“High-productivity groups (high-achievement work groups) have leaders who are successful in fostering and maintaining in their group member’s enthusiasm and motivation for reaching productivity goals which the organization considers necessary to meet its needs.”
As their organization’s representatives, effective leaders must perform functions that will result in a level of productivity that feels fair or equitable to top management, but not unfair or inequitable to the group members. Whatever these leader functions (behaviors) are—and this is a critical point—they are quite different from “human relations” functions or “person-centered behaviors” that make group members feel good: empathic listening, sending non-blaming I-Messages, encouraging participation in decision-making, reducing status differentials, fostering group cohesion, showing consideration for group member’s needs, being non-punitive, and so on.
So treating people decently, seeing that their needs are met, and removing sources of dissatisfaction will not in themselves suffice to bring about high productivity and high achievement. Something else is needed— “skills to meet the organization’s needs.” Effective leaders are “task specialists” as well as “human relations” specialists.
High-achievement groups have leaders who somehow get across to group members the expectations of the organization about the needed level of productivity. The manner in which leaders develop and communicate their productivity expectations will determine whether they are accepted by the work group.
Here is where human relations skills play such a critical part. If productivity goals are developed unilaterally by the leader with no chance for group participation, or if the leader doesn’t listen to their feelings or ideas, or if the leader is punitive when group members have difficulty meeting productivity goals—workers are likely to feel an imbalance exists in the cost/benefit ratio and that they are being exploited in an inequitable relationship.
On the other hand, if group members are convinced that the organization is genuinely concerned about their needs and treats people with respect, they are less likely to believe that the organization would make unfair demands on them.
In addition to this feeling of trust, group members also need reliable, accurate performance evaluations and the assurance that their performance will be rewarded by tangible benefits. This is why leaders need an effective system for evaluating work performance in their efforts to meet the productivity goals of the organization.
For more information on Dr. Gordon’s Periodic Performance Review, please see Chapter 11 in his L.E.T. (Leader Effectiveness Training) book.