Q&A: Frederic Funck: “Disrupt your own standards and be a trendsetter”

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 11 May 2016

Coaching business director at the Centre for Creative Leadership on how leaders can inspire better performance

Frederic FunckAn increasing number of workers think top management does not provide effective leadership, according to research by Towers Watson. Not enough leaders of organisations in the Middle East are judged to be inspirational, or understanding of how their decisions impact employees. So what are these leaders doing wrong, and how can they better manage their employees? People Management spoke to the Centre for Creative Leadership’s (CCL) EMEA coaching business director, Frederic Funck, to find out.

 
What issues affect performance management in the Middle East?
Organisations perform only if people perform; and when it comes to performance management, most organisations come to realise that what got us 'here' won't get us 'there'.
 
CCL recently did a study on the Development of Leaders in KSA, and discovered four priorities that matter to the Kingdom: understanding leadership as a collaborative activity; creating high-performance teams; risk taking; and resiliency and work-life integration.
 
What can HR do to make sure leaders are inspiring their employees?
Most of our HR frameworks – such as our competency dictionaries, our sets of values – serve more as instruments for evaluation than guiding tools for attaining our full potential. They help once or twice a year but barely serve anyone as a guide along the way.
 
Industry thought-leaders had previously decided that the best practice was to ensure that all our frameworks would contain behavioural facets, to allow us to 'objectively' measure and compare each individual against certain standards. Somehow, we succeeded in increasing our level of performance, but the great distance before us will not be reached by expecting people to act by the book.
 
What HR has to realise is that attitude (mindset), not aptitude (behaviours), is the invisible force that allows organisations to reach new heights. Cultivating attitude is far more productive and effective than expecting people to exhibit any form of behavioural doctrine. What we want, really, is not to have compliant people. We want them enthused and engaged. We want our HR tools to guide them, and our business leaders to be master at shaping cultures and mind-sets.
 
What is HR's role in developing effective leaders? Is too much emphasis placed on assessing performance rather than inspiring employees?
It is our job as business leaders and HR professionals to tap into the reservoir of potential by evoking excellence in others as opposed to measuring, comparing and contrasting. Embedding an inspiring coaching culture is a good strategic bet. Organisations nowadays are contemplating the idea of dropping their performance reviews for developmental conversations; their assessment centres for development centres, their talent reviews for talent incubations.
 
As Henry Ford rightfully said: “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t; you are right.” The choice is yours to disrupt your own performance standards and be part of the trendsetters, or to be disrupted by this irreversible trend across industries and regions.