Performance Over Promises
10 July 2017
Not that I am in the habit of quoting 1930s film starlets, but I came across a Mae West quote the other day that caught my attention. It read: An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises. For me, this is a rather Hollywood-esque way of saying that actions speak louder than words. This is a saying I firmly stand by, particularly when it comes to leading a team.
A recent article on LinkedIn stated that the number one reason employees leave a team is poor management. It recounted that good employees aren’t necessarily choosing to leave their company, per se, it’s that they can no longer operate under their current manager. That’s why leadership skills are so important; clumsy or ineffective management can effectively drive good employees away.
Employees look to their managers for support, advice and to drive their own career further. They do not want to hear broken promises repeated on end or phrases such as “Leave it with me” or “I’ll get back to you on that.” We all know that these empty phrases infer that you have no time (or no interest) in the task at hand, leaving your employee in limbo.
Obviously, as a manager or someone in a more senior role, your schedule will be incredibly busy. But that is never an excuse to neglect the very basics of guiding a team. Each individual will need varying levels of support, encouragement and attention. Wandering off mid-sentence or never replying to emails will not achieve this.
Employees need to feel like their managers value them and what they have to offer. It’s not about hand-holding or constant supervision. It is about rewarding hard working and interjecting where and when it’s necessary.
The LinkedIn article I referred to earlier, puts it this way: “Managers tied up with busy work quickly become a bottleneck if their inaction, indecisiveness or inattentiveness prevents the [employee] from being able to move forward on a deal or to resolve a problem.
“Do it once, and you might be forgiven. Twice even. But make it a pattern - especially where the manager makes promises to take action and then does nothing - and they leave the [employee] with the sense that their manager cannot be relied upon when they are needed to clear the path, approve resources or make time for a meeting where the sperson needs some help.”
Employees will work hard and go the extra mile for a manager or leader who does the same in return. If a manager is rarely present and seems uninterested, there is no motivation to go a little further for that person. It’s not a “tit for tat” situation, but employees want to feel like their manager is genuinely invested in their monthly targets and overall career progress.
Put simply, if an employee feels like their manager is not performing as they should, chances are they will go elsewhere (and maybe even take a couple of colleagues with them). Toxic work environments often stem from the top. Avoid this negativity by being a hands-on presence, wherever possible.
If you are looking for advice or guidance on the best approach to good leadership, I would be more than happy to speak with you confidentially. Click here to see my details.
Written By Barry Lee