Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Art and Science of Managing Performance

Managing the performance of your team is always one of the most taxing aspects of being a manager.

Although an organisation may have a swish-looking system in place, with processes to follow and forms to fill in, many people still find the actual face to face situation difficult to handle.

This isn't surprising as it places the manager in the position of judge and jury over the people they have to work with every day for the rest of the year.  It is only natural to feel uncomfortable, especially if there are areas of performance where improvements are needed.

The most dreaded part of performance management, of course, is the annual appraisal.  There are a number of different methods of carrying out an appraisal (for example, see this post by HR Daily for a discussion of rating scales and 360 vs 720 degree reviews).

The best way to mitigate the gut-clenching awfulness of the annual appraisal meeting is to avoid making it the only, once-a-year, element of your performance management.  If you carry out quarterly reviews with each person who reports to you, have regular 1-1 meetings, and above all give informal feedback (positive or negative) on a daily basis as situations arise, then the annual meeting will meld into the regular round of feedback. 

Apart from pulling the teeth from the dreaded annual appraisal, a more regular system of feedback, praise, and constructive criticism throughout the year is more likely to be motivating for your team and to lead to improved performance.  On the other hand, an annual appraisal form that sits in a draw until it needs to be reviewed ready for the next annual meeting isn't a very effective method!

Being a manager means developing a think skin; saying brightly 'let's check over your performance objectives and see where we're up to', in the face of grimaces and rolled-eyes, can be difficult.  It's tempting to just avoid the situation; everyone is busy, it's easy to find other things to do!  Time flies by like this and suddenly it's annual appraisal time again and that form has been in the drawer all year, again.

As the manager it is your role to grit your teeth, put times in the diary for 1-1's and quarterly reviews, and either praise your team members for achieving their goals or work with them to help reach those that have slipped.

No comments:

Post a Comment