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The many guises of Performance Management

22nd Apr 2013
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Last week I got involved in a Twitter debate about performance management. It soon became clear that performance management means different things to different people. It is a phrase often used to describe all of the things below... and no doubt more!

 performance management

One of the few things was almost universally agreed was that 'Performance Management' is an inadequate term. It encompasses ALL of these things, but people often fixate on just one.

In my experience, I have come to believe that performance management is actually simple people management in its purest form: helping people to perform to:

a) the standards that are expected by their organisation, and

b) the best of their ability.

It is a practice, not a process.

The processes and paperwork that are so often associated with performance management (and universally loathed by managers) are just things that are put in place to structure, standardise and measure the outputs of the act of managing people.

Most performance management problems most organisations face are, in my experience, managers failing to manage their people. They can't or won't have difficult conversations about poor performance: they don't see the need to stretch their good performers or recognise those people who contribute well to the business. And HR departments find it easier to focus on tweaking the process rather than address the real problem: Managers reluctance or inability to manage their staff.

That's why I believe that performance management training should focus heavily on the people management skills line managers need to manage performance EVERY DAY as part of normal operations. Paperwork won't improvement performance, only feedback, action and learning can do that. Until performance management Is accepted as part of every-day managerial duties, debates like the one I was involved in will continue to rage.

Louise Gelsthorpe

Power Hour Bite-Size Training Materials

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