What is Performance Leadership?
Performance leadership is the backbone of leadership. First line managers must inspire their employees. Performance Management is the mind part of management. Performance leadership is the heart and spirit of leadership. First line managers can get by without a performance management plan; they cannot without a performance leadership attitude. It is the human side of what we do.
There are two areas I feel your performance leadership is critical. Making decisions and developing employees. If we expect our employees to respect and follow us me must imbue a certain spirit of collaboration with in our department. Making effective decisions is the key to respect. Collaborative effort is the key to training and learning. Effective decisions lead to the collaborative spirit in a department.
Decisions made by you fall into several categories: immediate, patient, fullness of time, and collaborative. There is a kind of hierarchy to these decisions. Here is my thought on these. Every decision you make must take your organization toward collaboration. This is where the heart and spirit of your employees will be fulfilled.
First line managers must make immediate decisions in certain situations as problems occur. My first day as the General Manager of the Ramada Inn Crest, I made a decision immediately. I went behind the front desk at the hotel to check the number of rooms we rented. A front desk clerk challenged me, she said what are you doing here, you have no business here. She knew I was the new manager. I asked her how much she liked working here. She picked up on that comment, she said, “you can’t fire me.” I replied you know you are right. I walked over to the phone, called my front desk manager. I told him to fire the clerk when he came in. I then left. This is a situation that could not be postponed. The motel was bankrupt; we did not have time to discuss these issues. The month prior to my coming the hotel had lost $1,700. The first month I was there we made $7,000, from this point we never made less than $10,000 a month. Insubordination must be handled immediately. This is one example of a immediate decision. There are many other examples that require this type of decision, emergencies, for example. You as a front line manager must have the knowledge and courage to make these decisions.
Patient decisions are mostly made when an employee is having a difficult time handling a change or in training for the job. At the Admiral Benbow in Birmingham, a desk clerk struggled with the processes involved with the front desk business activities. I and the front desk manager worked together training her. She did not perform up to the tasks. We let her go. When I got the Ramada Inn Crest, there she was. She was a hostess in the restaurant. What was I going to do? Nothing is what I did. She was the best. Every job is different; patience may be finding the right fit for a good employee.
The fullness of time decision may occur when you want to move or replace an employee; but, because of some restraint you can’t. Your other employees will recognize that the employee is a good employee; but, not a team player. This employee is very good at the functions of the job. Your boss tells you the company does not want to lose him/her. This is a tough problem to handle. You must wait for the fullness of time to solve the problem. If this is the case, you will bide your time with the other employees and keep disruptions to a minimum. Also, you must take corrective measures to get the problem employee to become a better team player. It is amazing that in the long run most of these problems will present the right answer, for the employee and your department. The company keeps a good employee; and, you get to move the employee to another department.
Corroborative decision making is the most effective decisions. These decisions come as employees inculcate a clear understanding of the mission and procedures of your department. Employees take ownership of the processes and in an open way contribute to making the most effective decision. The hostess in the above story is a clear example of this. She knew what customer service meant for our restaurant. She took real time corrective action. When she saw a waitress get behind she helped her. She was always very polite. She dressed up to the role. She took the time each night to create a welcoming atmosphere for our customers. She and the waiters working together as one. Each night she directed a play. Good food and good service was the plot.
When your employees reach the collorative level, everything you and they do is highly effective. Change is almost effortless. Employees trust you and your mission for the department. You, the employees, and the company benefit from the corroboration in your department.