Guest Post by Janhavi Hunnur
I’m honored that Janhavi Hunnur asked to share this guest post that candidly addresses a challenge rarely talked about but shared by many leaders: personal biases around work approaches and styles that ultimately affect performance.
In the corporate world, the term ‘performance’ is often misunderstood. At its core, we can evaluate performance based upon the answers to simple questions like:
- How well are we doing?
- Are we meeting our goals?
- Are our customers satisfied?
But as organizations have become more sophisticated and processes have become more complex, measuring performance has grown increasingly complicated. And, understandably so… because not having a rigorous and objective approach to performance management and measurement can lead to problems as I’ve personally experienced.
Looking back, I now realize that I was inadvertently thwarting my team’s efforts and undermining their development and growth because I was evaluating others based upon subjective comparisons of how they approached their work to my own approach to mine. I felt greater rapport and connection to team members who shared my same work patterns and behaviors. I have to admit that I enjoyed the feeling of camaraderie and went the extra mile for these team members.
My bias didn’t just affect my reviews and feedback. It affected my employees, leaving some feeling devalued, side-lined, and unwelcome to share their suggestions or ideas. How many groundbreaking innovations, new customers, or great insights were not allowed to flourish or come forward as a result?
Gratefully, I recognized this opportunity in time. Rather than relying on my subjective impressions, which are never a good barometer, I knew that data would provide a better, more objective basis for evaluating and coaching others, and ultimately driving performance.
I started first with myself and developed a process to measure my own performance and work habits. I started quantifying my work based on such things as:
- Undivided time spent on each activity
- Number of breaks taken during the day
- Energy levels during the day and complementing activity
- Prioritization of ‘important’ vs ‘urgent’
- Mindful delegation
- Effective planning and organization
After consistently assessing my own performance/behavior for a month, I had an objective evaluation of myself. I found the results personally illuminating and felt it would be advantageous for my team to do it as well…and the benefits have been great. Not only have they gained awareness of their own work habits and patterns, they have become more focused, motivated, and inspired to perform. Because they now have quantifiable metrics, they challenge themselves to continue to improve and have had some significant results. Although I never asked for this data, some have actually volunteered. In fact, one employee shared an increase from 13 to 33 minutes of undivided time spent on a task!
The exercise built a sustainable process for employee development, individual improvements and team results. Being constantly in ‘self-improvement mode’ on an individual level has led to increased productivity, benefiting the entire organization. And being in a similar ‘self-improvement mode’ has helped me to approach work and people more objectively.
About Janhavi Hunnur
Tech marketer, born to write, edit, bang head on wall and then finally hit send. Interested in Technology, leadership, rebel arts and wildlife photography. The mantra that keeps me going now is “You cannot improve what you cannot measure”. Connect with Janhavi on Twitter and let’s talk.