As leaders and sales managers, a key aspect of our jobs is to manage performance. I find lots of different approaches people use, but at the core the approaches tend to reflect two completely different views of performance. (Stuart Cross has an interesting perspective, looking at 4 views–we’re actually not far apart, I’d encourage you to watch his short video on this.)
I find managers who are problem solving oriented and others who are developmental oriented.
The problem solving oriented manager is focused on today’s performance issues and addressing them. They look for shortcomings in current performance—someone not making their number, a person not making the right number of calls, a person needing sales skills development, enabling them to close more business. They focus on addressing today’s specific issues and crises. Their goal is to find and eliminate today’s problems.
Some of these problem solving oriented managers are terrible in their approaches—they don’t coach, they tell. They berate the individual, sometimes telling them to shape up or ship out. Other problem solving oriented managers can be very good coaches. They sit with their people, seek to understand the challenges people are having, and work to solve or eliminate problems. They work with each person on their team, knocking off each problem as it comes up.
There’s another approach some managers take to performance management, it’s a developmental approach. These managers take a slightly different perspective of performance management. Their focuse is not just on today’s issues–though that provides a foundation, but rather on developing the person to achieve their full potential — both in their current role and in future roles. They actively look to develop the capabilities of their people so they can step into bigger roles, take on more responsibility. Managers focused on a developmental approach to performance management seek to avoid problems in the future. They try to find ways of coaching the person, getting them to develop themselves, to stretch, to learn, to grow.
Developmental managers are not just concerned about their peoples’ performances today, they want to see them reach their full potential–contributing in greater ways to the organization and to their own attainment. They have a proactive approach to performance management–not only focused on great performance today, but sustaining and improving that performance over time.
What kind of manager are you? How do you manage performance? Do you focus on today’s problems and address only the performance issues of your people today? Do you look at today, and tomorrow? Do you help your people identify and avoid problems? Are you focused on helping them achieve their full potential–both for themselves and for the organization?