HR Grapevine
HR Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Managing and developing people to be their best

Without proper leadership from their manager, most employees end up achieving only a moderate level of...
Managing and developing people to be their best

Managing and developing people to be their best




Scott Blanchard

Principal and EVP




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Without proper leadership from their manager, most employees end up achieving only a moderate level of performance on key tasks. To bring out the best in a team member, managers need to be able to set clear goals, diagnose the person’s development level, and then flex their own personal leadership style to meet the employee’s needs.

All Good Performance Begins with Clear Goals

Most leaders agree with the importance of setting proper goals but don’t take the time to partner with their people to create goals that are specific and trackable, relevant, attainable, and motivating. That’s part of the reason why we’ve taken the traditional SMART model of goal setting and turned it into a STRAM conversation process. In this approach, we separate the familiar acronym into two pieces—one that is written and one that is used to guide one-on-one conversations.

The written piece includes the S and T of the SMART model. Leaders and direct reports should work in partnership to write down the specifics of the goal and how progress will be tracked. Once the S and T are in place, we recommend reviewing the other three elements—relevant, attainable, and motivating—as a part of a one-on-one conversation.

Start by discussing relevancy and ensuring that accomplishing the goal will make a difference to the organization. Next, discuss the degree to which the goal is attainable. When a goal is too difficult to accomplish, people may give up—but when it is too easy, people tend to procrastinate. Finally, discuss whether the goal is motivating by considering if accomplishing the goal will drain energy from the team member’s work experience or add enjoyment.

 

 

Diagnosing Development Level

Once goals are set, effective performance management continues by diagnosing an employee’s development level for that goal. Depending on the direct report’s levels of competence and commitment on a particular goal or task, you’ll find they will fall into one of four stages of development:

D1—Enthusiastic Beginner

D2—Disillusioned Learner

D3—Capable, but Cautious, Contributor

D4—Self-Reliant Achiever

If a direct report is new and inexperienced about the task at hand—a D1 Enthusiastic Beginner—more guidance and direction are called for. If the direct report is experienced and skilled—a D4 Self-Reliant Achiever—that person requires less hands-on supervision.

Flexing Your Management Style

As a team member moves from one development level to the next, a leader’s style should change accordingly. The third skill in bringing out a direct report’s best is gaining the person’s permission to use the leadership style that is a match.

If a leader believes a direct report is an Enthusiastic Beginner, they might test that assumption by saying “How would it be if I set a goal that will stretch you but is attainable, and then develop an action plan for you that will enable you to reach that goal? After that, I’d like to provide whatever help you need as you get started and meet with you on a regular basis to discuss your progress. Do you agree this could be a way for you to get up to speed as quickly as possible?” If the direct report agrees, they are off and running.

On the other hand, suppose a direct report is a Self-Reliant Achiever on a particular goal and can handle a delegating leadership style. The leader might say “The ball is in your court—just keep me in the information loop. Let me know if you have any concerns. Unless I hear from you, or the information I receive tells me otherwise, I’ll assume everything is fine. Does that work for you?” If the direct report says yes, they can take action until their performance or communication suggests differently.

In either of these two examples, if the direct report doesn’t agree, further discussion between manager and direct report should take place until a leadership approach is decided on. This is accomplished during the initial goal-setting conversation and should be reevaluated during weekly check-ins if anything changes.

Ready to Get Started?

All people have peak performance potential—their manager just needs to learn where they are coming from and meet them there. Leaders looking to improve their effectiveness with direct reports should evaluate the way they set goals, diagnose development level and adjust their leadership style. It is a proven process that leads to exceptional performance. Get started today!

 

If you wish to learn more about The Ken Blanchard Companies’ research on team leadership, please contact [email protected] or click the button below...

 

Without proper leadership from their manager, most employees end up achieving only a moderate level of performance on key tasks. To bring out the best in a team member, managers need to be able to set clear goals, diagnose the person’s development level, and then flex their own personal leadership style to meet the employee’s needs.

All Good Performance Begins with Clear Goals

Most leaders agree with the importance of setting proper goals but don’t take the time to partner with their people to create goals that are specific and trackable, relevant, attainable, and motivating. That’s part of the reason why we’ve taken the traditional SMART model of goal setting and turned it into a STRAM conversation process. In this approach, we separate the familiar acronym into two pieces—one that is written and one that is used to guide one-on-one conversations.

The written piece includes the S and T of the SMART model. Leaders and direct reports should work in partnership to write down the specifics of the goal and how progress will be tracked. Once the S and T are in place, we recommend reviewing the other three elements—relevant, attainable, and motivating—as a part of a one-on-one conversation.

Start by discussing relevancy and ensuring that accomplishing the goal will make a difference to the organization. Next, discuss the degree to which the goal is attainable. When a goal is too difficult to accomplish, people may give up—but when it is too easy, people tend to procrastinate. Finally, discuss whether the goal is motivating by considering if accomplishing the goal will drain energy from the team member’s work experience or add enjoyment.

 

 

Diagnosing Development Level

Once goals are set, effective performance management continues by diagnosing an employee’s development level for that goal. Depending on the direct report’s levels of competence and commitment on a particular goal or task, you’ll find they will fall into one of four stages of development:

D1—Enthusiastic Beginner

D2—Disillusioned Learner

D3—Capable, but Cautious, Contributor

D4—Self-Reliant Achiever

If a direct report is new and inexperienced about the task at hand—a D1 Enthusiastic Beginner—more guidance and direction are called for. If the direct report is experienced and skilled—a D4 Self-Reliant Achiever—that person requires less hands-on supervision.

 

 

Flexing Your Management Style

As a team member moves from one development level to the next, a leader’s style should change accordingly. The third skill in bringing out a direct report’s best is gaining the person’s permission to use the leadership style that is a match.

If a leader believes a direct report is an Enthusiastic Beginner, they might test that assumption by saying “How would it be if I set a goal that will stretch you but is attainable, and then develop an action plan for you that will enable you to reach that goal? After that, I’d like to provide whatever help you need as you get started and meet with you on a regular basis to discuss your progress. Do you agree this could be a way for you to get up to speed as quickly as possible?” If the direct report agrees, they are off and running.

On the other hand, suppose a direct report is a Self-Reliant Achiever on a particular goal and can handle a delegating leadership style. The leader might say “The ball is in your court—just keep me in the information loop. Let me know if you have any concerns. Unless I hear from you, or the information I receive tells me otherwise, I’ll assume everything is fine. Does that work for you?” If the direct report says yes, they can take action until their performance or communication suggests differently.

In either of these two examples, if the direct report doesn’t agree, further discussion between manager and direct report should take place until a leadership approach is decided on. This is accomplished during the initial goal-setting conversation and should be reevaluated during weekly check-ins if anything changes.

Ready to Get Started?

All people have peak performance potential—their manager just needs to learn where they are coming from and meet them there. Leaders looking to improve their effectiveness with direct reports should evaluate the way they set goals, diagnose development level and adjust their leadership style. It is a proven process that leads to exceptional performance. Get started today!

If you wish to learn more about The Ken Blanchard Companies’ research on team leadership, please contact [email protected] or click the button below...

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