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Staff Behaviour Vs Staff Performance – A Case Study in Tightrope Walking

Staff Behaviour Vs Staff Performance - A Case Study in Tightrope Walking

Summary

This is Harry’s story. Harry was a bit odd. He had a highly individualistic way of managing his people. It would’ve been easy to let Harry’s behaviour overwhelm his performance.

Basic Definitions

Dr Tom Gilbert explains it up this way. "Behaviour is what you take with you: performance is what you leave behind". We recognize Michael Jordan as one of basketball’s all time greats because of what he achieved on the court. None of us ever met William Shakespeare. He was one helluva playwright. Both men "left outstanding performance behind".

Confusion At Work

We’re unlikely to find a Jordan or a Shakespeare in our workplaces. But we do find people who seem to be "difficult" or "outspoken" or "uncooperative" or just plain "different". Sometimes these odd behaviours influence our view of their performance. This case study about Harry illustrates the point.

Reputation v. Results: The Case of Harry

Harry was a Section Head. Some 15 women worked for him. He called them his "girls". He had a reputation as a hard taskmaster. He was also seen as "cranky", "outspoken" and "difficult". And he was all of those things. So much so, the CEO asked me to "counsel him" about his management style.

What To Do Now

Do you have a Harry in your workplace? Do you have clearly defined methods of measuring staff performance? Do you take too much notice of hearsay about perceived behaviours and allow such perceptions to override the realities of performance?

Conclusion

Harry was a "one-off". But he was astonishingly effective. He always put the needs of his staff above his own. He built great cohesion in his team. And every member of his staff understood the importance of achieving results. What more could we ask for? Yet in many organizations Harry’s "unusual" behaviours would have overwhelmed his achievements. They’d have "let him go".

Related video: Success: Nature or Nurture? Bill Clement at TEDxCapeMay 2013


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