A hallmark of a leader is that he takes appropriate rather than expedient action. He sets the example for his people by doing the right thing and motivating them to behave appropriately …
Singular Systems, which was founded in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a bespoke software provider with a total staff today across its three sites of about 200 …
Legitimate Leadership believes that organizations succeed to the degree to which its members are prepared to go above and beyond in pursuit of its objectives …
Question of the Month
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: What is the appropriate action for a leader to take when an employee underperforms, or performs according to expectation, or performs well above expectation?
Answer: A hallmark of a leader is that he takes appropriate rather than expedient action. He sets the example for his people by doing the right thing and motivating them to behave appropriately.
When an employee has been a ‘Superstar’ and made an exceptional contribution, the “appropriate” leader responds by finding a way to reward the employee for this – because it is only just that such a person should receive demonstrably more than those who have not gone the extra mile.
When an employee has been a “Solid Citizen”, the appropriate leader acknowledges the contribution made and thanks the person for doing a good job.
When an employee has performed below standard, the appropriate leader investigates why this is the case and takes the appropriate action. If the employee lacks the means to do the job, the means is provided; if the employee lacks knowledge or ability, training is provided or the person is removed from the role or the work is redesigned. But if the underperformance is due to carelessness, the employee is censured and careful work is insisted upon; and if the underperformance has been due to deliberate malevolence, the employee is disciplined and sanctioned.
In all three cases (Superstar, Solid Citizen and Underperformer), the appropriate leader ensures that the means and ability are available for the employee to maintain and raise the bar on her performance.
By contrast, the inappropriate leader’s response … Read the full answer by clicking here
CASE STUDY: SINGULAR SYSTEMS REINVENTS ITS PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Singular Systems, which was founded in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a bespoke software provider with a total staff today across its three sites of about 200. The company was started by Anthony Wilmot and the current CEO, Nicholas Kruiskamp, and has a family-business ethos.
Luckily, when the company embarked on reinventing its pre-existing performance management system in 2017, there was a fair degree of trust already within its culture. “Any process you could think of would have zero impact if it didn’t have trust,” says Dave Elliott, an executive of Singular Systems.
Another essential was that care and growth of employees as a value had to be accepted by the top leadership.
The performance management project was embarked upon simultaneously with a Legitimate Leadership transformation project, led by Ian Munro (Reinventing Performance Management Workshop). Following the reinvention, Singular Systems Cape Town achieved increased revenue growth year-on-year due, among other things, to focus on growing staff and driving individual contribution.
Singular Systems applied principles from Legitimate Leadership in designing its new system. Thereafter Singular Systems evolved its own system in its three separate offices (in Cape Town, Johannesburg and London).
READ THE FULL CASE STUDY BY CLICKING HERE
VIDEO: HAVE A JUST CAUSE (THE FIRST OF SIMON SINEK’S 5 PRACTICES OF LEADERSHIP)
By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership and motivational speaker.
COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: Legitimate Leadership believes that organizations succeed to the degree to which its members are prepared to go above and beyond in pursuit of its objectives. The leadership challenge therefore is to solicit peoples’ willingness to give unconditionally to the goals and objectives of the organization. What solicits peoples’ willingness, we believe, is three things: PURPOSE, PERSON, PASSION. Of the three, Purpose relates to what Simon Sinek calls Just Cause. Simon Sinek, and Legitimate Leadership. believe that people will only go the extra mile for something worth suspending their self-interest for. Simon Sinek calls this a Just Cause; Legitimate Leadership calls it the Benevolent Intent of the enterprise, or its Noble Purpose. Giving people a ‘why’ which is about increasing the ROI for shareholders is not only not motivating, it tends to engender hostility. This is because this ‘why‘ turns employees into people who are being ‘taken from’ to enrich the owners of the business. What solicits in people a willingness to go above and beyond, to sacrifice their own interests, is a ‘why ‘which is bigger than themselves and is about making a contribution to others and making the world a better place. It is a ‘why‘ which is about adding value to a customer. This ‘why‘ has nothing to do with the company’s products and services – it is all about what the company makes or does FOR its customers. Articulating and communicating the organization’s Benevolent Intent is the job of the leaders of the company. Ensuring that everyone in the company then lives up to its Noble Purpose is also a leadership issue. Leaders need to believe in the Just Cause and dedicate themselves to it. They need to make sacrifices in the interests of furthering that cause. Then, and only then, will their people do likewise.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: Does your organization offer your people a cause so just that they would be willing to sacrifice themselves and their interests in order to advance that cause?
An example of a Just Cause was the United States’ Declaration of Independence. The founding fathers wrote down a reason why they wanted to go to war and create their own country. All men are created equal, they said – endowed with unalienable rights amongst which include life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In other words they presented an ideal vision of a future state that did not yet exist – an ideal so inspiring that they were willing to commit their honor, their fortunes and their lives in order to advance it.
They will never actually achieve that ideal but they will die trying – and that is the point.
READ THE FULL SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE
What is the difference between management and leadership?
Conventional performance management systems received negative reviews at a recent Legitimate Leadership client-consultant workshop in Johannesburg entitled Reinventing Performance Management…
Organisations do not transform overnight. This is because people are still people irrespective of technology. Humans, because they are human, require time to adapt and respond to change…
For frontline managers to perform their care and growth role requires in the first instance a mindshift from seeing their jobs as getting results out of people to enabling excellence in them…
Question of the Month
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership
Question: What is the difference between management and leadership?
Answer: Legitimate Leadership has a very clear view of the distinction between management and leadership: management is what you apply to things; leadership pertains to people.
