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How well do you Performance Manage your Team?

How well do you Performance Manage your Team?

For those of us, fortunate enough to have worked under great managers early in our career, we rarely forget them and aspire towards their management attributes as we progress within our careers. I recall a conversation not too long ago with members of the team in which we discussed the ‘best managers’ for whom we’d worked and one colleague in particular was adamant that all her management skills were learnt from the manager that she held in such high esteem. She remained connected with him and would often approach him if in need of management advice or mentoring. As such, he continued to play a strong mentoring role, even after she'd moved into a new industry. 

With an excellent approach to performance management, management positions enable us to really make a difference to an individual and to become the person that positively influences and shapes the development of team members as they progress within the organisation.

If you are new to managing a team, then be sure to get as much support as you can as your ability to performance manage will undoubtedly shape your management success.  Clearly a comprehensive performance management training course provides a great foundation for success in this area, but we've prepared some key considerations for those of you who may be more time limited:

Ensure you fully understand the roles of your team members. 

Where necessary, take the time to sit with your reports and shadow them as they do their role.  Understand the challenges of their roles, the barriers that may impact them being able to do what they need to do, the tools they use, the way in which their role is integrated with other roles across the organisation and also the success measures of their roles.  Why has the organisation invested in these roles?  What must these roles absolutely deliver in order for them to be of value?

Understanding your reporting team members' roles in detail will ensure your discussions are productive and give them the confidence that you have the understanding needed to guide and direct them in respect to their performance. 

If not already mapped, then map out Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your team members.

KPIs are the key objectives of the role and should enable you (as the Manager) to ensure that the goals of your team members feed into the organisational goals, to determine the extent to which the role is performing effectively, to understand and intervene where the role isn't performing as needed and to form the basis of role related decisions. 

It's very difficult to have performance related discussions in the absence of articulated performance measures. 

Since poor communication can often underlie performance issues, then be sure that all your team members understands their KPIs.

It's fair to say that poor performance is often due to the poor articulation of role goals and KPIS - making management just as responsible for any performance issues. It's impossible for an individual to perform effectively in a role when their duties, purpose and responsibilities haven't been fully communication to them.

Confront performance issues immediately - don't let them fester. 

If at any time it becomes apparent that one of your team members is having a difficult time with their role then speak to them immediately.  Performance often becomes an issue if managers leave the individual to it and hope they will find their feet.  Again, prevention of an issue is certainly easier for you and healthier for the self-confidence of the employee concerned if potential problems are averted. 

Also look at your own responsibilities; is there anything that you could have done better / differently as a Manager to prevent this situation? 

Don't Assume - Listen!

If discussing performance with any of your team then always ensure that the discussion is as open as possible. It should always be the individual and not you that dominates the conversation.  Failure to listen and failure to facilitate an open discussion will undoubtedly result in the core issues remaining undetected.  The issues are not always what you might assume they are as a Manager, do don’t attend the meeting thinking that you have all the answers.

During this discussion, you should aim to understand where the challenge falls in their working cycle. 

On this basis, why are the challenges there?  Is it an issue with training?  Is it an issue with communication (perhaps the needs of the role have not been sufficiently clarified with the individual)? Does the employee lack the tools or materials essential to do their job properly?  Perhaps these tools or materials are not fit for purpose?  Do they need to be further developed / amended? Are other team members inadvertently making the role of this individual more difficult than it need be by not fulfilling their own role adequately? Is the individual managing their time properly?  Could they benefit from time management training?Undoubtedly, this conversation (coupled perhaps with additional shadowing of their role for a defined period) will throw light on the issues which need to be addressed.

Discuss your findings with the individual and ensure that they are in full agreement with both the issues and your suggested solutions

Can the individual further add to the solutions?  Is anything missing?

Create a shared document with the individual and outline each issue clearly. 

Add the activities which need to happen in order to correct the issue. Take a keen interest in the individual's progress and check in regularly to see how things are going. 

It is most likely that the activities outlined above will go a long way to addressing the situation; winning the respect of your team member and the preservation of their dignity and self-confidence.

Where these actions do not correct the situation despite considerable attention to the situation, support and development opportunities,  it may be necessary to implement the formal disciplinary processes of your organisation. It is a legal obligation in the UK that companies have formal disciplinary processes in place and that these are followed as required. 

If you could benefit from comprehensive Performance Management Training, then contact us. We partner with business across the South West to deliver Business and Management related training courses across Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Wiltshire.   

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