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Managing Performance & Developing People

Management should be very simple – you set clear expectations of what you want other people to do and you monitor their performance to make sure they’re doing things correctly. Then you let them know how well they’re doing and help them when they need it.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t actually happen very often. It’s surprising how many managers are really poor at:

  1. establishing clear expectations in the form of goals and acceptable standards of performance
  2. giving feedback on how well people are doing and
  3. developing the people who work for them so they can achieve higher levels of performance.

In many organisations, managing performance is left to formal appraisals or reviews which take place once a year ( if that ). Otherwise, people are pretty well left in the dark about how well they’re doing.

Many managers avoid giving feedback because, if people are doing well, they don’t think it’s needed and, if they’re not doing well, they don’t know how to tackle the issue. So they either avoid it or they launch into a very blunt critique of the other person’s abilities – and then they wonder why the person reacts by being defensive, angry or confrontational.

People need to develop skills, knowledge and the right attitude in order to be effective and it is the role of a manager to help them do this. An effective manager needs to be able to delegate, to brief, to coach and mentor, to spot training needs and take appropriate action to deal with these.

Some common problems you might see in this area are:

  • Managers don’t set clear objectives for performance or agree goals with staff - so people aren’t clear what’s expected of them or what constitutes an acceptable standard of work, they don’t carry out the right tasks or to the right level
  • Managers don’t give feedback regularly or skilfully - so people don’t know how they’re performing, they lack motivation and don’t work to a high level, they do not react well to feedback when it is eventually given, there is conflict and resentment and poor working relationships, formal appraisals occur infrequently, no-one want to take part in them and they do not achieve the desired results
  • Managers do not delegate work enough, or well - so their staff do not develop the skills and experience they need, work is done at the wrong level and people are demotivated
  • Managers don’t see their role as being to develop people or they are not skilled in doing this - so staff go without adequate training and development, they cannot improve their performance levels, they lack motivation and struggle with tasks which they should be able to do
  • Managers have a very directive style and do not use coaching to develop people who work for them - so people do not learn to work on their own initiative, they depend on the manager for answers, tasks take longer and the manager must spend time reviewing work and answering questions
  • Performance issues are not addressed early on and are left until they become critical - so underperforming staff are not dealt with quickly enough and work continues to be carried out at an unacceptable level, conflict occurs when the issue is finally raised, meanwhile there is friction in the team because others see the issue is not being dealt with

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How To Give Feedback

Solutions in this are might focus on:

  • Performance management
  • How to carry out successful performance appraisals and reviews
  • Delegation skills
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Leading high performance teams
  • Training for trainers

For more details of training courses I can offer in these areas, go to Management & Leadership Training

Some of the benefits of working with me would be:

  • Managers set clear expectations about roles and levels of performance – so people are clear about what they need to do and the level they must work to
  • Managers give timely and effective feedback and deal with performance issues as they arise – so staff know how well they are doing and where they might need to improve, performance levels are high and people are motivated and get more job satisfaction
  • Managers can carry out effective performance reviews and appraisals, both formally and informally
  • Managers delegate appropriately and skilfully – so work is done at the right level and staff develop the skills and knowledge they need
  • Managers understand the role they play in developing individuals and teams and can use a range of methods to do this, including  – so staff are skilled, motivated, work together without conflict and have high morale and commitment, they can work independently and without excessive reliance on the manager to guide them

 For more information about how to manage performance, look at the articles in this category in the Management Tips Blog

For more details of training courses I can offer in these areas, go to Management & Leadership Training

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