Objectivity vs Subjectivity

When you manage the performance of your employees - whether they are your direct or indirect reports - it is relatively easy to fall in the realm of subjectivity in the performance management department.

There are many reasons for falling on the land of subjectivity - especially when the relationship between you and your reports becomes emotionally charged.

Because of the day-to-day job interaction, you begin to build a relationship with some of your reports, consciously or unconsciously you start to build a friendship, and over time you end up developing an emotional attachment.

Or on the contrary - because of whatever reason (poor performance, incompatibility of personal values, lack of chemistry, etc.) - you end up really disliking some of your reports.

You might get strong positive feelings in the former situation and sound negative feelings in the latter.

Because of these and some other reasons, it is reasonably easy for you to fall inside the kingdom of subjectivity - you are a human being after all (you are susceptible of feeling an array of emotions, moods, and sentiments).

However, when you fall in the territory of subjectivity, it is much easier for you to become biased, and when you become biased you loose objectivity, and when you loose objectivity your performance management approach could potentially stop being objective.

In the same way that you must never tolerate poor performance because you really like a worker, you must never become way too demanding because you truly and honestly dislike an employee.

When you focus on your employees' personality, attitude, sexual preference, religion, looks, etc., you fall in the realm of subjectivity, and when you do, you make it much more difficult for you to manage their performance properly.

Your performance management must always remain objective. Why? Performance management must always remain objective because performance is - by definition - objective.

What is performance after all? Performance is the sum of behavior plus results, period.

Both - behavior and results - are observable, measurable, and objective.

Performance management is not about whether you like or dislike people. Performance management is about delivering results with the expected quality in a given time frame.

You get paid to deliver results with your behavior (performance management) - and you achieve results through the behavior of your employees.

Performance management has an array of tools, like goal setting, monitoring progress, ongoing feedback, etc. All these tools help you remain objective in managing the performance of your employees.

Conclusion: Yes: you are a human being - it is true that your nature is subjective by definition. Nevertheless - the fact is - you get paid to deliver objective and measurable results through the performance of your employees. And you accomplish this by managing their performance in an objective way.

Remember, if you have an employee who has been a poor performer for a while, the source of his poor performance does not reside in your employee, but in your ability - or lack of ability - to manager his performance.

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Jose Luis Romero - Publisher
October 4, 2011. Copyright: All rights reserved
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