Performance Management: More Action, Fewer Excuses Means a Better Bottom Line
“It is an immutable law in business that words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises but only performance is reality.”
–Harold S. Geneen
If you’ve ever managed a single person, then you know that employees make excuses. They procrastinate, miss deadlines and blame others when they fail.
So how do you get them to consistently perform to the best of their abilities?
Use these smart suggestions to get better results – and fewer excuses – from your staff every day:
Make performance management a daily activity. Annual and quarterly reviews definitely play their part in gauging performance, but nothing replaces the day-to-day guidance you give to your staff. So talk to them regularly, leveraging every opportunity to improve employee’s efforts:
- give them honest feedback about what they’re doing right – and what they need to improve;
- discuss new projects and the opportunities they present for employee development and growth;
- talk about overdue assignments or project difficulties and how to resolve them;
- reinforce the importance of consistently doing a great job.
Limit excuses. Eliminate the external factors on which employees often blame their poor performance by:
- Ensuring employees have the resources they need to do their jobs;
- Ensuring employees are adequately trained to do their jobs;
- Setting clear, mutually agreed-upon performance expectations for each employee.
Ask the right questions when problems arise. Uncovering the cause of poor performance is the first step in creating a plan to remedy it. So when an employee is failing at work, ask the following types of questions to diagnose the reasons why:
- What about the work system (e.g., tools, time, training, support) is causing the employee to fail?
- Does the employee know exactly what you want him/her to do, as well as the expected outcome?
- Does the employee practice effective work management?
- Does the employee feel valued, recognized and fairly compensated for his/her contributions?
Make performance goals SMART goals. This goal-setting acronym is still widely used for one simple reason: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound goals are more likely to be achieved. So as you work with your employees to set higher standards for the next quarter or year, teach them how to create SMART performance goals that will get them there.
Create a “performance mentality” among team members. Football players won’t play their hardest in a game where nobody keeps score. Likewise, your employees won’t deliver superior results when they merely see themselves as “doing a job” everyday. Foster a “performance mentality” by showing your team why their efforts matter – and what’s at stake. Make sure employees understand your mission, how their jobs fit into the “big picture,” and what they need to do to help your company win.
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