Last week I wrote about the importance of a competency based leadership development plan and the impact that right leadership development program can have on employee engagement. As we quickly approach the end of the first fiscal quarter of the calendar year I began to think about what a driver of employee engagement regular, consistent and timely performance management discussions are.

I’ve been involved in three separate, noteworthy conversations regarding performance management and leadership development over the past couple of weeks, each of which has had a slightly different twist. In talking with my friend Jeanne Albert of fluid Human Resources, she noted that many front line leaders aren’t able to easily articulate what their direct reports are being measured against. My colleague Gary Brown from Censibus Strategies, referred to a consistent lack of organizational rigor when it comes to assessing the measurement criteria. Finally, Adam, a new manager I have been working with, was questioning his company's requirement for completing a quarterly performance management process.

Adam's employer conducts quarterly performance appraisals and he’s feeling the pressure to get them “out of the way”. Part of his concern is how he can add value to the process given that he is so new to the role of being a leader of others. His initial reaction was just to let them slide this time around so he could form his own opinions and deliver his feedback during the six month review.

As I look back over the course of my corporate career, there's no question that Jim Brown is the most inspiring leader that I had the privilege of working with. He was one of those people that you worked with and not for and as a result managed to get buy-in throughout the organization. He encouraged me to take on a leadership role and continued to be the source of motivation for me to be a better leader long after we went our separate ways. 

Jim's latest blog posting "Where is your leadership focus?" got me thinking about the state of leadership that exists in most organizations as well as the state of leadership readiness for our next generation of leaders. His focus as a leader created employee engagement...long before those words became part of the business lexicon. Leadership drives engagement just as surely as engagement drives results. How we can expect great results when current studies of employee engagement suggest that anywhere from 40% to 70% of the workforce are disengaged is crazy.

I was speaking with Collingwood, ON entrepreneur Judy Garbutt (the owner of High On Health Hemp Products) last week and congratulated her on passing her audition for CBC’s The Dragon’s Den. That’s where the story got interesting for me. Judy shared with me that she didn’t even know that the auditions were taking place and just happened to show up in the right place at the right time. Here I was thinking that she’d prepared for this important audition and nailed it only to find out that she walked in cold and literally flew by the seat of her pants to get herself in front of the Dragon’s. 

The sad thing is that I’m not alone. When I checked Google for “LinkedIn Stalker Problem”, I was incredibly surprised to get back 292,000 results. I’d like to applaud Anna Rihtar, a victim of stalking on LinkedIn and the creator of the Change.org petition that spurred the social network to finally take action by introducing a member blocking feature. You can read more about that by following this link…http://www.buzzfeed.com/charliewarzel/linkedin-tries-to-fix-its-stalker-problem.

I suspect that my story isn’t much different from many of the others you would hear about. After I decided to sever ties with an organization that I’d been involved with for almost 5 years I experienced a relentless campaign by the leader of the organization, his daughter and their IT specialist. Things escalated to include the Compliance Officer of the worldwide organization that this guy is a licensee of. I lost track of the number of times these people have been on my LinkedIn profile but I do joke that they visit my profile more often than I do.

I always figured that if this jerk was as focused on my profile as he was (to the point of obsession) then he must see me as strong competition. One of my former colleagues used to refer to the guy as Alfred E. Neuman so you know we’re not dealing with a rocket scientist. In the meanwhile, I’ve continued to focus on building my brand and my business. It’s a big world out there and opportunity abounds. Many others are not as fortunate to take the position on this that I have. To them I’d say keep the faith. You now have the ability to block these creeps from your profile and that’s going to be a huge relief for those that have been traumatized by the experience.

To those of you that have been stalking me on LinkedIn, I’d like to say get a life!