The Keys to Better Team Performance Management
The best performances always come from a well-managed team. It’s not an easy thing to get everyone engaged and working on a high-level day in and out, but that’s what the best managers do. If you feel like you’re struggling with your own performance management, don’t give up hope. There are many best practices to put into place to drastically improve every team interaction. Let’s take a look at some.
Clear Expectations and Goals
It’s an obvious thing to say, but undoubtedly more difficult to enact. People operate best when they know what they need to be doing. Good management acknowledges this and responds on a micro and macro level with clear milestones and benchmarks to measure progress toward an overarching goal.
If a team member is left adrift on what exactly they are responsible for, their productivity will take a nosedive. It can be a killer of motivation and personal confidence. On the other hand, if that team member is given a set of expectations and a clear sense of what they are working toward, there’s a much greater chance they will dive into that work with an incredible amount of energy.
Another piece of it is the tracking of those goals and of course the management of workflow. There are plenty of great tools and strategies out there to support your tracking efforts, but what it all comes back to is hands on management to keep everyone pushing toward their individual tasks.
In many ways, the communication piece of management is just an extension of expectations and goals. You can’t leave team members alone on an island to figure things out for themselves. If you’ve given them a new responsibility that they are just learning, be present to assist them every step of the way when and if they have any questions and concerns.
Don’t be overbearing and don’t set the false expectation that you can baby them through every step of the process. People often thrive when they are forced to go out on their own and figure out things for themselves. Your responsibility as a manager isn’t to hold their hand, but to be there in the case where they hit a roadblock that they can’t batter down on their own.
This loop of communication has to go both ways. Share your wisdom as a manager on how they can do a best kind of job, but also be there to listen when a team member is sharing their thoughts on the work they are doing. Sometimes the most progress on a problem is made when you simply vocalize it and talk through it with someone else. Be that ear to bounce ideas off of and you’ll see dividends for it.
Acknowledge and Help Overcome Challenges
A manager is really tested when things aren’t going as they should be. Whether it be a dip in motivation, a workload that outweighs a team member’s bandwidth, or another such complication; a manager needs to step in most when a team member just can’t carry that weight on their own.
Nothing is impossible and you need to be the voice to express that when a team member feels like they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Help them break the big goal down into manageable chunks, acknowledge the problems they are facing, and talk it through with them.
This part of the job is the hardest, especially when you’re put in a bind on how much you can alleviate the team’s workflow. Sometimes you do have to ask too much of your team and you don’t really have a choice in the matter. The best and really only thing to do in these times is to be as supportive and conscious as possible, but firm in your expectations. A big, impossible task can seem so much smaller when you know you’re not alone in achieving it.
Great managers know this. They make the people under them feel like they are part of something bigger—a team if you will. It’s going to take effort and a lot of time to cultivate that kind of respect and assurance, but it’s well worth every minute of it.