Attracting, selecting, training and mentoring, and pruning human resources are among the most important tasks a manager confronts. Almost everyone agrees that, at the top level of organizations, managers need to be devoting a significant portion of their time addressing the people needs of the firm. Without the right people in the right positions, no strategy, no matter how clever, can succeed.
To be truly successful in meeting these responsibilities, a manager must embrace an all important management rule: “If an employee is working below expected or required performance it is always the manager’s fault.”
The first place to look is at the manager. After all, the manager hired or selected the person. The manager defines the work, provides tools, training, and all other resources required for the job. The manager is responsible for the success of every person they supervise.
An important effect of this rule is that it prevents you from entering the whinny land of thinking, or worse, saying: “Why doesn’t Joseph pay more attention to detail?” “Mirabelle keeps making the same errors over and over in these quotes.” “Walt just doesn’t get the big picture of where this project is going and he is heading down the wrong track, for the umpteenth time.”
Embrace your responsibilities and powers to make your personnel successful.
- Make sure that you really have well thought out and planned jobs.
- Are job definitions focused on results?
- Are the task definitions actionable?
- Do the skills listed actually match up with the results you want to achieve?
- Have you provided the training required?
- Do your personnel understand where the company is going strategically and is it clear how the results of their jobs connect with these strategies?
- Have you acted promptly to provide feedback and take corrective action to support performance?
- Do you have a company culture that embraces, supports, and demands full participation by everyone?
Selection and promoting personnel are management tasks with a high error factor. Every manager needs to acknowledge that their judgments are not always perfect, nor even close to perfect, in selection and promotion. So, faced with a weak performance from a new hire or newly promoted person, managers must ask the question early, “Did I make a mistake here?” If you come to that conclusion you need to act promptly to correct the error.
The central point is that you selected your personnel, you set the conditions and environment of their work, your provide the tools and training, you set the expectations, the results required. If you are not getting top performance from your personnel, look to the basics, look to your own responsibilities as a manager first. After all, if you are really holding yourself accountable for these responsibilities, you will achieve equal or better performance from everyone in your organization.