Friday, January 2, 2009

Are You Self-Actualized and Mature?

Are you a self-actualized and mature adult professional? If not, you may want to stop reading. This is a post about one question that every parent and manager needs to ask themselves: what are my intentions?

If your child comes home with a less than satisfactory report card, is it your intention to shame and blame them or to coach and develop them? You probably answered, coach and develop. If so, then what did you say to them when they sheepishly revealed their grades? Did you react with frustration by saying, how the heck did you manage these grades! Or, did you study?! Do these statements represent care, coaching and development or shame and blame?

Take the above scenario to the office when it comes time for employee performance
appraisal. Your employee who has been under performing is sitting across the desk from you as you peer down at his dossier. Your goal is to get his production levels up so, aptly you say, what are we going to do about this? Are your intentions to develop or to enhance your own ego by shaming and blaming? This is where self-actualization, maturity and professionalism come to play. If your ego is at peace and you are confident within yourself then shaming and blaming will not become a component of your conversation.

Parents, managers and leaders must lead by example - a really great example. So, before any interaction I always ask myself, "What are my intentions? Am I here to help and guide this person or do I want to humiliate, embarrass, or shame?" If, my goal is to coach and develop an employee who reports to me, I would ask a lot of questions when it comes time for his performance review. "What is your understanding of our performance agreement? Did I give you all the help that you asked for. Did I help you in the way that you needed? Are their circumstances here or at home that are preventing you from reaching your performance goals?" Of course, if your intention is to develop this employee, as that should be your objective and it is your job as a manager, then your language and tone will be one that reflects caring, understanding and helpfulness.

With the one-hundred plus management models available out there in the learning and development world none of them will be effective if you are not fully aware and honest about your intentions. To do this on a consistent basis takes maturity, discipline and knowledge of our true intentions.
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