People achieve results – not machines or techniques or philosophies or performance management strategies. Many organisations use their PR collateral to publicise that their most important assets are their hard working staff. Sometimes this is not the case in reality. Organisational culture, ethos and the real world environment in which people operate has a major influence on success in the workplace. If the practical reality of the work environment is at odds with the corporate brand values then it may lead to dissatisfaction and sub optimal performance from staff. In such circumstances, this is usually addressed by “performance management” techniques to improve performance. In some of the worst situations, this is through threats and coercion.

I have always found it difficult to grasp the concept that bribes, pressure, threats, public ridicule and humiliation are effective techniques for performance improvement – if you tell someone enough times that they useless at their job, they will eventually believe it. I cannot comprehend why any leader would set out to demotivate their main resource in the belief that it will lead to a better business outcome yet I have seen it happen so many times.

Why do so many managers, supervisors and team leaders take satisfaction from making the lives of their staff so miserable? Happy people will always work better than unhappy people. In the final analysis, it is all about leadership and in particular, about the leadership of the principal executive with ultimate responsibility for performance. We all perform in a way that pleases and emulates our immediate boss and this process cascades down the organisation from the top.

As always we come back to leadership – great visionary leaders earn respect, inspire confidence and stimulate a sense of well-being and pride in the followers – they also inspire others to work alongside them and to achieve great things. You know when you work with great leaders – they have crystal clear vision & self-belief, are exceptional communicators, and above all, have the innate capacity to carry everyone along on a relentless and exciting journey to sustainable success.

Some points of wisdom
  1. Put people first to achieve your aims.
  2. Communicate clearly and regularly.
  3. Let people know what their responsibilities are and support initiative and innovation.
  4. Identify their skills, aptitude, ambition and potential and develop a plan for their future development.
  5. Encourage people to achieve high standards in their work and support their learning and development.

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