Are You Nurturing a Mediocre Culture?

Mediocre culture, mediocre team. Are you nurturing this unremarkable culture? Perhaps your response will be a resounding “no”. But read on, because no one intentionally nurtures mediocrity. Find out of you are inadvertently guilty and what to do about it.

Fear not in case you find yourself guilty of nurturing a mediocre culture. Because there’s a way forward to greater performance heights for you and your team. Performance that is greater than you ever experienced, greater than your imagination has ever conceived.

Do you have an aligned understanding of performance expectations?

Any and all performance management material starts with one thing – setting expectations. Yet, according to Clear Company, only about 50% of the workforce strongly feels as though they understand work expectations. As an HR practitioner, I know for a fact that this very crucial step is often missed out by new and seasoned leaders alike.

Why? Varied reasons – because it is time consuming or that it requires a certain knowledge of the Company’s bigger goals as well as operational excellence concepts for this to be successful. However, this is the single step that sets the stage of performance for you team.

There are many frameworks – Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the Balanced Scorecards (BSCs). If you have not done so, please go on and start reading articles and books using these key phrases.

Why the secret to success is setting the right goals? by John Doerr


Do you recognize people for doing their job well?

It is important to recognize people who have gone above and beyond. Remember that it is good to appreciate everyone, but recognition is reserved to those who are doing very well in what they do.

I cannot overemphasize that there is a difference. And when you recognized when you should only have appreciated, that disengages your high performers and sends the message that just meeting expectations is good enough, thus engaging median and low performers and sends them a message that there’s no meed to change nor improve.

Are you very nice and understanding?

Being nice, gentle and kind are all right. However, being overly nice without boundaries and understanding without taking into view the performance output and the efforts that other team members had to put in is something else. Here’s the hard truth – employees, while they continue to love nice leaders, they cease to respect them when they constantly bend over backwards for opportunists.

An example would be leaders who have no real voice, or whose only answer to employee’s requests (as in leaves, tardiness or otherwise) is “yes” even when the requests are getting too much, too frequent and too unreasonable.

Another example is when leaders dole out high performance ratings, even when not everyone deserves it for fear of how their employees will react.

In a leadership role, balancing act is of prime importance. It is important to be fair for all so sometimes leaders have to take the less popular path and stand firm even if that means saying “no,” giving direct and constructive feedback and exercising discipline.

How often do you meet with your team?

Did you know that 80% of Gen Ys (~1981-1995) say they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews (Linkedin) and 63% of Gen Zs (~1996-2012) say they want to hear timely, constructive performance feedback throughout the year (Cision)?

The University’s approach to performance management is based on the understanding that regular, meaningful conversations between managers and employees lead to better results and higher engagement for everyone. All administrative/professional and support staff at Harvard are encouraged to meet with their managers as frequently as they choose to discuss their work priorities, performance, and developmental needs and aspirations. Managers are expected to proactively schedule and structure these meetings throughout the year to minimize the stress associated with one-time, high stakes, end-of-year performance appraisals.

Performance Management by Harvard HR

If you are not meeting weekly with your team or at the very least monthly basis, something’s amiss. If your team member resigns and you are clueless on the triggers, something’s wrong with the relationship. If you don’t know what’s happening in your backyard, you really have to do more to know more.

But, it’s not just about knowing, it’s about journeying along with your team. And this entails frequent conversations to ensure alignment in understanding and keeping pace with the work as well as personal changes.

Even in this day and age, some leaders still see themselves on the pedestal. Come on down and meet with your team members on a regular basis.

Do you allow your own and your team members’ talents and strengths to shine?

In sports, the best teams are not those composed of superstars; rather it is the team that is composed of players with diverse talents and who very well know how to work with each other.

A team is a team anywhere – sports, military, etc. It is with the same principles in corporate teams.

When you hire, do you hire more of the same? Do you look for a younger version of you? Are you conscious of what each one brings to the table?

Strengths-based leadership is something highly potent, yet not everyone knows and practices them yet. Essentially, you have to ensure everyone knows their and each other’s talents and strengths and what they bring to the table to reaching team success.

There you go, all the best in leading your team along the journey.






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