Performance Management... In The Real World
Every now and again I am reminded about how fallible I am...
Most days, I suppose like everyone else, I go about my business; largely concerning myself with the 'day-to-day' issues of my life. Occasionally, feeling sorry for myself for challenges that are best described as inconsequential. However, every now and again, I run up against a challenge that is more significant, more difficult to just 'get over' and in those times, I hope I've learned enough in my almost 50 years of living to handle what life is throwing my way.
Well... turns out, I was wrong.
The problem in question, revolved around my daughter and a soccer team. A team I was certain she'd make. Frankly I was so certain, the alternative didn't even cross my mind. But as the weeks leading up the final decision day went by (as others) learned (early) of their position on the team, my daughter remained without a guaranteed spot. My concern was growing, but still blunted by my 'certainty'. As far as I was concerned, she had already earned it, all evidence to that effect had been demonstrated along the way, as it had for her teammates that were already aware of their standing. When decision day for her finally arrived, the message was clear, she would need to try out. An early offer was not in the cards for her.
This is when I knew I would be able to call on all of my years of leadership training. I knew what to do, how to handle performance feedback - even when it was directed at my daughter. No problem.
I'd love to tell you, I handled things like a professional. But I would be lying. It doesn't matter that I could cite chapter and verse all the reasons she 'deserved' a spot. I wouldn't need to get angry, I knew maintaining my composure admidst this grave injustice would be easy. I knew exactly what to do. More importantly what not to do.
I ignored everything I knew about communication best practice, performance management etc, etc. I sent an aggressive email to the coach, without so much as a second set of eyes considered for review, or (perish the thought) for their honest opinion. Nope. Off it went into cyberspace.
I sent an email, because I was hurting and I needed a pound of flesh. No other reason. The 24 hour rule. Sleep on it... Not even close. Just 'guns a blazing'.
To make a long story short, after a very heated start to the conversation with the coach, 'triggered' by my email, I found a measure of reason (as did he) and we talked as gentlemen. He explained his position and his expectations. He was confident what he needed to see would be displayed during the tryouts and she'd be on the team.
He explained this to me, just as he had to my daughter only two days before. This is when the real learning happened.
She taught me what an appropriate response should be.
She received feedback from her coach, implemented that feedback, worked and showcased that feedback and MADE THE TEAM.
She taught me there is a real distinction between training people on what to say, or not say... do or not do, and actually applying those teachings in your own life.
Learning really is everywhere; especially in the real world.