For organisational success and sustained results – organisational excellence – both management and leadership are required. So the distinction, for us, would be distilled by asking people, “what sounds right to you of the following two statements: you manage the inventory in the warehouse, or, you lead the inventory in the warehouse?” Obviously, you manage the inventory in the warehouse.
We are total advocates of the view that you should manage things like finances, systems, structures, facilities, etc. And we know that organisations which don’t manage tend not to succeed.
But our plea is: please don’t manage people, lead them. Because when you manage people, you reduced them to the status of things.
EVENT: REINVENTING PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP
By Teigue Payne, Legitimate Leadership
Conventional performance management systems received negative reviews at a recent Legitimate Leadership client-consultant workshop in Johannesburg entitled Reinventing Performance Management.
Comment on traditional systems was that they were often seen as a form of control and punishment – and occasionally reward.
One delegate described them as “the single most disengaging factor that employers use”.
Also, often conventional systems were “played” to get the required good scores.
Yet in the choice between software systems and more labour-intensive performance management approaches, software systems are generally preferred. This is probably because of two factors. Firstly, software is frequently sold as a silver bullet (but experience shows that this is unrealistic – that any success can only come from putting new behaviours in place). Secondly, legitimate leadership of any kind generally involves hard work and the courage to hold people accountable – and the turkey seldom votes for Christmas.
To remedy the negatives of conventional performance management systems, there was agreement among many delegates that the focus needed to shift to “forward-looking contribution”. Most of all, any system which would result in all employees trusting and contributing to it, should be sought.
The Legitimate Leadership Model is not about systems, said Wendy Lambourne, director of Legitimate Leadership. It is rather about cultivating relationships of trust. So no particular system should stop the application of the Legitimate Leadership Model in an organisation. Nonetheless, a performance management system which is aligned to Legitimate Leadership principles obviously is likely to work better.
A case study of one company, Singular Systems, which used the Legitimate Leadership Model in reinventing its performance management system, was described at the workshop – see Singular Systems: Reinventing Its Performance Management System. Following the reinvention, Singular Systems Cape Town achieved increased revenue growth year-on-year due, among other things, to focus on growing staff and driving individual contribution, said Dave Elliott, and executive of Singular Systems.
ARTICLE: LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP SHOULD BE NURTURED, NOT MANAGED OR CONTROLLED
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Organisations do not transform overnight. This is because people are still people irrespective of technology. Humans, because they are human, require time to adapt and respond to change.
Legitimate Leadership, or being here to care for and grow others, actually begins in an organisation when one or more individuals who have been exposed to the Legitimate Leadership Model go away and do something with it. The positive results they accrue from doing so not only personally encourage them to continue, but provide an example(s) for others to follow.
The germination of the 16 Legitimate Leadership or care and growth practices, in other words, happen slowly and often takes time to be noticed. At some point however the principles and practices take root and gather momentum. Eventually a point is reached when some sort of critical mass has been achieved. “Care and growth” is then no longer the exception but the norm.
Cultivating an organisation which embodies the principles and spirit of Legitimate Leadership therefore requires patience and perseverance by all involved.
It is in recognition of this that the Legitimate Leadership process for a group of 15-20 leaders is typically 12-18 months in duration.
ARTICLE: INSTEAD OF DOING ADMIN, FRONTLINE MANAGERS SHOULD COACH THEIR EMPLOYEES AND CONSTANTLY IMPROVE QUALITY
By Aaron De Smet, Monica McGurk, and Marc Vinson, principals of consulting company McKinsey in the USA, writing in McKinsey Quarterly.
COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS ARTICLE: For frontline managers to perform their care and growth role requires in the first instance a mindshift from seeing their jobs as getting results out of people to enabling excellence in them. This will only happen however if those people are given the means and ability to perform the role and then held accountable for doing so. The Legitimate Leadership process, run over 12-18 months, has consistently delivered the kind of frontline managers described in this article – in branch banking, in motor retail, in manufacturing, in call centres, and in fashion retail. For these Legitimate Leadership case studies, see (Fuelling Peformance in Fashion Retail, Opening A New Store A New Way, Care & Growth Impacts Motor Retail Results, Reflections On Implementing Care & Growth).
OUR EXCERPTS FROM THIS ARTICLE: A retail manager responsible for more than $80 million in annual revenue, an airline manager who oversees a yearly passenger volume worth more than $160 million, a banking manager who deals with upward of seven million questions from customers a year. These aren’t executives at a corporate headquarters; they are the hidden—yet crucial— managers of frontline employees.
Found in almost any company, such managers are particularly important in industries with distributed networks of sites and employees. These industries—for instance, infrastructure, travel and logistics, manufacturing, health care, and retailing (including food service and retail banking)—make up more than half of the global economy. Their district or area managers, store managers, site or plant managers, and line supervisors direct as much as two-thirds of the workforce and are responsible for the part of the company that typically defines the customer experience. Yet most of the time, these managers operate as cogs in a system, with limited flexibility in decision making and little room for creativity. In a majority of the companies we’ve encountered, the frontline managers’ role is merely to oversee a limited number of direct reports, often in a “span breaking” capacity, relaying information from executives to workers.
Such managers keep an eye on things, enforce plans and policies, report operational results, and quickly escalate issues or problems. In other words, a frontline manager is meant to communicate decisions, not to make them; to ensure compliance with policies, not to use judgment or discretion (and certainly not to develop policies); and to oversee the implementation of improvements, not to contribute ideas or even implement improvements (workers do that). This system makes companies less productive, less agile, and less profitable, our experience shows.
Change is possible, however. At companies that have successfully empowered their frontline managers, the resulting flexibility and productivity generate strong financial returns.