In changing times, old ways do not give new results. In fact the enormity and the dynamics of change stimulate us to re-imagine and explore new dimensions of existing methods. We can theorize the above with reasonable certainty in the context of post Covid-19 performance management. The practicality lying in the fact that the paradigm of performance management will need to undergo drastic change. In the interest of improved employee performance and better business impact, it may be worthwhile for leaders to examine some unique approaches which play the sheet anchor’s role in driving performance.
- Empathy: The most valuable currency for change is empathy. In the famous words of John Maxwell, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”. Care builds trust and trust begets performance. In the changed paradigm of driving performance leaders who invest in relationships to build their social capital and engage meaningfully will score well. Additionally, focusing on employee well-being and providing an emotionally anchoring employee experience that transforms the organization into an “experience centre” will make them score a home run. It is in this context that high emotional intelligence on part of the leader will play a pivotal role.
- Agility: Akin to quickly adjusting the sail to navigate the ship in a different direction, agility is the key to unlock the performance potential. When performance goals are agile, performance results are better. In the new race track of high performance, leaders who constantly set and review performance goals on the basis of emergent business context and environment, provide real time dynamic feedback and positively differentiate high performance with tactical flexibility in awards, rewards and recognition will be able to ensure that all team members are sprinting in the correct direction. This race for performance by individuals and teams will lead to sustainable organizational high performance.
- Walking the talk: The true meaning and manifestation of leadership lies in leading from the front. “Words do less than 10 things, but actions do more than 10,000 things”. Performance is the balance sheet of actions, not intent or rhetoric. Hence successful leaders don’t talk in vain; they follow up with actions. When team members emulate those leaders, performance zooms like a fast car. In the shifting paradigm of performance management, “walking the talk” by the leadership is not only a crucial determinant of a performance culture but also demands several visual appearances. For example, when promoting a performance oriented culture, transparency in policies and practices is a key positive behavior. If the leader talks about wellness, his actions need to make people’s wellness a real, visible priority.
- Development focus: Development and performance have a positive co-relation. Hence a work culture that is built on continuous development focus of employees, yields great individual and organizational results. This is because personal growth is a great motivator. In the emergent landscape of performance management, workplaces that are a melting pot of ideation, learning and collaboration will see enviably greater success. Ergo, leaders who continue to invest in people development by demonstrating awareness to their tailored development needs, facilitate a growth mindset, become coaches themselves and provide unbiased equal opportunity to build a learning culture will not only reap a rich harvest but also earn the employee’s conviction to invest their lives for the success of the organization.
- Communicating optimism: In the stressful and dynamic work environment of today, performance is often the collateral damage. Thankfully, the communication of optimism is the antidote that boosts performance. Optimism is communicated when leaders lead teams by showing confidence in a better tomorrow, despite initial setbacks. It is also communicated when leaders invigorate team members to boost their expectations of positive future outcomes. The result being improved cohesiveness in teams. To inspire and sustain high performance, leaders who communicate in a manner that makes the employees look at the proverbial “glass as half full, than half empty”, rule the roost. Apropos to the new world order in performance management, leaders who habitually exhibit behaviors and expressions reflecting self belief and hope, demonstrate resilience and paint a positive picture of future are the ones who will enjoy the fruits of superior performance of team members. It is this collective high performance of all team members that will create tangible, positive business impact.
Leaders are the crucial differentiating factor on which both employee and organization performance hinges upon. To create a legacy of great performance humane innovation is the key.