People benefit from feedback about their performance, and support for development. This is not in doubt. What is questionable however is how much feedback and support is beneficial.
In two blogs, in December and January, I wrote against the trend for organizations to abandon annual performance reviews, and replace them with frequent, ‘check-in’ conversations between managers and their people. I expressed doubt about how worthwhile such conversations are. Surely, there comes a point when these conversations feel like someone breathing down your neck. Additionally, this idea of constant feedback runs counter to the notion of giving people more control over their work, and their time. Moreover, as I have also frequently written, managers today are far too over-stretched to be able to give the time required to such conversations.
Research published recently by Gartner1 and reported in the May/June Harvard Business Review supports my views. Gartner found that HR leaders expect managers to spend 36% of their time developing subordinates, whilst in reality managers spend just 9% on this. What Gartner also found, however, is that more coaching isn’t necessarily better. The more effective managers – whom Gartner typify as ‘Connector Managers’ give targeted feedback in their areas of expertise; otherwise they connect people with those who are better suited to the task. The researchers say that managers should focus less on the frequency of their developmental conversations with employees and more on depth and quality. A viewpoint that matches ours entirely.
1 https://hbr.org/2018/05/managers-cant-be-great-coaches-all-by-themselves May–June 2018 issue (pp.22–24) of Harvard Business Review. About the Research: “Coaching vs. Connecting: What the Best Managers Do to Develop Their Employees Today,” by Gartner (white paper)
27 June 2018
©Copyright Janice Caplan 2018