Last week I was working with a diverse group of senior operating executives at their professional association’s leadership forum. The new research we reviewed and discussions we had on building leadership strengths resonated strongly with the group — especially our Best Leader/Worst Leader exercise (see “Exceptional Leaders Aren’t Well Rounded“).
What especially rang true for participants was our discussion on the abysmal state of performance reviews. We agreed that most performance appraisals are about as fun as being poked in the eye with a sharp stick. Yet just glossing over this profoundly weakness-based approach with word games like “improvement opportunities” or “lesser strengths” don’t make the experience any more positive (see “Changing Forms Doesn’t Create Strengths-Based Performance Appraisals“).
Next week Joe Folkman will present a complimentary (no-charge) webinar on Seven Ways to Increase Employee Satisfaction Without Giving a Raise. He’ll show Zenger Folkman’s research on key leader behaviors that drive engagement. Among these approaches Joe will show the impact of providing development opportunities, a learning environment, powerful communication, and how a leader makes people feel.
Performance management approaches using positive, strengths building methods can be highly energizing. In their white paper Making Performance Appraisals an Inspiring Event, Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman outline these three steps:
1. Focus on Impact and Set the Bar for Improving Strengths
2. Make Goals to Improve and Follow Up
3. Directly and Promptly Address “Fatal Flaws”
They follow these steps with ZF research showing these five keys to helping people improve:
1. Willingness to Take on a Challenge
2. Accepting Feedback
3. Be Honest
4. Be Considerate
Click here to download the white paper and read more about these steps and keys.
The main objective of performance discussions is a personal development plan leading to ever higher effectiveness. Highly effective leaders don’t poke, prod, and pick at weaknesses. Extraordinary leaders and coaches use strengths-based approaches to build higher performance.