Last week a good friend of mine, Jim Seybert, emailed a few of us in his circle who teach a strengths-based philosophy at work. His question was:
I have a client who’s asking for a Top Ten Things A Manager Can Do list to help 30+ supervisors maximize the strengths concept with their 350 employees. I think ten items is too many so I’m going to give them a Top 3. What would be on your list of practical things a manager can do to encourage the strengths experience with his/her workers?
As a manager/leader of other people, the most important FIRST thing you can do to begin buildng a strengths-based environment in your department or group is kill your performance reviews. And when I say “kill,” I mean completely. Right now. Cold turkey. Gone. Done. Over. Kaput.
Let’s speak honestly for a moment… everyone hates performance reviews anyway, right? You hate them. Your people hate them. They suck, and I mean this in the most literal way — they suck the life right out of the individuals on your team, all while creating extra work for everyone.
Why do them at all?
Instead, replace that destructive, inhuman process with an Individual Development Plan. This development plan should: 1) focus on the person’s strengths, 2) assist them in growing as a human being over time, and 3) help them contribute more value to the business.
This process is far healthier for everyone involved and will yield a much higher return for the company down the line. (If you don’t know how to do this or want more info, please send me a message and I’d be happy to help.)
P.S. If you still have doubts that performance reviews are deadly, please read this.