Managing Individual Performance

Prior to making any decision about whom to place on the team, you must look at the personality and background of each candidate. However, just merely looking at the employee’s record will not suffice. As suggested in the article by Wheeler and Druskat, leaders should seek out information via three methods: current or previous managers, their peers, and if possible, specialists. (Druskat & Wheeler, 2003) This type of investigation can yield many possible matches for the team or in rare instances none. Therefore, if the leader has a finite number of people to choose from as in the simulation, they must make the best decision possible and monitor the team closely to keep it from failing. In addition, the team must have a mixture of motivation and ability to complete the task. (McShane S, 2000, chap. 8)

Managing Individual Performance Week Three Individual Paper

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Selection and Reasoning

I selected the following people for assignments in the simulation:

Build Case Files – Lisa Stafford

Moderate Self Help Groups – John Connor

Perform Follow-Ups – Michelle Levy

Supervise Confrontation Sessions – Daniel Nichols

I chose each member based on his or her profile and peer/manager reviews. Building the case files required someone who was a good communicator, worked well with people and able to collect facts and put them in order. Lisa fit the majority of these attributes with the caution she overdoes things and will need to be monitored. The self help groups required a strong team member to handle conflict, facilitate meeting and have patience coupled with strength. John was an ideal candidate due to his work with social groups and training of outside groups like the baseball league. His drawback is the dominance factor in his work and will need to be observed to ensure things go smoothly. To perform follow-ups with the participants, I chose Michelle.

This person is required to monitor the family and make unbiased reports and recommendations. In addition, this person must be able to factor in external stimuli on the participants. Michelle is good at analyzing problems and providing solutions. She can be a little pessimistic but having a good schedule and reassurances from the team leader, she should be fine in this role. Lastly, one team member must supervise confrontation sessions. This task requires sessions with relapsed participants and helping them on the right path, help with related stress, and motivating victims.

Daniel is a strong candidate due to his rapport with people and problem solving skills. While he is good at motivating, caution must be taken in his handling of the patients as he tends to be aggressive at times to complete a task. All of these volunteers were chosen over the others for what they brought to the task. There are cautions and needs required for each member, but that outweighs the benefits received from each person. Most all of the volunteers will need some monitoring and positive affirmation as the months progress to ensure the project is completed on time and is a success. (Campbell, White, & Johnson, 2003)

When using the MBTI personality test there are 8 types of characteristics each person can display. (Saint Martin’s College, 2004) Each contrasting style is described briefly below. (Saint Martin’s College, 2004)

* E (extraversion) – Energized by active involvement in events, immersed in a breadth of activities. Excited when around people, and have energizing effect on those around them. Like action and understanding of a problem becomes clearer if they can talk out loud about it and hear what others have to say.

* I (introversion) Energized and excited when involved with the ideas, images, memories, and reactions. Prefer solitary activities or spending time with one or two others and have a calming effect on those around them. Take time to reflect on ideas that explain the outer world.

* N (intuition) – Immersed in their impressions of the meanings or patterns in their experiences. Prefer insight to hands-on experience. Like the possible and new, and have an orientation to the future. Interested in the abstract and in theory. Enjoy activities where they can use symbols or be creative.

* S (sensing) – Immersed in the ongoing richness of sensory experience and grounded in everyday physical reality. Concerned with what is actual, present, current, and real. Good memory for detail, accurate with data, and remember facts or aspects of events. Experience speaks louder than words or theory.

* T (thinking) – Concerned with determining the objective truth. More impersonal in approach, make the best decisions by removing personal concerns. Act based on the truth. Concerned with logical and appear analytical, cool, and tough-minded.

* F (feeling) – Concerned with whether decisions and actions are worthwhile. Personal in approach, make the best decisions by weighing what people care and their points-of-view. Places high value on relatedness between people and appear caring, warm, and tactful

* P (perceiving) – Use their preferred perceiving function in their outer life. Adapt to the world, and like to stay open to new experiences.

