Listening to managers at the recent Sales Conference in Coventry, I was struck by how many suffer from poor performance by their team members. This can be demotivating and frustrating for all concerned, so I’ve listed 10 ways that you can get better performance, not only from your team, but also yourself.
1) Set Expectations
One of the most significant blocks to effective performance is a lack of clarity about ‘what is expected of me’. It is crucial to check understandings and challenge assumptions about roles, objectives, responsibilities and standards.
2) Understand how you need to approach them
Different members of your team will respond to different approaches. Consequently, in order to get the best out of everyone you will need to take a different approach with different people.
3) Continuous Approval
Let people know that you approve of the direction they take when they make decisions. If you have to correct someone, make sure you help them understand it’s the behaviour you are critical of, not the person. That leads onto…
4) Emphasise the Good Points
To get the best from your team, maximise the use of praise and positive reinforcement – catch them doing something right. Focus on what you want your team members to achieve rather than what you don’t want them to do.
5) Offer Support while Challenging Them
Ensure that you provide an appropriate level of challenge and support for each member of your team. Underperformers often report being too stressed – i.e. too much challenge or not enough support, or they are too bored – i.e. too much support and not enough challenge.
6) How we keep them Involved
Maximise the involvement of your team members in all aspects of managing their performance. This is particularly important in objective/ target-setting, monitoring their own level of performance, creating their own measures of performance and giving each other feedback.
7) Maintain High Visibility
Wherever and whenever possible, create visible and visual records of targets and progress towards them. This will retain focus on team members’ achievements.
8 ) Create Quality Feedback
This is the principle tool used every day by successful performance managers. Take advantage of every opportunity informally (and occasionally even formally) to give feedback to your team members as to how they are doing. Remember the first rule of performance management – no surprises!
9) Celebrate the Successes
Find ways to celebrate individual and team successes. Milestones towards a longer-term goal could provide a means of doing this (e.g. monthly/quarterly targets as well as for individual events). Ensure that the reward is proportionate to the achievement.
10) Maintain Simplicity
Use simple processes that everyone will understand, simple measures that are clear to all, simple language when giving feedback, simple pictures to illustrate performance against targets. Simplicity breeds clarity.
Pretty simple, eh? Yea, up to a point. But if you don’t continually and consistently keep these principles to the fore, you run the risk of demotivating the team and decreasing their performance.