This week, Aoife is serving up a challenging and thought-provoking solo episode focused on talent management, inspired by a college lecture-discussion she took part in a couple of years ago. In this episode, Aoife explores organisational performance and the measurements of talent in the workplace, unlocking our fullest potential and excelling in our career, and probes the question; is everyone good at something? The main points covered include:
– The bell curve: measuring employee performance.
– Favourable treatment and equality at work.
– Unlocking your key strengths and finding your career purpose.
– The importance of giving people the chance to excel.
– The damages a lack of employee recognition can cause.
– The concept of the Peter principle.
– Bluffing your way in business.
– How to identify your strengths and potential.
– Managing high performers and underperformers.
THE LISTENERS SAY:
Do you have any feedback or thoughts on this discussion? If so, please connect with Aoife via the links below and let her know. Aoife would love to hear from you!
Listen back: Aoife O’Brien live on Newstalk discussing Imposter Syndrome.
Connect with Happier at Work host Aoife O’Brien:
Aoife O’Brien 00:00
Are you looking to improve employee engagement and retention? Do you struggle with decisions on who to hire or who to promote? I have an amazing opportunity for forward thinking, purpose led, people first organisation to work with me on the first pilot Happier at Work program for corporates. The program is entirely science backed and you will have tangible outcomes in relation to employee engagement, retention, performance and productivity. The program is aimed at people leaders with responsibility for hiring and promotion decisions. If this sounds like you, please get in touch at Aoife@ happieratwork.ie. That’s A O I F E @ happieratwork.ie. You’re listening to the happier work podcast. I’m your host Aoife O’Brien This is the podcast for leaders who put people first, the podcast covers four broad themes, engagement and belonging, performance and productivity, leadership, equity, and the future of work. Everything to do with the happier at work podcast relates to employee retention, you can find out more at Happieratwork.ie. Hello, and welcome to this week’s solo episode of the happier at work Podcast. I’m so delighted that you have tuned in today. Now, today’s episode is a little bit thought provoking. It’s a little bit challenging but it’s a genuine question from me, based on some discussions that I’ve had recently, a lot of discussions actually and there’s a lot of thinking around this. So I really love and really value, getting your feedback on this and getting involved in the discussion. So I suppose to paint the picture, the original thought behind this was from a college lecture in probably would have been over two years ago now at this stage, it was during my master’s in organisational behavior and in it, we were talking about talent management, and what it means to manage people who are exceptionally high performers or star performers. The crux of the message essentially was that there are people who have exceptionally high skills at doing what it is that they’re doing. So that’s kind of setting the scene from that. And in my own corporate experience, I’ve always worked in organisations where there has been this bell curve where you are measured on your performance, and there’s a top 20%, a middle 70% and a bottom 10% of people and you are compared to your peers, essentially. And based on comparisons, you can be moved up or moved down in the, I think we were using the nine box grid, so five different ratings essentially within that and you could be moved up or you could be moved down based on a comparison against your peers. So that’s another kind of thing to point out. Now, during the college lecture, we were saying actually, it’s, it’s typically most people are average. And there’s very few people who are exceptionally good at what they do. And so the bell curve of this, you know, oftentimes it’s it’s 20% 70% and 10%, then in the bottom, but actually, it should be more like I can’t remember the exact statistics. But it was something like one or 2% in the very, very top. And then the rest of the people are mostly kind of, you know, there’s kind of sitting in the average space compared to these other exceptionally good people. Now, the other story I want to share is an interesting conversation I had about a lady who was working in an organisation that was run by a relative of hers, and she was promoted, and she was promoted, and she was promoted. So she was really successful within that specific role, and then went looking for a role elsewhere. And when she went looking for this role elsewhere, she was going in at that level that she had attained. But actually, from the outsider’s perspective, she really wasn’t competent at the role. And she’d been promoted because she was working with a relative of hers, and she was getting favorable treatment. But from the new organization’s perspective, she had reached this level of success, and she was very much would have been able to do that. So, you know, it’s kind of a challenge around that. So are there people who are just on the other side, just not really, that good at their job. So that’s a kind of painting a picture there. Now, the other side of that the flip side of that, and I hear a lot of this narrative as well is that everyone is good at something and it’s about finding what it is that you really good at and finding that and really excelling at what it is that you’re good at. So that’s kind of the other side of this. You have on the one side, really high