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Counseling helps employees grow and develop in the organization. In fact, every manager knowingly or unknowingly counsels his employees in his day-to-day work-life. The counselor is one who helps his team become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses. He helps them grow and further improve on their strong points and overcome their weaknesses. There should be mutual understanding that provides a stable emotional climate. Mutuality at work helps develop future plans of action for employee growth and contribution.
Employees must support the counseling process. The manager must also accept each employee's strengths and weaknesses. The process requires certain interpersonal skills which can be acquired easily if the manager is genuinely interested in developing his team. Annual performance reviews provide opportunities for formal counseling.
Nowadays, managers do not find time for counseling and to conduct proper performance analysis. Due to technology and automation, the process tends to lack the human touch. Employers use a sophisticated performance management (PM) system as a software tool – the matter becomes routine methodology and looks like paper exercise. It is ridiculous to implement a PM system 100% using software.
The counseling process is considered the climax in the PM system. It has three phases: rapport building, exploration and action planning. The boss must attempt to establish a climate of acceptance, warmth, support, openness and mutuality. He must understand the team and their feelings. He can do this by reviewing employees' work, listening to job complexities and clearly communicating his understanding to the employees. He must also express empathy and genuine interest in them.
In the exploration phase, the boss helps the team understand problems better. In the action planning stage, the boss and the employee jointly work out specific action plans for the development of the latter to enable better performance. Does a computer able to achieve that?
• Counseling helps employees improve on their strong points
• It involves rapport building, exploration and action planning
• Annual performance reviews provide counseling opportunities
Read on how empowerment creates efficient employees
Source: Dr. Pon Mohaideen Pitchai, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is a Dubai-based HR and Management Consultant