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4 Steps to Authentic & Effective Performance ManagementEffective performance management is a learned skill. Some managers have stumbled upon their best practices through years of experience, with trial and error. Wouldn’t you rather fast track your own performance management skills, and have more success than failure, right out of the starting gate?

Consistently high performance often has more to do with the manager’s ability to connect with employees and convey clear performance expectations than anything else. Sure, there are star players on your team. But you also can ensure that others produce consistently and are a positive force for your organization, by effectively managing their performance.

Research findings reinforce that:

  1. The key to employee engagement will require consistent interaction between manager sand employee.
  2. The foundation for building a strong workplace is for managers to communicate clear performance expectations.

Performance Management and Authenticity

“Leadership is far less about what you are doing, than about who you are being.  If you think about the people who have influenced you most over the course of your career and life, it’s likely that what impacted you most was not what they did, but about who they were being while doing it. Genuine. Honest. Courageous. Resilient. Real.” ~Author, Maggie Warrell

Connecting authentically with those people you lead  will make you more approachable, trusted, and therefore, more influential. Here are ways that you can unlock your power of authenticity:

1. Share Authentically

Letting yourself show some vulnerability will help you connect most authentically with your team members and colleagues. When we feel vulnerable, we have a tendency to anticipate finding ourselves in a vulnerable predicament, our automatic reaction is to protect ourselves: pull out of the launch, cancel the meeting, step back from the relationship, or retreat from center stage.

“You have to be willing to put yourself at risk in the way you communicate and interact with employees.” ~James Strong, former CEO of Qantas

As Harvard Researcher Shawn Achor wrote in The Happiness Advantage, “The more genuinely expressive someone is, the more their mindset and feelings spread.”

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2.  Unlock The Power of Individuality

“Leadership involves taking risks and confronting tough choices. It requires standing frim in the face of opposition. When others see that you can do this, you will be infinitely more respected and trusted.” ~Suzanne Updegraff, CEO, Employee Development Systems, Inc.

If you stand behind what makes you different from others, you will differentiate yourself in the marketplace. Although public perception is important, you watering down your opinion or stance will only serve to make your organization and your team average and forgettable.

“I don’t know the key to success, but I know for sure that the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”~ Bill Cosby

3. Learn to Listen 

Active listening skills get a lot of press, but not much follow-up action. Learn the five fatal flaws of active listening, and how to stop using them, so you can authentically connect with your team.

5 Fatal Flaws of Active Listening

  • Giving advice
  • Interrupting
  • Becoming defensive
  • One-upmanship (or Telling Your Own Story)
  • Telling others how to feel or dismissing feelings

Add to the Fatal Flaws the modern listening problems that everyone experiences in the new workplace:

  • Multi-tasking
  • Finishing sentences
  • Zoning out
  • Preparing your response
  • Believing you are right

Counteract your own tendencies to disengage from authentic listening with your team members by pausing to consider what people have said; using an active listening response, such as reflecting content, reflecting feelings, or asking for clarification; giving a review of what you heard, to confirm understanding.

4. Appreciate Others

As a leader, the effectiveness of your critical feedback will be increased if you also have given positive feedback since the last time you gave criticism or correction. Take time to acknowledge ideas and positive involvement of your employees. “Acknolwedging idea promotes creativity and innovation by creating a climate where people’s input is valued and encouraged.” ~Suzanne Updegraff, CEO, Employee Development Systems, Inc.

Leaders are judged by how well they serve. This can play out in many different ways, such as taking a genuine interest in an employee’s career development, or just simply caring about how they are doing.  “The more you engage with those around you from a place of service, the more effective you will be at harnessing their talents, and the stronger the results you will achieve through them.” ~Author, Maggie Warrell

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