All the right HR moves.
Move toward, move away – very specific and directive, vague and creative. This is what a manager should be thinking about if they want real performance out of an employee. Marcus Buckingham who is a leading management consultant and performance coach emphasizes the concept; if you let people play to their strengths they will perform better for you at work.
He expands on that concept in his Harvard Business Review (HBR) article called “What Great Managers Do.”
Marcus Buckingham brings in the analogy that good managers are playing checkers but great leaders are playing chess. If you think back to Fredrick Taylor and his theories of scientific management, all managers should be playing checkers: each job is subdivided into the smallest unit that anyone can understand, make all workers the same and interchangeable. Scientific management parallels the concept of the checkerboard very nicely. That concept may have flourished during the early years of the industrial revolution but not anymore with knowledge workers and fierce competition of globalization demanding higher level skills from workers and managers.
In today’s organizations leaders need to play chess, each worker has a differing purpose, a different move and interacts on different levels with individuals in the organization. Buckingham talks about the three levels every leader needs to know about their direct report:
- Learn your direct report’s strengths.
- What are the triggers that activate those strengths?
- What is their learning style?
Doing the above with every person you work closely with will give the HR professional the ability to leave the checkerboard behind and work with individuals like a chess master.
- The first step in any great workplace performance is the ability to know yourself. Ask yourself what are your strengths? What triggers those strengths into exceptional performance? What is your learning style?
- Now imagine you are having a meeting with your new boss. Create a written two-minute speech on how the boss should manage you to get your best performance.