Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Creativity Tension & Appraisal of Employees

I had come across many such points, talking to ‘General’ Managers when they covertly put across difficulty in assessing their subordinates. More often, the point they emphasize is that they know their subordinates well since many years. They know their people better than they themselves know. May be a point to ponder about? But, the question comes in my mind whether they really know their people? Did they ever try understanding aspirations of each individual working under them? Do they know what each individual subordinate wants to be in future? I will say, NO; may be a big NO. You may come across Superiors talking about their juniors, superficially. But the moment you dive down deep, they gasp. They gasp on basic questions - What to look for & what not; about what to assess and what not; how to assess and how not.  When you hear comments like ‘Assessment is one more problem” or ‘Assessment is only for monetary benefits’ from your Senior Management Executives; my belief becomes more burly about their lacking in Managerial skills & responsibilities. It makes me more confident saying that in India, it is not dearth of good Talent but of spotting & nurturing them. I feel that shortage is not due to non-availability of talent but due to

1.    Hesitation on the part of superiors to assess their subordinates on the pretext of ‘emotional bonding’.
2.    Non-clarity of what makes a Talent.
3.    Not having knowledge about various personal attributes required at different levels in the hierarchy.
4.    Importantly, not having knowledge of various assessment requirements.
5.    And above, shrugging of responsibility of assessment or mere biases if at all, assessment is done.

In this article, using a very apt concept of ‘Creativity Tension’; I try giving some basic tips to Managers, helping them to assess their subordinates and help them growing eventually in their careers.

 Peter Senge in his book ‘Fifth Discipline’ has defined that Creative Tension. It is
“A gap between current reality and personal vision propels them forward. This gap is often referred to as Creative Tension.”

If Managers could know aspirations of their subordinates and the levels they are currently in the hierarchy, it would be very easy to make subordinates understand the gap, helping employees giving required creativity tension. Let me describe it in differently.

An organisation is predominantly divided in three levels- Junior, Mid and Senior Management. Each management level has very specific needs in terms of responsibilities & deliverables. Although, there are chances that in different organisations some unique requirements may exist. But, to a larger extent each level in hierarchy requires specific traits & attributes. Managers need to understand theses specific needs at a given level and assess their subordinates against those traits & required levels. Seems easy but in practice real tough if managers are not aware of various possible traits, their definitions and demonstrated behaviour. Behavioural clues are to read traits correctly in an employee.

The superior has to assess the level at which an employee is against pre-determined requirement and to provide feedback. The feedback will help in letting subordinate know the gap and provide Creativity Tension for self-efforts for bridging the gap. The managers too can help their subordinates in bridging this gap. The feedback from the superior and resultant creativity tension will lead to competency building efforts by the individual and finally enhancing his /her skills.

This will not only affect an individual but even the organisation. Peter Senge has correctly captured “Organizations learn only through individuals who learn. Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning. But without it no organizational learning occurs.” People with a high level of acquiring knowledge live in a continual learning mode. Knowledge is not something you possess. It is a process. It is a lifelong discipline. People with a high level of learning are acutely aware of their ignorance, their incompetence, and their growth areas. ‘General’ Managers if can avoid biases and self-rules to help someone can considerably help in building talent in an organisation.

It is not the talent which is in short supply, but managers who do not know their roles & responsibilities. Let managers be managers. Do not let an employee up the hierarchy until he/she becomes a manager in real sense.

No comments:

Post a Comment