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  • Performance Management: What’s Your Role as a Manager?

    What does your organization want to accomplish?

    What will it take to achieve your goals?

    Who needs to do what to make those goals happen.. and by when?

    Performance management, as defined by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the “systematic process by which an agency involves its employees, as individuals and members of a group, in improving organizational effectiveness in the accomplishment of agency mission and goals.”

    In other words, the performance management process seeks to answer those initial questions we posed.

    And, as you can imagine, meeting organizational goals takes a great deal of coordination and teamwork to keep everyone on track. It also follows that each and every manager has a great deal of responsibility in terms of keeping his team moving in the right direction towards their objectives.

    What do managers need to do in order to be most effective at performance management?

    According to Wayne Cascio, professor at the University of Colorado, there are five things that a manager can do that will set everyone up for success:

    • Clearly Define Expectations: Are the goals specific enough so that everyone can understand what needs to be done? Have KPI’s been determined? Has a scorecard been developed so that progress toward goals can be seen easily in a visual format? One of the leading complaints of disengaged workers is that they are uncertain what their boss expects from them. You may know what you expect of them, but are you sure that they know? There should be no question in anyone’s minds regarding the work that needs to be done.
    • Facilitate Performance: I have to quote Cascio directly on this because his wording is absolutely perfect, and I agree 100%. “One of your major responsibilities as a manager is to eliminate roadblocks that get in the way of successful performance.” One of the most frustrating things in the world, as an employee, is to want to do your job and not receive the support you need from your manager to remove the obstacles that get in your way. If your employee is experiencing inefficiencies due to bureaucracy, a lack of tools, or approval delay — get involved. Not only will you help facilitate your employees’ performance on their current tasks, but you’ll also gain their lasting respect and loyalty.
    • Provide Adequate Resources: Along the same lines as the above… are you providing the money, equipment, and adequate staff to get the job done? Cascio says, “If employees lack the tools to reach their goals, they’ll become frustrated and disenchanted.” Conversely, they will appreciate when you provide what they need to perform well.
    • Carefully Select Employees: It’s the old “right people in the right seats” concept. Effective performance and teamwork depend on having the right people there to start with. Before hiring new employees, take the time to write clear and accurate job descriptions and determine the skills and temperament needed to do the job well.
    • Encourage Performance: Performance management is not a yearly or one-and-done thing. It must be part of the manager’s daily consciousness. Timely feedback is critical, then. Provide positive feedback in a timely manner, and be quick to hit the reset button if performance is going off-track.  According to Josh Bersin of Deloitte (who knows a thing or two about these things!), in his article Yes, Feedback is the Killer App, “building a feedback-rich culture is a tremendously important task, and it impacts teams, organizations, customers, and the whole company.”

    For your employees to do their part in achieving goals, you – as a manager – need to do your part. Follow these five steps and lead your teams to success!