performers, star performers and then the other side, well, everyone’s good at something. And so therefore, everyone should be given a chance. And it’s just a case that the person maybe was in the wrong role that they’re in, you know that they’re doing the wrong thing. And if you give them a chance to find what it is they’re really good at, then they can really excel. And my question or my thought provoke, my challenging back at you is, you know, what, what do you believe is the case? Do you believe that everyone is good at something? And it’s just a case of finding that thing that you’re really good at? Or do you believe that some people are just not really that good in general at work, and there are on the other side, absolutely. star performers who are exceptionally good. Now, in kind of putting this into a bit more context in the workplace, I did a bit of research around this, and high performers are more likely to leave due to lack of recognition. And that’s due to lack of financial recognition. So if you’re not paying high performers, enough money, it could be financial recognition, it could be a different type of recognition, saying thank you, being promoted, or especially if someone they perceive as not as good as them is promoted above them, and that has certainly happened to me in the past. When someone else is promoted above them, it’s it gives them a reason to kind of question the organisation and whether or not they should stay there and ultimately, they leave. Now, the other concept that came up in my research is this idea of the Peter Principle, which if you haven’t heard of it, it means that people are promoted beyond their level of competence, or until they reach a level of incompetence. So the example that’s often used is in sales. So if you start out in sales, and you get good at sales, you get promoted and get promoted. And you could be a senior sales person, and then you get promoted into a management position, but you’re not necessarily good at being a manager. And so you’re not excelling in that role. And you won’t be promoted beyond that. But you have been promoted into that role. So you get promoted to a level of incompetence. So that’s something to bear in mind. And something that, you know, when I was looking into why some people are perceived as not being good at their job, this was something else that came up. Another thing that came up in a conversation so I spoke about impostor syndrome on Newstalk. So Newstalk is one of our national radio stations here in Ireland and a lot of people messaged in to the radio station to say that the problem is not with imposter syndrome and people being imposters or, or being really good at their job but but having this sense of imposter syndrome. But actually the opposite that people were bluffing their way into their jobs. And and the workplace was rife with bluffers, and a lot of people texted that in. So that kind of also called into question, you know, what’s going on here? And are there a lot of people out there, either A, who are just incompetent or be they’re in the wrong role? So question time now back at you, what do we actually do about this? So if it’s a case that everyone has their own strengths. And it’s about finding out what those strengths are and really understanding that and if you do want to understand more about that, I’d be happy to point you in the right direction, for resources that have really helped me and help some of my clients as well. So how do we find what’s really right? For us from a strength perspective, and from a working to our fullest potential as well? And then on the other side, if it’s a case that maybe there are some people who are exceptionally good, and there are therefore some people who are just not that good, they’re just not, they’re below average performance, essentially, um, it’s not a case that they they haven’t found what it is that they’re good at. But it’s a case that they genuinely just underperform in anything that they do. How do you identify and manage the exceptionally high performers? And what do you do about those people who can’t perform as well? And I’ve heard different examples, especially if someone is a manager of being kind of put from team to team to team and you know that companies are just not dealing with these issues when people are underperforming. So I suppose this raises a few questions, and I would love for people to get involved in the conversation to get involved in the debate. And which side do you fall on? Do you believe that everyone has their strengths and you just haven’t found them yet? Or do you believe that there is more of this curve but the curve is slightly different to what we normally would look at in the workplace and that there are some people who are exceptionally exceptionally good. But then there are people who are also underperformers and what you might say incompetent. I would absolutely love to know what you think, what impact this has on the workplace and workplace happiness in general and do let me know what you think through social media. That’s the best way to connect with me on LinkedIn, you’ll find me on Aoife O’Brien that’s A O I F E, O’ B R I E N and also you can reach out to me through Instagram, which is happieratwork.ie That was another episode of the Happier at Work podcast, I’m so glad you tuned in today. If you enjoy today’s podcast, I would love to get your thoughts. Head on over to social media to get involved in the conversation. If you enjoy the podcast, I would love if you could rate, review it or share it with a friend. If you want to know more about what I do or how I could help your business head on over to happieratwork.ie