As a coach and consultant, performance conversations tend to start with emotions and adjectives. One of the challenges in gaining clarity is to have a conversation that gets down to the root cause, and it also means talking to both the frustrated leader and the individual. Here are the questions I ask:
- Do they/you know what is expected of you at work? What are they?
- Do they/you have the tools and resources to do your job well? (see question 3 for how to deep dive on the specifics)
- If Yes to both 1 and 2, do you feel you/they GWC the role. (G = Get It, W = Want It, C = Capacity to do it) *GWC is from a strategic planning tool I use called EOS
I don’t look at creating a performance focused culture, because my experience has shown me that leaders take this path by starting with accountability and expecting work to get done. I have learned through Denison, a partner company I use for surveys, and my own experience that it is important to focus on creating a culture that supports performance. It aligns with my own belief that individuals own their performance and development, and the organization owns support.
When we start with defining the target together and supporting the work to get there (frequent one on ones, asking what they need, following through, repeating often), more often than not it ends in a trusting relationship where the important things can get talked about. Leaders, this is your work in SUPPORTING performance through the culture you create.
When people ask you what they can do to help, tell them. Beware of asking for the extremes – no help (because you are frustrated, angry at someone, or your EGO is on overdrive) or having them do everything. Sales is a great example because of the frequent ups and downs in a challenging market. When you are missing sales numbers – role playing, prioritizing your leads, reviewing your pipeline are all great support activities. Maybe even asking some people to make some calls for you or leverage relationships they have in some of your maybe companies.
Support is a two way street, it has to be offered and it has to be accepted. The times we get in life when it has to be forced are the tough times. Just ask an adult child who has arranged assisted living or nursing home care for a parent. If the point is reached where a leader feels they need to force assistance in getting work done (what individuals often call micro-managing) it is probably time for you to leave.
I know it is never that easy, but it is that simple. If that outcome is not what you want, then start back at the beginning and make a commitment to change your half of the conversation.