Much has been written over the past few decades about performance management. Some theorists approach performance management from a systems perspective, others from a psychological perspective, and still others from a human capital point of view.
While we could argue for days on the merits of various theories and approaches, my appeal in this post is quite simple. Regardless of your perspective on performance management theory, it is critical that you engage in performance management practice. When leaders engage in performance management, employees are much more likely to experience:
- A Sense of Direction – I once heard an old story that goes something like, “A woman asked her husband, ‘Why don’t you ever tell me you love me?’ The man replied, ‘I told you I loved you when we got married. If I change my mind, I’ll let you know.’”
It may be quite easy to vilify the calloused approach; but ironically, many bosses treat employees the same way. Finding good people is one thing—keeping them is another. One of the primary ways to keep good people on board is to consistently engage in performance conversations.
- A Sense of Purpose – When employees never hear from supervisors, assumptions have fertile ground for rampant growth. Just as an expert gardener tends his or her garden over many months for the purpose of a greater harvest, expert employers must tend to the hearts and minds of employees if they expect greater engagement and work output.
- A Sense of Loyalty – Research has proven that performance management increases employee loyalty. Susan Adams of Forbes notes:
“…high performers tend to thrive on feeling involved and challenged. They also act as company ambassadors with clients, customers and potential hires. If they are bored or they feel under-appreciated, they will stop talking up their employer, mentally unplug from their work, start looking for opportunities elsewhere and eventually jump ship.”
If the crew “jumps ship,” it is going to be much more difficult to reach the final destination. “Lonely leader” is an oxymoron. Engage with your people and they will be much more likely to engage in their work.