Academic journal article Manager

Find the Missing Spark!

Academic journal article Manager

Find the Missing Spark!

Article excerpt

Last week, I was speaking to Jim, a newly appointed manager. He has a team of sixteen people and he had begun to have those first conversations with them about objectives, performance, and so on. There was little spark in these initial meetings and no sense that people were reacting differently with Jim than with any other boss. He was frustrated by the process and he sensed that his people were bored by it too.

'What do you think your people want?" I asked him. "Other than performing to the job specification, what would have them feeling excited and wanting to go that extra mile?" Jim had no idea because he hadn't been thinking about that conversation. He called himself a people leader, but he'd fallen into that trap of going through the standard HR process and he believed that was enough.

We began to explore the idea that performance appraisals are too often focussed on ticking boxes, rather than being brilliant opportunities for managers and leaders to encourage hope and belief in the players. My encouragement to Jim was to have a different sort of dialogue with his team - to open up conversations that would identify those projects or opportunities and would give his people a sense of ownership that both stretched and inspired them.

And more than this, I suggested to Jim that if he really wanted his people to stepup, then he'd need more than a one-off conversation. …

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