Jun 16

Strenghts-Based Performance Management

Heinz Landau
Heinz Landau is a seasoned business leader who has gained valuable working and leadership experience on three different continents.

The annual or semi-annual performance review is hardly an event to look forward to. Often enough, employees are scared, sometimes they are afraid of being treated unfairly. Even as the manager, you are not looking forward to the performance management review session. The process is often over-complicated and a comprehensive form has to be filled for the Human Resources Department, the superior and the subordinate.

Recently, we had arranged an in-house seminar with Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener, a world thought leader in the application of positive psychology to individuals and organizations.

During our workshop, Robert provided some practical suggestions for conducting strenghts-based performance reviews. He recommended to our senior managers not to feel like the leader during the performance review talk, but rather like a team member, with everybody in the team having his own role.

Robert also suggested that the performance management meeting should take the form of an interview and not a feedback session from manager to subordinate where the subordinate is on the receiving end. Like this, the session becomes motivating, because the subordinate plays the major role in the session by providing reflection and insight rather than simply being a passive recipient of feedback.

The manager facilitates the performance review meeting typically with a number of future-focused questions, e.g.:

1. When have you been / not been at your best over the last three (or six) months?

2. What have you discovered about yourself in the last three or (six) months?

3. What things are you going to find difficult in the next three (or six) months?

4. How can you plan to use your strenghts to address these difficulties?

5.Which strenghts will you align to deliver your goals?

The focus is on growth, self-awareness and using strengths to maximize effectiveness and to achieve the desired business outcome.

The focus is on growth, self-awareness and using strenghts to maximize effectiveness and to achieve the desired business outcome.

I have applied Robert’s suggestions and the five questions during performance review sessions with some of my team members. The discussions went well. They were carried out in a positive atmosphere that was engaging, energizing and motivating. And due to the interview style, it was an empowering experience for the employee.

The above described approach to strenghts-based performance management is in the true spirit of caring leadership. On one side, it shows the concern for the person (the subordinate), while on the other side it also addresses the issue of commitment to job tasks and agreed upon results. So it creates a win – win situation for manager and subordinate, for the persons as well as for the organization.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 at 06:48 and is filed under Human Resources, Leadership, Management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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