Drawing a line with performance

by 27 May 2008

A RECENT study has found that 40 per cent of managers do not talk about the performance of their employees during discussions with them.

However, almost a quarter of managers actively discuss how to improve weaknesses with employees, while a third talk about the process of building their strengths.

The survey of 600 employees, conducted by Marcus Buckingham and research firm Ipsos, also found that 74 per cent of employees believe that finding and fixing their weaknesses is the best way to achieve outstanding performance.

While 53 per cent believe they are the best judges of their strengths, only 8 per cent of Australian employees think they play to their strengths all the time.

Speaking ahead of his Australian tour, Buckingham said that HR professionals needed to work more closely with line managers in getting the most out of their teams.

”HR professionals need to examine where they will get the best return on the investment in training, development and coaching, time and tools,” he said.

“HR can lead the charge here with line managers. It’s a wonderful opportunity for HR to dive into the middle of an issue that confuses most line managers and bedevils most employees.”

The survey found that 53 per cent of employees believe they have the freedom to carve out their jobs to play to their strengths, while a further 63 per cent said their ideal job is either what they are doing or a subset of what they are doing, but with more responsibility.

As such, Buckingham said that playing to people’s strengths will become increasingly important. “The fewer people you’ve got to do more work, the more important it is to get them to play to their best strengths and the more important it is that you, as a manager, understand what their strengths are because you need people to be more resilient,” he said.

“You need people to be able to complement one another … and more deliberate balancing of the team if you’re going to do more with less.”

Buckingham said organisations need to be efficient in how they partner people up. “If you want a classic example … all you’ve got to do is look at online virtual gaming. Look at teenagers and how they are joining up together,” he said.

“There are virtual teams happening all over the place as people come together to defeat a particular opponent. They go into battle together and disband after the mission is won.”

Marcus Buckingham will be speaking in Melbourne on Wednesday 4 June and in Sydney on Thursday 5 June. For more information visit www.businessconnect.com.au.

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