We all appreciate a beautiful healthy tree. Tall with leaves and branches stretching up to the sky to take advantage of the sun, wind, and rain. But that is only part of the picture. The hidden aspect of the tree plays an integral role in its successful growth. Below the ground, hidden from our view, will be a multi-faceted, strong, deep, far-reaching, and ever-growing root system. This is the key, the basis for success or failure. If this foundation is lacking or hindered, then the tree will not grow, but will wither and die.
Outward and Inward Talent
Likewise, the talent of each of our employees can be compared to a tree. On the outside we can see (if we choose to look and observe carefully) certain facets of the individual — their strengths and weaknesses and what they want to show to us — but there is so much more to each person.
Everyone is unique and motivated in many different ways. Inwardly there is a lot going on — hidden from our view — like the roots of the tree. People grow, change, morph, and adapt to their individual situation constantly. When something happens, the person will take that on board and make a slight adjustment — either to lead them to do more or less of what caused the situation.
We know through the deployment of Talent Chaser that when managers are asked if the motivations of their direct reports are important, they almost invariably say “YES”. Yet, when they are asked to think of one of their direct reports and list out what that individual’s motivational priorities are, they typically are unable to do this. Where managers know the individual’s motivational priorities, they are able to manage that individual much more easily.
The more we learn about a person’s motivations, the better we will be able to relate to them. And, as we all know, but don’t always like to admit, relationships are key to completing a good Performance Appraisal. Relationships are hard, they are not easy to understand or label, like numbers; they are complicated and ever changing. A challenge at the best of times. Numbers are concrete, have no emotions attached to them, and can be discussed easily. This is one of the reasons that managers, before they are trained, prefer financial information to human resource information and do not like to complete Performance Appraisals. The complexity and ambiguity of relationships holds them back.
How to learn about what motivates employees
To help managers understand the motivations of their direct reports, we introduced the Performance Profile Questionnaire (PPQ). The resulting Performance Profile describes not just personality characteristics but also motivations and thinking styles. These two additional descriptions are what makes the Performance Profile different from a Personality Test.
As managers learn the motivations of their direct reports, they start to gain an understanding of what makes the individual tick. What makes them want to achieve their goals and why they are prepared to put the effort in to succeed — or why they are not?
As managers are trained on the thinking styles of their direct reports, they are taught what that means and how to communicate effectively to build a strong working relationship which will lead to higher levels of performance while keeping their team well motivated.
Communicate More Effectively
With the Performance Profile of their direct report, the manager has the advantage of having an understanding of the individual as if they had worked closely together for about two years. This can shorten the time that it takes to build a strong working relationship where there is clear communication between the manager and the direct report (as long as the manager uses the information). Anytime that we shorten the ‘getting to understand what each other wants’ phase of a relationship is a positive thing.
When communication is done correctly, everyone wins and goals are reached. Communication is difficult because generally, we each have our own agenda and do not look at situations from the other person’s perspective. The Talent Chaser Performance Profile helps overcome this because the knowledge it brings to the manager about their direct report reinforces itself each time there is an interaction. As managers manage their direct reports, they will see how when they take into account the motivations and thinking style of their direct report that they will, to use the tree analogy, enhance the root system by giving the direct report an opportunity to connect to the necessary nutrients needed to grow and achieve success.
The Performance Appraisal is the system that allows the manager to have a meaningful dialog with their direct report (connect to all of the roots) — where they can both express their thoughts, concerns, and desires enabling them collectively the possibility of reaching their goals and letting the SKY BE THE LIMIT to their success. Just add sunshine (a smile) and we all will enjoy each and every day.
What is your thinking style? To learn more about your own Personality, Motivations, and Thinking Style, click the button below for a free test of our Performance Profile.