The first of two functions of this book is to change the erroneous beliefs managers have about their subordinates,about themselves as managers, and about management.The second function is to equip managers with specific techniques that can be used to solve nonperformance problems and tell them how to use them.
The reasons why managers are not effective in face to face discussions with their subordinates include:
1) Most management trainers tell managers what to be done but not how to do it.
2) Managers fail to understand that they get paid for the results and achievements of their subordinates.
3) Managers do not spend optimum time and energy helping their subordinates succeed because they
do not understand that they need their subordinates more than their subordinates need them.
4) While managers take full responsibility for the success or failure of their nonhuman resources,they fail
to do the same when dealing with their subordinates.
To understand why managers are unable to specify practical things in their control to influence motivation, we will look at some theories next.
Maslow's Hierarchy of needs:
This theory assumes that people will react in specific ways because of the dominate need that influences their behavior. For practical application, it is hard to know what the dominant need of an individual is.
Douglas McGregor's Theory X vs Theory Y:
Theory X assumes that an average person dislikes work and prefers to be directed. Managers who accept Theory X focus on close supervision and control.
Theory Y assumes that employees (1)view work as natural and as acceptable as play, and (2) exercise initiative and self-direction, if the work is satisfying to them. Managers who accept Theory Y push information and responsibility downwards. .
Herzberg's Theory of Motivation:
This theory states that job satisfaction is the result of factors which are different from those causing job dissatisfaction. According to this theory, achievement and recognition are the single strongest motivators.
Although people are different, managers only have to manage people's behavior within the restricted parameters of the business environment, not man's total aspect of life.
Managers are taught that 1)people's motives must be understood first to understand why they do things, and 2) one needs to change people's motives before being able to change their behavior. However there is an alternative view. If you want to know why people do things, try to understand the practical alternatives they were confronted with and ask them why they made those choices. If you want them to make better choices give them more alternatives to chose from or let them know now the future consequences of their choices they are making.
Since attitude occurs in the person's head, there is no way we can know what people's attitudes are. Therefore, managers should focus on peoples' behavior.
This theory states that behavior is a function of its consequences. The only way for you to be successful in dealing with nonperformance problems is to focus on the variables over which you have control.
Managers should recognize that communication is thought transmission, not information transmission. To varify that thought transmission has occured, managers have to ask, their subordinates, a focused question during face to face discussions. For example, "What would you do differently to solve this problem?"
We will now look at a process called coaching that managers can use to solve nonperformance problems. The coaching process itself has two steps:1) coaching analysis, and 2) coaching.
The overall purpose of coaching analysis is to determin the cause of unsatisfactory performance. And that is achieved by determining the following:
1) The subordinate knows that the performance is unsatisfactory.
2) The subordinathat is supposed to be done and when.
3) There are no obstacles beyond the subordinate's control.
4) The subordinate kows how to do his job.
5) A negative consequence does not follow performance.
Assuming you have determined all the above, the next question is:"Could the individual do what is required if (s)he wanted to do?" If the answer is "no", the only choice you have is to transfer or fire the individual. However, if the answer is yes, then you need to redirect the individual's behavior through coaching discussion, the step we will look at next.
Coaching: The face-to-face discussion:
The main purpose of this is to get the subordinate to stop doing what (s)he shouldn't be doing or to start doing what (s)he is supposed to be doing. To achieve this goal, you need to do the following:
1) Get the subordinate's agreement that a problem exists (-either by explaining how
his nonperformance might affect other employees and the business or by telling
the individual what would happen to his job if the problem persists.)
2) Mutually identify as many alternative solutions to the problem as possible.
3) Mutually agree on which alternatives will be acted upon and when.
4) Follow up to insure that the subordinate is doing what (s)he is supposed to do.
5) Recognize any achievement when it occurs to sustain the desired change in
If you have gone through the coaching process and failed to achieve the desired change, it simply means that the subordinate did not do what (s)he had promised to do. Of course, you should undertake a new coaching discussion to solve this new problem. However, you may have to fire the individual if the problem persists.