The Birkman Method is a powerful tool to use when developing a performance improvement plan for an employee.
The performance improvement plan can be for a high potential employee with a focus on them reaching their full potential or it can be for under-performing employee needing support.
People often make assumptions and have expectations around their interpersonal interactions which combine to form their own “rules of engagement”. These rules of engagement are internal to each individual and are not easily visible to others.
With a combination of assumptions, expectations and different view points involved in interpersonal interactions, it is no surprise that the number one management problem in organisations is poor communication and the number one employee relations problem is poor interpersonal relations.
We use the Birkman Method as part of performance improvement planing to increasing an employee’s potential by stepping through a process which includes Analysis, Buy-in, Plan, Implementation and Feedback.
This process helps the employee to explore and better understand the difference between their Usual Style and their Reactive Style and is very effective in improving their performance both at work and socially.
The Usual Style is an individual’s observable natural social style when they feel comfortable and supported. A person’s Usual Style is typically their most effective style. The Reactive Style is the behavioural style they may fall into when they are uncomfortable.
The Birkman Method measures social styles and identifies the potential Reactive Style as well as a number of other factors which influence how effective an individual will be in a particular role and situation.
The Reactive Style is typically ineffective, however we have the power to choose our behaviour depending on:
- The elements in the environment which are triggers for this Reactive Style
- The situations and tasks which trigger reactive behaviour or which do not suit an employee’s Usual Style
- What knowledge and effort we put into developing the brain muscle and coping mechanisms to avoid succumbing to this Reactive Style and remain in our Usual Style.
Our application of The Birkman Method and its associated Engagement Framework creates a mechanism for more effective communication and interpersonal interactions
This is possible as The Birkman Method provides tangible and objective insights for individuals about their “rules of engagement” and how these relate to those of others.
Maximizing Employee Potential
Developing an individual’s performance improvement plan which highlights their power to choose more effective behaviour within the framework of their role and cultural environment provides a foundation for maximizing employee potential.
Further, work directed at understanding what triggers an individual’s Reactive Style and how to develop coping mechanisms will optimize employee potential and overall group performance.
Peter Evans is a leaning partner with Birkman International and has over 16 years’ experience using the Birkman Method to improve organizational effectiveness. Peter is based in Melbourne Australia, and works with organizations both nationally and internationally and can be reached via Contact Us.