How do we manage performance?
After knowing the factors that influence poor performance, the next thing we need to know is how to properly manage the performance of our team. The following four areas can be used as a checklist for you work out what you need to work on first.
- Clearly define the expectations.
- Being present.
- Recognition and reward.
Let’s take a look at defining the expectations clearly. This is by far the biggest issue that I have experienced in my consulting and coaching time. People simply don’t know what’s expected of them enough.
Have you clearly defined these expectations and is it more than just a KPI? It’s also more than what’s in a job description. This is about what you expect from your team in relation to your culture, behaviour and attitudes. Sometimes we skip over the biggest things because we just assume that the person knows things like coming to work on time, and taking breaks. But if you haven’t set those expectations, as simple as they seem, how can you call them out on it?
We must learn to stop assuming and start to set clear expectations in all areas of work.
The second on the checklist is communication. How do you both like to be communicated with? You’ll find the answer tot this question by observing others and the way they communicate. Do they pick up the phone and chat, or do they send an email? Are they quite formal or casual? Which ones do you prefer?
By understanding the differences in communication styles, you can already see the best way to manage someone’s performance, and to clearly communicate with them.
The third is being present and consistently checking in. This is a big one, and it actually can work against you, depending on the person that you’re checking in with. If you don’t consistently check in with someone and make it a regular occurrence, then chances are, you’re going to go three months, and you haven’t had a conversation about performance. If you get on top of it as it happens, then you can stop it from escalating. Your focus during these conversations should be around helping, removing obstacles and serving them so they can get the job done.
However, be warned, for the wrong person, this can come across as micromanaging. So the lesson is to know your people, how they like to be managed, and communicated with.
The last one is recognition and rewards. It’s really a sliding slope to performance management if somebody only ever gets told what they’re doing wrong, and they never get told what they’re doing right – even for the small things.
This is the art of giving feedback, making sure it’s clear, it’s specific and more positive than negative. It also doesn’t have to be in a formal meeting, it can be simply walking past someone and saying “I heard you on the phone just now talking to that customer. And I want to say that was really awesome. You were polite, friendly and gave them the answers to all of their questions, and you checked in to make sure there was nothing else at the end”. It can be as simple as that. I also used to leave notes for my team, telling them one thing that I appreciate about them. It’s personal to each of them, and it’s meaningful. That meant more to them than the extrinsic rewards offered by the company (which are also good to use on combination).
How have these 4 pillars of managing performance helped you? Would you add anything else here? Comment below!