“Lone eagles, soaring in the clouds, fly with silent, peaceful poise, While turkeys, in their earth-bound crowds, fill the atmosphere with noise.”
Those words of scholar William Arthur Ward succinctly capture the different characteristics of two kinds of birds. But Ward is talking about more than just birds. He is telling us that we should admire and emulate the eagle, and that too many of us fit in too well among the “earth-bound crowds.”
Nothing against turkeys, but Ward has a point. Yes, turkeys are the icons of a well-set Holiday table, but consider what that means: They get eaten, especially this time of year. So why not soar with the eagles? That’s a good goal for both individuals and organizations, and it fits well with recognizing incompetence on the managerial team and doing something about it.
If you know you have some work to do with your Managers, here are some ideas for proceeding:
- Before you make your next managerial hire or promotion, make sure the person you are considering for a position of responsibility is management material. Some people can grow into the role, and some cannot. Scientific assessments such as ProfileXT and Profiles Performance Indicator provide insight that helps improve selection and team performance. Our clients have used one or both tools successfully, depending on their needs. Either way, these assessments work. They offer more validity than just guessing or following your instincts.
- If you already know you have managers who are not performing to your standards, take action sooner rather than later. Planning a course of action is good, but only if you execute the plan in a timely manner. If the person in charge of execution puts off corrective action week after week because he or the plan “is not ready,” you have just discovered another ineffective leader in your organization. Leading often means going outside one’s comfort zone to do what needs doing, and some managers need training to do this. Demonstrate to subordinates what action looks like. Show them that taking action is essential. Letting a poorly performing manager squeak by for an extended period can damage your organization.
- If you determine a manager cannot fit the role of leading others, you owe it to him or her, and to yourself, to find out how he can best serve. Look at what he was doing before management. What aspects of his previous performance prompted his promotion? Was he a strong salesman? An expert technician? Superb at customer service? If he showed strength in a prior position, your next step is to move him to the place he performs best with the message that you want both him and the company to succeed. If this employee adds value to the organization, you do not want to imply that he failed. Some people are just not management material, and chances are that your worker knows that as well as you do.
- Use your high performers as models for both current and future employees. Smart recruiters use PXT on the front end to make sure they are hiring people that look like the organization’s top-performers. Creative workplaces find methods of spreading high performance around. Leaders put their high performers in teams to train others. They give them the responsibility of an important project and let them detail to the rest of the organization how they executed it. Show off anyone who does the job the right way. Remember: Praise in public, correct in private. Get to the point where you praise more than correct, and your job will be more enjoyable and certainly easier.
These ideas will put your organization on the flight path of soaring eagles. May their numbers increase.
Article written by: Profiles International, published with permission.