As with every year, the end of a year brings people to consider what are the good intentions for the following one. I will try to do so for professional regarding to theirs as people managers.
Let’s start with a quick list:
1- “I will better understand level of performance of my direct reports, having clear and honest discussions with team; then rather than talking about it, I will listen to their thoughts”. Often managers have a hypothetical knowledge of directs’ activities and have biased expectations due to a not complete information about all required operation and contingent environment. “Being in the shoes” of their directs and being sit near them sometimes for a full work day could improve that understanding.
2- “I know that performance management is often linked with compensation plan. I must remember that my team will talk about that in my department and even outside. I will be prepared not in order to justify my choices, but being able to refer to objective facts”. It is true that performance management is often at discretion of managers, but managers have to be objective and show high transparency and ethics in that decisions. It must be like it, because these events have consequences on employees’ commitment and motivation.
3- “I have to stop thinking that development plans are related to projection of who is going to be my successor in 2-3 years” . Today in business, 2-3 years are equivalent to 10 years of the 90’s. Managers have to think about timing for maximum annual or 6 months development paths. The market imposes its rules, as well as that of the labor market. If you (as manager) cannot assign a merit increase, start with something as simple as a formalization of job titles or job enlargements / horizontal moves. During a year, your direct reports could receive job offers.
4- “Stop assuming that my requests to team are always a priority and they have to adjust their paces to mine”. Pushing a team to work at your image will bring directs to go haywire. It is not obvious that your pace (as manager) is the same that allow your directs performing and achieving their daily goals. Additionally from this threat about directs’ performance, if lately that “urgency” will not be considered anymore like it, result of that event will be only increase chances of creating detachment and demotivation.
5- “I have to risk more giving higher visibility to my direct reports in terms of exposure with management. It will give prestige also to me and my department”. Sometimes managers delegate only operational tasks or uncomfortable answers and not presentation of interesting and innovative initiatives. It is fundamental to motivate and empower employees trough recognition press.
Happy 2014, people managers and directs.