Are you developing your people or managing them?

In: BlogDate: May 15, 2012By: Henry Stewart

At TrainingZone Live this morning, Michele Owens of the Olympic Delivery Authority gave an interesting example of how people reacted to different approaches:

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“When we first used 360 degree feedback, we used it as a performance management tool. It was not popular. So we left it for a year.

“When we introduced it again, we presented it as a development tool. Completely different, people loved it – and even come to me to ask if they can do it.”

It is a good lesson. It reminds me of a discussion I had with a doctor about two surgeries he knew. One used ‘performance management’ to deal with any problems and had a support staff turnover around 50%. The other focused on creating a good working environment and supporting people. They hadn’t lost a member of staff in years.

It comes back to MacGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y. The standard approach to Performance Management is implicitly based on the Theory X idea that people are lazy and need to be managed to perform. Instead Theory Y poses that people are self-motivated and eager to do great work.

Remember that lesson from ODA: People don’t generally enjoy being performance managed, but they love being developed & improving their ability and performance.

So the key question: Is your organisation’s approach based on believing in your people?

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Henry Stewart, Founder and Chief Happiness Officer

Henry is founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happy Ltd, originally set up as Happy Computers in 1987. Inspired by Ricardo Semler’s book Maverick, he has built a company which has won multiple awards for some of the best customer service in the country and being one of the UK’s best places to work.

Henry was listed in the Guru Radar of the Thinkers 50 list of the most influential management thinkers in the world. "He is one of the thinkers who we believe will shape the future of business," explained list compiler Stuart Crainer.

His first book, Relax, was published in 2009. His second book, the Happy Manifesto, was published in 2013 and was short-listed for Business Book of the Year.

You can find Henry on LinkedIn and follow @happyhenry on Twitter.

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