It’s that time of year again when the acorns are falling, and the squirrels are stocking up for winter.
But, what’s the connection between acorns and managing performance?
Having several large oak trees in my garden I know only too well what can happen to acorns if you leave them on the ground. Either the squirrels bury them, or they get covered over by leaves, and before you know it you have a small forest of oak saplings.
And not too easy to pull up once they’ve got their roots down.
So, the connection with managing performance?
Dealing with performance is a bit like picking up acorns.
If you pick up on problems early enough they can’t “germinate”. But left to fester they become established and just like an oak tree sapling, they become so much harder to deal with.
I often find junior or inexperienced managers in particular tend to avoid dealing with poor performance. They’re fearful of the difficult conversation. But the longer they leave it the worse it gets.
Here are 10 principles you can share with them to give them support.
- Set expectations, so everyone in the team knows what’s expected of them and why
- Be consistent so there are no mixed messages
- Address any issues straight away
- Conduct regular 1:1’s with team members where you can review performance and any support that’s needed
- When feeding back on performance stick to facts, not your interpretation of the facts
- Recognise not all performance shortfalls are down to the individual – there may be other factors at play beyond their control
- Use the ‘3E’ structure
- Focus on the end result. Your goal is to resolve the issue and improve performance in future
- Be mindful of your tone and language
- Recognise that failing to take any action about poor performance sends the message to everyone else that it’s OK
Of course, every business should have its own disciplinary process, and I am not suggesting by-passing that. But if you nip issues in the bud hopefully you won’t need to get as far as the disciplinary process.
Take Action on performance
If you only do one thing. Share this list with your junior managers and supervisors and give them the support they need to nip poor performance problems in the bud.
p.s. If you need some more help with developing your junior managers let’s have a chat to see how I can help.