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Managing to Make a Difference by Larry Sternberg

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Chapter 56Address Poor Performance

As much as people value fun, they know they have a job to do, and they want a manager who balances fun with a focus on performance. Top performers thrive in a culture of clear expectations and accountability. Confident in their capabilities, they are motivated by challenges that require them to stretch and by goals that are difficult to achieve. They want to know their supervisor believes they are capable of achieving goals that others cannot. They also crave the intrinsic satisfaction experienced when they attain those goals. In fact, some top performers thrive on doing things others say can't be done. The more clarity you can bring to expectations, the easier it is for everyone. Ideally, there are objective metrics attached to the expectations you set so that, as a manager, you can hold people accountable for meeting them and provide recognition and rewards when they do. Recognize that top performers expect you both to reward people who meet and exceed performance expectations and to address poor performance with people who fail to meet those same expectations.

If your goal is managing to make a difference, start by establishing clear goals and choosing the right metrics to assess performance. Answer these questions:

  1. “If X is performing with excellence in this role, how will we know it?”
  2. “What will we see happening? What will we not see happening?”

Sometimes identifying the right metrics is difficult. In the absence of metrics, the person ...

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