What great managers do: develop a team to performance (Proceedings)


A manager's guide to developing a performance team

Are they happy?

     • Most employees want to say they have ; "the greatest boss in the world" but most do not.

     • Bad bosses are the number one reason employees leave organizations.

     • Lots of literature and studies about the qualities of great bosses and the differences between managers and leaders.

     • Veterinary medicine does not create good bosses.

     • What do good bosses do?

One outstanding characteristic

     • All great managers have the ability to discover what is unique about each person and capitalize on it.

     • Average managers play checkers, great managers play chess.


     • All the pieces are uniform and move in the same way.

     • They are uniform.

     • A need to plan moves but all the players move at the same pace and on the same path.

     • Chess

     • Each piece moves in a different way and you can't play unless you know how each piece moves.

     • You won't win unless you put considerable forethought in to how the pieces move IN ADVANCE.

Leader or manager?

     • Manager

          o Turn one person's talent into performance.

          o Managers succeed only when they can identify and develop the differences in people.

          o Challenge each person to excel in their own way.

     • Leader

          o Discover what is universal and capitalize on it.

          o Cut through differences and focus on the needs that we all share.

Great managers are...

     • Quick to capitalize on unique strengths of employees.      

     • It costs much less to work with a person than to have a revolving door.      

     • It saves a lot of time which is a commodity in all hospitals.      

     • Capitalizing on strengths forces team because it makes people need one another.      

     • You introduce a healthy degree of disruption to your practice.

Disruption? disturb the peace?

     • Shuffle existing hierarchies.

     • Shuffle assumptions about who can do what.

     • Shuffle existing beliefs about where true expertise lies.

     • Great managers do these things because they can't help it! They are astute and managing the needs of people.

Classic symptom of "no team"

     • You've spent months training and coaching your team to better performance but you are not seeing results.

     • We seem to talk about the same things in all of our meetings.

     • The same person/persons are in charge of the hiring process and tend to draw the

     • So, what do we do?

Change management

     • Identify unique talents

     • Embrace eccentricities

     • Help them use their personal qualities to excel.

     • Emphasize that the culture appreciates differences. Celebrate the uniqueness of each employee.

3 Tactics

     • CONTINUOUSLY tweak roles to capitalize on individual strengths.

     • Pull the triggers that activate employee's strengths.

     • Tailor coaching to learning styles.

The benefits

     • You save time.

     • The team takes ownership for improving their skills.

     • The team learns to value differences.

Capitalizing on individual strengths

     • Identify each employees strengths.

          o What to they like the best about their job?

          o What tasks do they look forward to and what tasks do they avoid?

          o What was the best day you had at work in the last three months?

          o Listen for activities they find intrinsically satisfying.


     • Weaknesses don't mean lack of skill...it can be any task that drains our energy or is an activity that all you can think about is stopping once you start.

     • What is the worst day you have had in the last three months?

     • For the purpose of this management task we want to downplay discussions of weakness.

     • Offer training to help them overcome shortcomings stemming from lack of skills or knowledge.

Strategies for addressing weakness

     • Find the employee a mentor/partner with complementary talents.

     • Think about the mechanics of your business and reconfigure work arrangements. Don't be afraid to be unconventional.

Psychology of "weakness"

     • Self Awareness vs. Self Assurance

     • Do we want an employee armed with the knowledge of their limitations or do we want them confident in their abilities. Focus on strength.

     • In other words, people get more reward from knowing they are doing a job well than from understanding what parts of the job they are weak at.


     • `Some would argue that employees can get too confident. Perhaps?

     • It is the managers job to simultaneously communicate the importance of their tasks and the real complexity obstacles that they will need to overcome to be successful.

     • Your objective is to create a state of mind in the employee—a realistic assessment of the obstacles and difficulties associated with the goal combined with the confidence to take the goal on. (Optimism)


     • Unless the failure is attributable to factors beyond the employees control, they must accept that failure was lack of effort on their part. (psychological pressure)

     • This obscures self doubt. It is not that you are not capable but perhaps it is because you didn't develop enough skills or you didn't try harder?

Repeated failure?

     • Apply more training to lack of knowledge or skill. If the employee does not respond it is because they do not possess the talent or skill to do the job.

     • Manage around their weakness to neutralize it but don't keep exposing them to failure.

     • Find them a partner/mentor that is strong where they are weak.

     • Rearrange the employees work world to render the weakness irrelevant.

Use "triggers"

     • Time of Day? Night or Day strengths?

     • Time with boss? A little or a lot?

     • Most powerful trigger is recognition.

     • Activating Employee Strengths

     • Source of Recognition

     • Peers

     • The Boss

     • Others with similar experience

     • Clients

     • Type of Feedback

     • Publicly celebrate achievements

     • Tell them privately but vividly why they are such a valuable team member.

     • Give them a professional/technical award.

     • Pose a photo of them and the "best" client."

Coach to the learning style

     • If their learning style is...

     • ANALYZER: they require extensive information before accepting a task and they hate making mistakes.

     • DOER: they use trial and error to enhance skills while grappling with tasks.

     • WATCHER: hones their skills by watching other people in action.

     • Coach them by...

     • Give ample training time, role play, give them time to prepare for challenges.

     • Assign simple tasks, explain desired outcome and then get out of the way. Gradually increase the complexity of tasks to be assigned.

     • Have them shadow top performers.

The art of success

     • At the heart of great managers success is the ability to appreciate individuality.

     • But great managers need other skills as well:

          o Be able to hire well

          o Set expectations

          o Instinctively interact with others in a productive fashion

     • Great

     • Great Managers "play chess."

     • Define expectations and outcomes.

     • They encourage individuality.

     • Mediocre

     • Hope (or assume) that all of their employees will be motivated by the same things and driven by the same goals.

     • Define behaviors and tell them to work on skills that do not come naturally.

     • Encourage sameness and view their job as transformation rather than development.

Great managers

     • Don't try to change a person's style.

     • Know their employees will differ in how they think, build relationships, how altruistic they are, how patient they can be, how much of an expert they need to be, , how prepared they need to be, what challenges them, what drives them and what their goals are. Whew!!

     • Differences of trait and talents are like blood types; they cut across superficial variations of race, sex and age and capture each person's uniqueness.

     • Like blood types these traits of people are enduring and resistant to change.

     • Your most precious resource is time. Why waste it pushing a rock up a hill?

     • Great management is about the RELEASE of talent and skill, not the transformation .

     • It is about constantly tweaking the environment to allow the employees unique contributions and styles to develop.

     • Success as a manager depends almost entirely on your ability to do this.

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