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A Silent Killer of Employee Performance


In our series of reasons for low performance we have so far mentioned the five top on the list:

  • Poor Leadership

  • Unclear Expectations

  • Lack of Skills and Training

  • Unrealistic Workload

  • Poor Workplace Culture


During the years we’ve noticed that there are more reasons for low performance in your team or in your company: Inadequate recognition or rewards can be a silent killer of employee performance.


A Tangible Impact on Performance

Consider this scenario: Julia, a middle-level manager, has successfully led her team to complete three projects ahead of schedule, with results surpassing expectations. She's worked tirelessly, balancing team dynamics, managing resources, and ensuring that everyone is aligned.


Yet, as weeks pass by, there’s no acknowledgment of her outstanding leadership...


Why is Julia’s situation noteworthy?

A Dive into Neuroscience

When Julia achieves a successful outcome, her brain anticipates a dopamine surge, a neurotransmitter associated with motivation and reward. It's akin to the brain's 'like' button. A study from Harvard University in 2017 provides a clear illustration: participants showcased increased dopamine activity when they received positive feedback, which directly correlated with enhanced future task participation.



However, a lack of recognition can inhibit this dopamine release, mirroring the feelings of posting a significant update on social media and receiving no interactions.


How Coaching Can Transform Management

An executive coach starts collaborating with Julia, who, despite her achievements, feels she's hitting a professional ceiling.


Through coaching they work with:

  • Individualized Feedback: the coach dives deep into Julia's managerial style. Highlights her unique ability to resolve inter-team conflicts swiftly, something upper management might overlook amidst broader organizational goals.


  • Goal Direction: the coach and Julia outline a roadmap for her to spearhead a cross-departmental collaboration initiative. This not only enhances her profile but also gives her a palpable sense of accomplishment tied directly to the company's success.


  • Skill Augmentation: Observing Julia’s interactions, the coach pinpoints areas for improvement in her negotiation skills. They embark on a journey to refine these, making her an even more effective and assertive leader.


  • Supportive Ears: When a team restructuring looms, the coach aids Julia in navigating the emotional and logistical challenges, ensuring transient changes don't dampen her long-term leadership enthusiasm.


  • Diverse Perspectives: The coach guides Julia through exercises designed to help her see challenges from various angles. By doing so, she begins to understand how different viewpoints can offer unique solutions, refining her own problem-solving approach.


Recognition in Action: An Exercise

  • Gather Insights: Conduct focus group discussions, not generic surveys. For instance, let project teams express what they feel about communication between departments.


  • Feedback Synthesis: Extract actionable items. If, say, communication emerges as a recurrent issue, that's a tangible point to address.


  • Incorporate Regular Shout-outs: In bi-monthly company meetings, spotlight outstanding leadership. Praise, for example, a team leader who consistently provides constructive feedback.


  • Periodic Checks: Every quarter, assess the efficacy of implemented changes. Has inter-departmental communication enhanced after dedicated workshops? Use such metrics to gauge success.

Recognition isn't just a feel-good factor; it's neurologically ingrained in how we function. By amalgamating this understanding with targeted coaching, we can ensure that every manager, like Julia, remains acknowledged, motivated, and continuously evolving in their leadership journey.


Your journey toward a balanced, productive, and fulfilling leadership experience is awaiting. Book your free 20 min slot consultation

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