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Build Authentic Manager-Employee Relationships to Drive Performance

by Jody Ordioni

Build Authentic Manager-Employee Relationships to Drive Performance

According to Gallup’s survey, around 14% of employees strongly agree that the performance reviews they receive motivate them to improve. So, this means that 86% of the employees are not motivated to improve themselves based on performance reviews.

The leaders must inspire performance. But how?

One method is to be radically transparent about performance. In this kind of culture, the employees are expected to get direct feedback about their performance all the time – including criticism. This begs the question – "Is radically transparent feedback the only way to inspire performance?"

Feedback is important for the growth and development of an employee. If left in the dark about blind spots, it can lead to failure or some vulnerability. Gallup has discovered five critical conversations that can drive performance while letting the employees know about their feedback.

The Right Conversations Directly Affect the Performance

The five conversations are structured to facilitate a chance for the manager to connect with each member of the team authentically so that they gain an individualized understanding of each person. Honest, direct communication and engagement can drive performance.

In this model, the managers become active and sympathetic listeners, attending to the things that are working well for employees and keeping a close eye on potential barriers and obstacles. This approach aligns managers and employees early on regarding what success looks like, and then they can maintain a regular rhythm of connections in which managers coach employees based on a shared vision of excellence in the roles.

Conversations bring trust, which increases the effectiveness of feedback. The honest discussion allows the employee and manager to collaboratively align on the expectations that serve your business needs, letting employees do more of what they do the best.

During such conversations, the managers must ask direct questions aimed at identifying the core interests and strengths of each employee. These answers can also fuel managers' ability to recommend the right assignments to the right employee and guide them towards the right growth opportunities in the long run.

Using the CliftonStrengths to Identify Points of Excellence and Blind Spots

Leveraging CliftonStrengths can make a difference here. The CliftonStrengths assessments identified the areas where an individual’s greatest potential for building strengths exists; it enables managers and employees to name their strengths using a common language. It also allows them to identify the areas of potential excellence and blind spots – and how natural bents contribute to both of them. This makes them radically transparent with each other about the areas of possible and potential hurdles, right from the beginning.

If trust has already been built through conversations and relationships, even challenging conversations become less challenging. The performance issues can then be understood as misalignments, rather than criticisms, allowing quicker resolution.

If the conversations are happening in the right way, an employee is never caught off guard during a performance review. Staying connected with each other will help drive better growth, both organizational and personal.

A radically transparent approach is motivating and inspiring, for its directness works well in most of the scenarios. Having a clear line of sight to performance is crucial. When managers coach their employees through strength-based and ongoing conversations, trust is built as the individual needs of each person are met. They can honestly acknowledge what is not working so that expectations can be clarified and adjusted accordingly.

The Bottom Line

Managers must find opportunities to have authentic, meaningful relationships with their employees while driving performance and development based on what each employee needs and does the best.

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