Stop the micromanagement madness -- just do employee performance management really well

by Saba Software | Posted | Performance Management

Stop the micromanagement madness -- just do employee performance management really well

If you’ve ever been a victim of micromanagement, you know it can be unsettling, non-motivating and counter-productive. Every little thing you do is subject to management buy-in, review, advice and final approval.

It’s like you’re in grade one all over again — having to raise your hand just to go to the bathroom.

But we’re all adults now. We don’t need a hall pass or a hall monitor to get on with the business of doing our jobs. We shouldn’t need them anyway.

True, it is the manager’s role to provide a gentle guiding hand (or not so gentle depending on the situation). However constant over-the-shoulder monitoring of our day-to-day activities doesn’t help build a workforce of able, confident and high-performing employees. It is for these reasons I implore managers to…

Stop the endless employee productivity monitoring and start doing what needs to be done — adopting tried, tested and true performance management best practices. Positive things will naturally follow.

By positive, I mean improved motivation, better engagement and higher employee productivity.

The mechanics of motivation

Giving people a little autonomy can go a long way. It makes them feel, empowered, motivated and in control. Naturally, some employees may crave more autonomy than others. Others will have different needs or triggers that motivate them. This is true even if you have two employees with the same job function.

If this sounds a bit like Psych 101, that’s because in a way, it is. The underlying message here is that everyone is different. Good managers are tuned into what inspires each their team members.

Manager Tip: Download the Motivation Self-Assessment Worksheet (PDF) developed by Henryk Krajewski, VP and Senior Leadership Advisor at Anderson Leadership Group. This worksheet is a great jumping off point that can help spark a discussion on motivation.

Have your employees complete the worksheet to help identify their motivators: whether it’s the need for achievement, affiliation, autonomy, intellectual stimulation, power or security/comfort.

Once your employees have compared each of these needs and ranked them from one to six, have a discussion about the results.

p.s. Henryk is a great resource on effective leadership -follow him on Twitter: @buildvalue.

Hungry for regular feedback

I’ve written in the past that employees are starving for feedback, yet so many managers fail to provide it on an ongoing basis. Instead, feedback is saved up and shared only at annual performance review time.

This modus operandi for feedback can lead to missed opportunities to mark achievements and correct misaligned activities. This delay in giving feedback can also lead to feelings of resentment and dips in employee morale.

Giving feedback should be seen as a jumping point to a broader, ongoing discussion about performance. It’s an opportunity for you to communicate: your understanding/interpretation of a situation or circumstances; your expectations; and your appreciation (if appropriate).

And did I mention that it should be regular and ongoing? And by dialog, I mean that you should also provide your employees the opportunity to share their understanding/interpretation of that same situation or circumstance.

Manager Tip: We’ve pulled together seven tips that can help managers become masterful at feedback.

You can check these tips in Employee feedback examples: the good, the bad and the ugly, and how to give effective feedback.

Among them, you’ll find nice little nuggets of wisdom to help you with your feedback approach. You know, like choose the right place and time, be specific and give examples, etc.

Inspired by crystal clear goals

Without clear goals, it’s difficult for organizations to navigate through calm or turbulent waters. Without the direction provided by goals, employees can feel lost, unmotivated and uninspired because they don’t have a sense of how they are contributing to their organization’s success.

If this is the case in your organization, it’s time to get SMART about goal setting. The real aim of SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented and time-bound) goals is to specify the who, what, where, when and why for the goal.

SMART goals also help to ensure shared understanding and expectations about those goals with employees.

Manager Tip: When you and your employees know how to write SMART goals, it helps take the subjectivity out of goal setting, and ensures you have a shared set of expectations.

But how do you start drafting these goals? If you’re unsure take a few minutes to read Writing SMART Goals. This article explores the elements, and provides examples of, SMART goals. It even demonstrates how to design your employee evaluation form to support them, so consider sharing it with your HR Manager.

Now, I’m not saying that all these best-practices can be implemented overnight. Recognizing what you need to do is an important first step. If managers want to build a team of productive, motivated employees, it’s time to swap “in-your-face” micromanagement and unclear goals for greater employee autonomy, and SMART goals.

Remember to check out Henryk’s Motivation Self-Assessment Worksheet. Managers and employees, you both could find it an enlightening experience. 

Download the Motivation Self-Assessment Worksheet


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Download the Motivation Self-Assessment Worksheet


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