From vampires and mummies to witches and zombies, Halloween can bring out some pretty interesting creatures but, then again, so can the employee performance review.
For fun, we decided to take a new twist on, The 5 Faces Managers See During Performance Reviews —a webinar in which Kris Dunn from Fistful of Talent, breaks down some of the most common faces managers see during employee performance reviews. In the webinar, Kris explains how managers can identify and engage each of the personas to drive higher performance. Well today we’re introducing you to the 5 faces from a different perspective — our very own Halloween edition.
Warning: This blog post contains scarily truthful information about managing different employee personas and may help make you a better manager. Reader discretion advised.
Okay, it’s really not that scary. If you’re still up for it, let’s look at 5 faces.
These blood-thirsty undead folks can really suck the life out of everyone in the workplace. Your attempts to cajole them into having a sunnier disposition are more likely to go up in ashes than not.
Although they’ll put in a decent effort at work, they’re highly particular about their hours. They’re strictly 9-to-5 (night shift only). Sure, they’ll give you a 40-hour work week, but don’t ask them to go over and above; they could become very offended and take a bite out of you.
Strategies for dealing with vampires
With these pale-skinned, dark-natured 9-to-5ers, development plans aren’t your top priority. Focusing on efficiency should be. And one of the ways you can do this — if your workplace culture permits — is to give them greater flexibility as to when and where they work. If you define work as being in the office from 9 to 5, and that’s that, you won’t get any more performance effort out of a vampire.
Face it. These walking dead are totally wrapped up in themselves and, frankly, pretty dead productivity-wise. It’s quite possible that they were high-performers at some point in time but, unfortunately, the motivation to excel at work has met its untimely demise.
Zombies never take accountability for things gone wrong, tasks left undone. Instead, they groan a lot about things “not being their job” or “not being their fault.” When not kept in check, zombies can spread their terrible contagion to others.
Strategies for dealing with zombies
Through coaching, focus zombies on the things they can individually control so they won’t have an opportunity to deflect or say, “It’s not my job” or “I’m not responsible for it.” Determine and discuss “workarounds” for overcoming obstacles or challenges to getting a task done. If you don’t take the workaround route to bypass obstacles, your zombie team members are likely to disengage and continue to come up with an excuses and deflection tactics.
The Shapeshifter (e.g., werewolf)
Animal, human or mythological creature? That’s the problem with shapeshifters. They really can’t decide who they are or what they want to be.
A fairly positive force around the office, shapeshifters typically have a lot of potential but, the fact is, they’re unsure about what they want in a career. The ongoing process of changing shapes to find out where they fit can be energy-zapping and lead to huge frustration for these supernatural beings.
Strategies for dealing with shapeshifters
This is one individual for which you definitely want to have a development plan. Coaching and ongoing discussions about goals and performance are critical for keeping Shapeshifters engaged, motivated and loyal. If you don’t put the time and effort into developing them, you’ll risk losing them.
Be careful they understand what you mean when you say, “We see you as a high-potential manager in the future.” They might misunderstand the whole timing thing and believe that a promotion is imminent, when it’s not.
Born with magical powers, expert at casting spells and masterful at flying through the air, it’s not surprising that witches can possess pretty big egos under those big black pointy hats.
They’re also used to flying solo and answering to no one, which doesn’t make them the best team players in the world. They’re good performers in many areas but not all (even though they think they excel in everything). It almost goes without saying that they can be very disruptive to those around them. After all, they’re witches.
Strategies for dealing with witches
Witches have probably never been coached before and don’t think they need coaching now, which means you’ve got your work cut out for you. Start by setting the baseline in the areas that they can improve in and say “Hey, actually this is what we need, and here’s where you are”.
Make sure you provide the definition of what meeting or exceeding performance is. Then you need to contrast the different ratings, distinguish them and be as specific as you can — and push for greater performance in those areas.
Okay, so superheroes aren’t all that scary — although sometimes their fashion sense can be a little frightening. Think of superheroes as being the company’s superstars. They're always “in control” and confident — and why shouldn’t they?
They’ve got the superpower knowledge, skills and abilities that make them pretty irreplaceable. These masked crusaders typically obliterate most of the performance goal expectations and consistently go over and above what’s asked of them. It’s difficult not to secretly hate them.
Strategies for dealing with superheroes
With superheroes, you know what you’ve got. You’ve got the best in the field and you’ve got to ensure you engage and retain them. They’re not sure if they have anything to learn from you so coaching might not be the way to go. Even if this is the case you, as manager, must do everything in your (human) power to keep your heroes engaged.
If you fail to engage, you won’t get what you need from him or her in terms of being a leader to others in your organization. Worst-case scenario? They’ll fly off to the competition — something you can’t afford.
The trick (or treat) for driving higher performance in your organization
First, recognize that multiple faces exist — and then identify them on your team. From there, you can determine the appropriate focus, goals, development plans and coaching for each of these employee types.
When you understand who’s on your team and how to motivate them to high performance, then managing these difference faces is no longer all that scary. Fascinated by the 5 faces? Recognize any of the above personas in your organization? Can you identify others? Why not share them with us. Happy Halloween!