Christmas Time Mistletoe and Wine

How quickly we find ourselves at this time of the year once more. Xmas decs up in the office, parties and get togethers to celebrate and have festive fun.
It is the one time of the year that people come together and I can’t help to notice that people actually engage in more conversation, finding out more about those that they work with and spend time getting to know others that they see about, but maybe have the briefest of conversations with while at work.
We are in the people business, and while virtually every manager I have ever known acknowledges that people are our biggest asset when we talk specifically about employee engagement, satisfaction at work, productivity etc. many lose sight of this important fact and can get fixated on KPI’s, KRA’s, SLA’s etc. back in the workplace.
Whilst all the usual management information tools and measures can be important and are used daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly it stumps me why so many businesses and organisations rely on an annual appraisal and the annual staff survey to gather and qualify how the people aspect of their business is fairing.
Whilst I believe performance management is needed in an organisation, I also believe it is important to be clear what managerial behaviours support and underpin achieving success, and that success should include not just what we want to achieve it but also the way we want to go about it.
Generally we do 3 things, what we are good at, what we like doing and what we are measured on. So we can add performance appraisals and 360 feedback surveys into the things we measure and un surprisingly they may get completed begrudgingly as just another thing to do in order to meet a target. Or we can relax a little and change the emphasis, focus on celebrating great examples of leadership that already exist, share the experiences of employees who enjoy great communication with their line managers, help leadership to see that there are examples of great leadership already that they can model, that being good at soft skills is learnable and that it becomes even more enjoyable and rewarding working with an engaged workforce.
With the focus on encouraging leaders to facilitate and support staff we need to ensure that we support leadership with quality training, experiential learning from different organisations and different businesses, facilitate cross pollination of ideas and best practices through alternative learning methods like action learning sets and informal focused gatherings.
How we as, senior leaders, learning development professionals and HR specialists walk the walk, has huge influence on how quickly others respond and in what way. I have unfortunately seen as many poor examples of supporting initiatives through talking the talk but then not delivering in the actions as I have of leaders leading by example.
So let’s make the most of having our employees together, recognise a personal attribute in each of them, an attribute that makes a difference to you as the leader and the job that they do. Engage with those that may be a little more distant from you, those that for whatever reason you or they may have put up barriers to. Share honestly how proud you are to have them in your team and use the opportunity to find out what’s important to them that you as their leader have some influence over and that you can deliver as a way of recognising their loyalty and commitment.

Merry Christmas everyone