* J (judging) – Use their preferred judging function in their outer life. Like to have things settled and organized, and like to bring life under control to the degree it is possible.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a pyramid of needs that drive a person. The diagram below shows the order from top to bottom.

Maslow theorized a person required all these needs to be met before they would be able to act unselfishly. Each need is self explanatory and each person is seeking to fulfill these needs. If one or more of these needs are threatened, the individual will become sick or depressed and will actively seek to achieve these needs to feel better. (Gwynne, 1997) In our simulation, each volunteer is actively seeking to fulfill one or more of these needs.

1. Lisa – Esteem (ambition and credit taking)

2. John – Self actualization (teamwork and respect)

3. Michelle – Love (quiet and needs encouragement)

4. Daniel – Esteem (competitive and motivation)

This knowledge really didn’t affect my choosing each member for his or her respective tasks. However, it does affect the way I would handle conflicts that might arise within the team dynamic over the course of the project.

Simulation Results

My initial attempt at the simulation resulted in a 70% completion ratio with the positive outlook all participants would eventually recover. This 70% result due to the fact I handled two of the volunteers incorrectly. I correctly evaluated all the scenarios, however my decisions once implemented cause the employees to be demoralized. The results are listed below.

Problem: Lisa is letting other work slip. What to do?

Result: Understood growth and ambition but counseled was the wrong choice

Problem: John and the divorce

Result: John’s divorce from working to hard, refocus and counseled. In addition, I adjusted his goals. Worked

Problem: Michelle – They cut the time allowed.

Result: Volunteer demotivated, but guessed wrong again by reassigning tasks

Problem: Daniel – Bad track record with relapses

Result: Demotivated, gave training and recognition. Worked

When trying to determine the right fit for each task, I reflected on each person’s strengths in comparison to possible and actual weaknesses. As a leader, I had to know that for a long term task such as this, I would need to keep the team focused and motivated. One factor I used was the MBTI of each person. I looked up each type on the internet to help me decide how to handle each person when a problem arose and whom to task initially. The group I chose was not the only combination possible, but I felt it was one affording the least amount of impending crisis management. (Barki & Hartwick, 2001) As each problem arose, I tried (sometimes unsuccessfully) to evaluate what needed to be done and implemented a strategy based on their needs.

With Lisa, I counseled her with her supervisor, when all I needed to do was to refocus her and show her that her work was important and rewarding. John’s issue was an outside problem that could not have been foreseen; therefore, great care was needed in understanding his needs and yet keeping the team on track. It ultimately worked out. Having been through this scenario myself, however, it could have easily been required to replace him and try to play damage control. Therefore, as with these examples and the other volunteers I used as well as the two I chose to leave out, there are many factors to consider. A few of these I used were the MBTI, Needs hierarchy, motivation, external factors and stimuli, as well as rewards and recognition. (Barsade, 2002)

Each subsequent time I ran the simulation; I correctly evaluated the team and implemented the correct action to take in order to complete the task on time and 100% successful. I ran the next scenario with the same people assigned to ensure I could complete it correctly, and then changed places with team members to try to evaluate other leadership abilities. I was able to use each volunteer in a scenario, but the more out of place I put him or her, the more work I was required to do to complete the task successfully. There was a few times I just arbitrarily placed volunteers (like picking names out of a hat) and the simulation would not start because the team was so off the mark that the initial motivation level and moral was too low.

Conclusion

Being a good leader should begin with empathy. Feeling and understanding what drives an employee or is important to them can help you become an effective leader. All the employees were volunteers – people who came of their own free will. This must be taken into consideration. Paid employees know the rules, boundaries, and work expected of them. In a volunteer group, as a leader you must understand that things are different and try figure out why each person is there. There goals and motivations may be different from a person seeking compensation.

In most instances as a leader, you will not have the MBTI available. In addition, you will routinely not have enough time to deeply analyze each person before a task is required to begin. This is where knowing your employees before hand though daily interaction helps. It will also cause you to become a better manager because you will have to overcome the problems you were unable to foresee in the beginning when choosing the team.

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