Are you getting the most out of your staff? Is your boss getting the most out of you? Attaining and sustaining high performance takes time and investment. But, with cooperation between employee and manager, it is possible to improve performance AND stay motivated. In Self-Leadership and the One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard’s concept of ‘Situational Leadership’ details four stages of increasing performance along with the style of interaction ‘rising stars’ need from their leaders. Once we know how to identify each situation, we can make a difference in about a minute –regardless of whether we are the employee or the manager.
New employees start out with a ‘can do’ attitude, usually born out of the naivety of the job’s requirements. At the beginning, we are eager to impress, but typically deficient in skills (i.e. low competence). Moving to the next stage (Stage 2) can take hours or months, depending on the complexity of the task(s) at hand. Our commitment level wanes and even though we are still learning, we become discouraged. Eventually, we hone the skills required to perform well, but we still lack the motivation to execute properly (Stage 3). At some point, we move to the final stage and become High Achievers: our skills are perfected and we are committed to excellence. Unfortunately, we can’t arrive at Stage 4, or remain there, without the help of leadership!
For a leader, it can be frustrating waiting for an employee to progress through the four stages. Fortunately, we can take specific action to accelerate the development. Employees in each ‘situation’ need a different approach or style from those who inspire them. Stage 1 requires specific direction, Stage 2 requires continued direction and support. In time, detailed guidance is no longer needed, but encouragement still is. Finally, in Stage 4, only appropriate delegation of larger projects is required. The High Achiever is competent and committed.
To increase competence with direction: be clear, provide feedback, set goals/priorities, and establish accountability. To increase commitment with support: leverage rewards for more motivation, provide encouragement, facilitate problem solving, and teach from experience. Remember, some of these activities can be completed very quickly and have a great deal of return! If you are the employee, ask these things of your leader.
Jesus spent 33 years on earth. He influenced the lives of many people and especially engaged in developing the disciples. Ultimately, He lead from Stage 4 when He delegated the largest and most important efforts of all time:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Matthew 28:18-20
In what stages are your employees? Where do you fall on the grid? What can you do to better support your staff and what do you need to ask of those leading you?
*If you and your staff would benefit from an “Increasing Performance” workshop based on Situational Leadership, please contact Michelle.
Source: Self-Leadership and the One Minute Manager, by Ken Blanchard; 2005
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.