Managing performance is a fundamental task that every manager has to undertake to develop an effectively functioning team.
Managing individual and team performance includes a range of different activities such as developing goals, setting expectations, monitoring performance, providing feedback, implementing further training if necessary, and as a last resort taking the disciplinary route to improved performance.
Managing Performance of Individuals
The main benefits of managing employee performance are increased productivity, and subsequently, profitability.
Also, improved performance aids with increasing morale.
Because not addressing employee performance issues results in others becoming resentful. They will question what the point is doing a good job if their colleague is allowed to “get away with it”. This can lead to a slump in morale among others in the team.
Both the organisation and the individual benefit from leaders who can effectively manage performance.
Because these leaders know how their performance drives the success of the business.
Individuals have clarity on how they can meet the expectations of their manager.
With fair, constructive feedback, employees can continuously learn, improve and develop, and many workers find this to be motivational.
Causes of poor performance in the workplace can arise from a lack of sufficient training.
In these cases, the easy solution is to offer more training, ideally of a different kind that was provided previously and based on the employee’s learning preferences.
Sometimes problems can be caused by issues that the employee faces outside of the workplace.
For example, if an employee is going through a divorce then this may impact their ability to do their job effectively.
Performance issues may also arise as a result of a lack of understanding of the expectations of the manager or the organisation.
Whatever the cause, managing performance is an important factor in Managing People to raise the team’s overall productivity.
Managing Performance of the Whole Team
An underlying principle of managing high-performing teams is that everyone in the team continually learns and improves what they do.
Managers may often choose to avoid discussions related to performance because they are uncomfortable.
However, it is only through managing performance that overall team performance will improve.
When determining the cause of poor performance, managers should consider any workplace factors that may be causing the person to perform poorly.
Tips for Managing Performance
Setting clear goals at the outset forms an essential component of managing performance.
Goals should be S.M.A.R.T – that is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and with a Time-frame.
If goals are not SMART then employees will become disheartened, and maybe even give up, leading to performance issues.
Managing team performance also requires setting clear expectations.
The manager should do this at the employee’s induction, and repeated if it becomes apparent that the expectations were not clear enough at the outset.
Expectations should be set regarding work standards but also relating to policies such as absenteeism, lunch breaks, going to appointments, workplace dress and demeanour so that everyone understands the requirements.
Managing the performance of individuals can be achieved through coaching.
Many employees learn effectively through reflection and establishing new strategies for dealing with a problem the next time it is faced.
Effective Coaching uses the Kolb Learning Cycle where individuals have a concrete experience. Then they reflect on this and conceptualise it, and put new ideas into effect the next time they have to do the task.
Managers can improve performance by asking probing questions such as, “Do you think, on reflection, that this was the best way to achieve the desired result?” or even better, “How do you think you could have done this more efficiently to achieve the same outcome?”
These types of questions encourage a different way of thinking about work activities and result in improving performance through stimulating reflection.
In some cases, further training will improve performance, and in other cases, if improvement does not occur, a disciplinary process may have to be initiated.
Managing performance is not always easy, but it can be gratifying for the manager, on both a personal and a professional level.
Managers usually appreciate observing their employees develop and improve based on their efforts. At the same time, the organisation favourably views the manager who improves performance since the team is more productive and achieving desired results.
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