was not the only one who thought the title was a little misleading.
So now that the title is slightly more accurate, there are still a few points addressed in the article that turned my head in the other direction. For example, more than half of the 450 individuals surveyed responded that their managers rarely or never take an interest in helping them develop in their roles.
While yes this may be a leadership issue, I wonder if this is more of an empowerment or performance related issue. Meaning,
a) do these employees clearly understand what they must produce on the job, and
b) do these individuals themselves take ownership of their own development?
I remember early in my career when my manager said to me, “you are in control of your own development.” I looked at her like she had two heads. I didn’t, at that time, fully understand that my development was my responsibility. We all can be told what we need to do, but we are all adults and it’s up to us to execute and engage in the development necessary to improve our performance. Our managers are a support system, not our parents!
So yes, while the article points out that these results are a sign that employees want more coaching and regular performance feedback, and want to know what they are doing well and where they can improve, why not just ask!? Some of you may say, “I could never ask a question like that outside of my annual performance review.” While I understand that performance related questions like that might be taboo, I wonder though, what is the risk of asking? After all, you are already thinking it, so that leads me to believe you are open to the feedback and knowing what you need to do to improve your performance. So why not just ask instead of waiting to be told?!
At Beacon we often hear that organizations want to transform their performance management system into a performance management culture. While this isn’t something that can be done overnight, it is not impossible. Perhaps as an employee living in the system, you can start by asking a simple question!?