Managing Team Member’s Performance : Basic Managerial Skills; V4 Issue 1

As a manager you are responsible for managing your team member’s performance towards achieving your organisation goals. You can contribute immensely to your organisation’s success by ensuring your team member’s successful performance. Managing your team member’s performance is not only about measuring his/her performance during the annual performance appraisal. It is also about creating a work environment in which people are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities.

Checklist for managing team member’s performance

Essential Actions

      Get the basics right: One simple reason why people sometimes fail to meet
      your expectations is that they don’t know what they are expected to deliver
      on. Developing a clear Job Description will take care of this. Though more
      often than not we inherit teams, as far as possible select the right person
      for the job,
 to ensure the person’s success in that job. Provide him/her
      adequate induction and training required to succeed. Even if the person
      is moving to your team from another department, induction to the new job
      and team is important.


    Plan for performance: To manage performance it is important to set
    performance standards by setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, 
    Aspirational, Realistic, Time bound) goals. Get their buy-in for the assigned
    Goals instead of just handing out the goals so that you have his/her
    commitment for achieving them. Ensure the goals are aligned with the
    department and organisation goals.

The Performance Coach

 Provide on-going coaching and feedback: This is the most difficult and important component. You need to show him/her the ropes of the job, guiding him/her in the right direction. While providing regular and specific feedback that addresses both their strengths and weaknesses, focus more on building on the strengths. Instead of waiting for a performance appraisal provide feedback immediately after behaviour is observed.

Help them work through the blocks to output: The blocks could be different for different people at different times. It could be related to self, team, customer or organisation. Help your team members recognise them and tackle them.

Give wiggle room: While providing guidance take care that you are not breathing down their neck. Give them enough flexibility to exercise their creativity. Encourage new ideas from them. They should feel free to come to you and talk about anything that would contribute to their growth/company’s growth. Once ‘what need to be achieved’ part has been determined leave it to them to figure out the ‘how to achieve it’ part, in alignment with organisation values.

 Recognise a job well done: A pat on the back will spur them on to continue doing well. Any kind of recognition be it in private or public can be a big motivator.

Conduct quarterly performance development discussions: Since frequent performance discussions are not threatening, hold monthly performance discussions. Follow a standard format for the meeting so that team members know what to expect. Always start with positives and get team members to do most of the talking. Ask them to state what they are pleased about since the last meeting and then what they feel they could have done better. Then ask what they feel they need to do differently in future. This way they will not get defensive about improvement areas. If they do not highlight a specific point bring it into the discussion by asking relevant questions. For example ask “How do you feel the negotiation went yesterday? How could you have helped it go smoother?” Get an agreement on action points and next set of goals.

The Supportive Manager

Extend the support necessary to deliver: Make sure all necessary work resources are made available. Step in to ensure there is timely support from the other teams. Help them understand who the key people in the organisation are whose support is required for an initiative to succeed etc. 

Help them see the big picture: Communicate with your team member often about the happenings in the industry, company etc. Send them regular updates on relevant issues. Help them appreciate the impact on their jobs of changes at the organisational level. Help them see how they are contributing to meeting of the organisation goals. Feeling that they are part of something bigger than their jobs will drive them to do better.

 Facilitate team member’s career development: Your goal is to achieve the company’ goals through your team. However, people don’t perform for meeting the organization’s goals, if their own personal goals are not accomplished as well. As a manager you are possibly the best person to help the individual attain his potential and meet his career aspirations. Identify his/her talents, encourage development of his/her skills and identify career development opportunities like job rotation, special assignments etc towards furthering his/her career within the organisation.

Be a caring boss: Create a relaxed, joyful and fun office environment. Be there for them when things go wrong and encourage them to learn from their mistakes. Be flexible. Suppose one of your team members who works extremely hard for you wants to come late one day so that he/she can attend his/her daughter's sports day. By all means, let him/her do this without having to worry about coming late! Genuinely caring for each of your team members will create a bond between you and them, a bond that will increase their commitment to doing a good job.