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Marcus Buckingham: What Do Team Leaders Want?

    By Nancy Nelson

    Day Two of SHRM 2015 reminds me that a conference is like a marathon, not a sprint. It will take endurance to walk miles through the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center and an Expo hall that exceeds the size of four football fields. And we’ll need energy! In her 7:00 am session, Sheri Barnes of “Mama Knows Fitness” says we’re out of energy, not time. In order to feel and work better, we need to focus on four things: sleep, food, mood and exercise. Sound daunting? The key is to break each down into simple, sustainable tools and tips that we will feel good using. It turns out that simple, sustainable tools are exactly what team leaders need from HR, according to Marcus Buckingham, today’s keynote speaker. Team leaders are key, since as team leaders go, so do the organization. Team leaders need to know three things: what are my people’s strengths, what are they doing, and what are they feeling? The Marcus Buckingham Company has recently released the results of a global employee engagement index which shows that the US and China rank highest in fully engaged at 19%. Nineteen percent??  Clearly, we have a lot of work to do. And the #1 indicator of engagement globally? The ability to use one’s strengths at work.

    Buckingham also had a lot to say about performance management, which was a common theme in many concurrent sessions at SHRM 2015. There’s a healthy debate on whether performance management as traditionally defined really makes a difference in performance. And are periodic check-ins, in lieu of an annual performance review, any better? Buckingham advocates a much simpler approach: to help an employee get better, focus on their strengths, not feedback which may not be helpful in the long run. Instead of a feedback-based discussion, have a weekly check-in and ask just two questions: what are your priorities and how can I help? Buckingham also announced a partnership with SurveyMonkey that uses the survey tool to assess nine strength roles. 

    Two down, two to go… feeling energized!


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