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Performance Management Can’t Be Delegated Or Abdicated!

by David Brock on October 17th, 2011

A key aspect of the manager’s job is performance management.  Surprisingly, I seem to run across a fair number “managers” that don’t own this responsibility.  They don’t do it, or try to delegate it so someone else.

There are various categories of managers that really don’t manage performance:

  • The manager, trapped behind a desk, managing paperwork, internal bureaucracy, not connected with the field.
  • There’s the “super-person” manager–the one’s that know how to do deals better then anyone else.  Rather than coaching and strategizing, they swoop in, pushing the sales person to the side, and do the deal themselves.
  • There’s the numbers manager.  These think they are managing performance, but their focus is purely on the numbers and what you are doing to achieve them.  They focus on, “Have you made the right number of calls?”  “What’s your forecast?”  “Where are you on these deals?”  They don’t look at what the numbers mean and how to help their people improve.
  • There’s the manager that knows she has problem performers, but chooses not to address them, waiting for the next layoff to get rid of the people. 
  • There’s the manager who thinks performance management is HR’s job, calling in an HR specialist to address problem issues.
  • There are managers who delegate performance issues upward–trying to make it their manager’s problem.
  • Finally, there’s the manager who just doesn’t manage performance.  He sets no expectations other than quota, doesn’t coach, doesn’t identify and address problem performers.

There are probably a few more types that you can identify.

But the key reason managers exist is to manage performance.  It’s a tough job, you can’t do it from a distance, you have to get into the action, roll up your sleeves and be engaged with your people every day.  You have to define performance expectations–clearly, making sure each person understand and owns these expectations for themselves.  You have to measure and monitor performance.  You have to identify problems people have in meeting the expectations, coaching them, working with them to overcome the difficulties they are having.  You have to address problem performers–those that continue to fail to meet performance expectations, despite all the coaching provided.

It’s the manager’s job–it’s no one else’s.

Performance problems don’t just disappear by themselves.  No one else has the responsibility for managing performance.  Managers who choose not to manage performance problems are a performance problem themself.

What kind of manager are you?

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