Moral Intelligence 2.0 by Doug Lennick & Fred Kiel was an eye-opener, at an appropriate time, as I was reflecting on my dear friend’s departure from the one of the best 25 IT employers for 2011 by Business Insider. He had a stellar and long standing service amidst management & BD revolving doors (every 2 years for former and every quarter for latter on an average during his long stint). If every company follows this to its true colors, perhaps misunderstandings can be minimized and productivity maximized.
4 pronged approach to manage employee performance, excerpts from the book, below:
Communicating belief in the employee
Actions may speak louder than words but communicating a belief in the goodness of the follower needs to be actively spoken as well. In reality most of us starved of affirmation. The effective leader affirms employees most powerfully by acknowledging their strengths, by verbally referencing employees’ accomplishments and abilities. Best affirmative would be – “I believe in you, I know that you’re capable of even more than you have already achieved”. When an employee makes a serious mistake, however, stating your belief in that employees’ ideal self helps him or her deal more productively with the fallout of his or her real self failure. Emphasizing an employees’ weakness is rarely useful. Managers must be sensitive to the emotional minefields that all negative messages must navigate.
Reciprocal disclosure of moral compass and goals
Sharing your beliefs and goals and inviting your employee to do the same provides the basis for both to support the other’s actions. You may want to introduce this idea to your employee by saying this:
To be a good manager, I need to know where I‘m and disclose that you – w.r.t. to my principles, values and beliefs. I also need to know where you’re at, and our shared knowledge of each other will give us the foundation for a trusting relationship.
Begin by sharing yours that forms the moral compass because many employees will not have had a previous experience with a superior who asked for this kind of info. Your willingness to disclose personal beliefs will usually minimize any discomfort on the part of your employee. Also make sure your disclosure is not a formality and sharing this is to help your employee and tell employee that with this, you hope that together you can be enablers of each other. After discussing your beliefs, values and principles, your dialogue as manager might be like:
My job as your boss is to help you develop the necessary habits and routines that will help you to achieve your goals while honoring your principles and beliefs. I start with a belief in you, but if we’re going ti work together closely, I need to do more than imagine greatness in you. I want to know what you really want your life to be about-the things that really matter to you. what roles do you play, and how good do you want to be at each of them?
Contracting for feedback
The manager should seek permission to offer feedback and to solicit feedback from the employee about the manager’s own performance. Seeking permission to give feedback and asking for feedback levels the emotional playing field for the employee. In a 2 way communication, employee feels empowered rather than ashamed. Finally if a manager can characterize the feedback as an opportunity to help the employee accomplish important personal or professional goals, the employee will see the feedback as a performance aid rather than an attack. In contracting mutual feedback, you might want to say something like:
I know we will both make a bunch of mistakes.I want us to agree to help correct each other. I’m going to mess up. Would you be willing to let me know when you see me making a mistake?
Now who would not agree to that? when you have your employees’ agreement, you may then ask this:
If there are times when your performance is not consistent with the goals you have shared with me, may I let you know about that?
Now you have the stage for discussing performance problems in the context of goals that are important to your employee
Contracting for feedback sets the stage for confronting performance gaps that will inevitably arise. When employee provides feedback on you, responding well to that does not necessarily mean that you agree and instantly change your behavior. It does require at a minimum that you actively listen to their feedback, play it back to ensure that your employees know they have been heard, tell them how you plan to respond (even if you plan simply to think about it), and thank them for the respect they showed you by offering their feedback.
When you need to give negative feedback to your employees, it is important to reinforce the context of your belief in them. You might say something like:
Based on everything you’ve shared with me, I know you want to be great at the work you do. I’m sure that you are aware that [your performance in this area] has not been good, and we need to focus on these few areas to help you reach the goals you agreed were important to you.