Three ways to catapult performance management

Performance Management

In this post we will provide a definition for Performance Management and guidance as to how to ensure it is used effectively.

 What is Performance Management?

“A process which contributes to the effective management of individuals and teams in order to achieve high levels of organisational performance. As such it establishes a shared understanding about what is to be achieved and an approach to leading and developing people that will ensure it is achieved”

Performance management courses in London
Three ways to ensure effective performance
Three ways to ensure Performance Management is effective:

Ensure your performance management system is aligned to the business strategy.

In measuring employee performance, its important that any individual objectives be aligned to those of the business. We need to feel that we’re making a useful contribution. We can do this by making a clear link between performance and the success of the business.

Everyone has a part to play in making performance management a valuable component of the businesses success.

Firstly there are the Organisational Responsibilities:
  • Ensure a culture of performance management can flourish. Encourage feedback across all employee levels and celebrate business, team and individual success.
  • Make certain that performance management conversations at all levels are a priority.
  • Use storytelling as a method for sharing performance management success. Role modelling, particularly by those at the very top of an organisation, sets the tone for sustainable success.
  • Keep employee remuneration conversations separate from the performance management. They dilute the actual ‘performance’ aspects of the discussion and risk any meaningful feedback being lost in a battle over money.
Then there is the Line Manager Responsibilities:
  • Work with employees to agree SMART objectives that contribute towards delivery of the overall business strategy.
  • Use any rating systems fairly and consistently.
  • Effectively differentiate performance using evidenced examples.
  • Commit to regular ‘great’ conversations with employees that are both formal and informal in nature.
  • Translate feedback into action through clear development plans which then form the basis for ongoing conversations with your employee.
And finally the Employees’ Responsibilities:
  • Work with your line manager to agree SMART objectives that contribute towards delivery of the overall business strategy.
  • Rate your performance, based on your overall contribution, honestly and consistently.
  • Provide examples of how your performance has differentiated you from your peers using evidenced examples.
  • Take responsibility for contributing fully to a great conversation with your line manager around your overall performance.
  • Take feedback in the right way and translate into action by agreeing clear development plans.
Focus on the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’

If performance management is to be effective it needs to make a sustainable contribution to business productivity. To achieve this it is critical that the behaviours an individual displays when completing a set objective are equally as important as the delivery itself.

Behaviour, in relation to performance management, can be defined as:
  • How a person conducts themselves in a role
  • The action or reaction of someone under specific circumstances
  • Observable activity

Performance management is often criticized by organisations and employees alike. In a culture where great conversations flourish however, it can have a significant impact on things like productivity and retention.


















An Introduction to Management

What is Management?

As you might expect a simple Google search brings up many definitions to help answer the question, ‘What is Management?’. For the purposes of this post, we’re going to focus on the one below. It’s a good one and one of the most widely quoted.

Management is the art of getting things done through and with people in formally organised groups”

Harold Koontz (Organisational Theorist and former Professor of Business Management at the University of California).

What are some of the key skills a manager must have?

Effective communication skills.

Pay attention to the words you choose, the tone of voice you use and the body language you express. The picture below shows the power of body language when we are seeking to communicate with others.

It’s also critical to remember a golden rule of effective communication. It’s not communication if it’s not a two-way process. Check that whoever your message was intended for has listened and understood.

The ability to develop and lead a team

A good manager leads and develops their team so all can be more productive which will ultimately lead to increased profitability for the business.

As you’d expect there many models, theories and instruction manuals on how to do this but we’ve always found John Adair’s Action Centred Leadership Model to be a good way of simplifying manager responsibilities in this area.

To be able to lead meetings effectively

There are some simple steps managers can take when preparing for, and leading meetings:

  • Ensure that the objective of the meeting is clearly communicated beforehand
  • Provide a clear agenda to all meeting participants
  • At the beginning of the meeting agree on any ground rules, rules of engagement etc
  • Use ‘effective communication’ to ensure all meeting participants can contribute fully
  • Follow up on any agreed actions in a timely manner once the meeting has been completed
To be able to handle difficult situations

All managers will be faced with a difficult situation on occasion. What’s important is how they deal with them:

  • Don’t avoid the situation however tempting that might be
  • If possible, give yourself time to gather thoughts, facts etc. before confronting the situation
  • Don’t lose focus on what you want to achieve by handling your difficult situation. Always keep the end in mind
  • Listen, ask lots of questions, clarify your understanding, articulate your feelings, decisions etc. clearly and concisely (effective communication)
  • Follow up on the situation later to ensure no residual difficulties remain
Self- Management

Self-management is one of the domains of emotional intelligence. Also known as discipline. This involves controlling or redirecting our disruptive emotions and adapting to change circumstances in order to keep relationships moving forward positively.

To be future-focused
  • Whatever we do as managers, it’s vital that we remain focused on where the business is heading and how we can ensure our team are able to help it to get there
  • Communicate and reinforce the business strategy regularly
  • Ensure team and individual objectives are aligned to the business strategy
  • Think about how you and your team can continuously seek out opportunities for development in order to increase contribution to business performance including profitability

This video gives some more detail around management in a business environment.