How Role Clarity and Employee Performance Management can help with Strategic Focus

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How Role Clarity and Employee Performance Management can help with Strategic Focus
Conroy Fourie, Member
Leadership teams often face the challenge that the majority of jobs in the business defaults mainly in the first level or other lower levels in the organisation, focusing on the execution of similar, predictive and concrete tasks with little uncertainty.
A contributing factor for this situation is that the pressure for performance forces higher level managers to get involved in too much operational work when lower level people don’t perform because performance management is not effectively applied across the organisation. Consequently, the organisation perpetuates the situation of too little strategic focus because the problem of operational performance is not addressed effectively and systemically.

How to resolve this situation?
A. Role Clarification
A1. The business should firstly ensure that those higher level managers that get involved with lower level activities should be guided to focus on the appropriate level that they should be operating at. This will be achieved with boundary management and role clarification.
A2. Secondly, the business should ensure that those that should be operating at the lower levels know clearly what they are supposed to do (role clarification).
A3. Following on the above, the design of jobs at the lower levels plays an important role in clarifying roles and expectations and an attempt should always be made by higher levels to ensure clarity and consistency of roles at all levels in the business.
B. Performance Management can then be used on an ongoing basis to keep the various levels aligned in terms of how people are performing at their level in the business, which helps with boundary management, role clarity, and showing the career path up the levels or within levels over time.

Correct alignment of all levels is necessary to clarify boundaries and make the business more responsive to both operational and strategic demands thereby improving the prospect of the business being more effective. Satisfaction of people is enhanced if they are clear about their roles and boundaries and are performance managed accordingly in a consistent and clear way.

Role Clarification in Performance Management
Ceferino Dulay, Jr., Member
Although it is true that role clarification is important, there is another part of the equation: competency. A person needs to be clear on what is to be done and must have the knowledge, skills, aptitude to get the job done.
This might be the reason for higher-level managers going down to doing the job of subordinates because some of them are unable to produce the results for lack of competence to do so.
It is therefore important that every person in the organization has the level of competence for the assigned role. And this is where a focused, result-oriented training program is needed to address any deficiency and to prepare incumbents for the next level (if showing potential or ability to acquire and use a higher level of competence in the next higher level or in a related area of work).

Role Clarification and Performance Management
Conroy Fourie, Member
@Ceferino Dulay, Jr: True, and dealing with competence is within the scope of how I view the concept of "broader" performance management. If a manager is serious about performance and working with his people to ensure performance, our joint performance management objective should be to ensure that good performance is highlighted and that development needs are also highlighted and appropriate action taken - e.g. training, coaching, mentoring, and so on.
Furthermore, in support of your point, the broader performance management process should also identify talent and potential for other roles in the organisation.
The challenge is that many organisations preach performance management but they often don't have a clue how to do it properly and/or they are not prepared to invest (time, money, other resources) in doing it properly.



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