Regular performance reviews are beneficial
An excellent way to reduce unwanted surprises as a manager is to be on top of the performance level of each member of your team. How can you do this along with all your other responsibilities? One of the most effective ways I found to achieve this was to commit to regular performance reviews with each person in my team. These dates would be agreed with each individual regardless of the method of feedback you have for your team. By making a commitment to these key review meetings you will benefit in five different ways.
1. It reduces the number of ‘unwanted’ surprises
By holding regular meetings with each individual on my team I became better informed on how well they were performing. This was both in the attainment of their goal or task, as well as, the manner in which they performed the latter.
Like me, you may find that some individuals perform well in terms of attaining their goals or completing tasks. But the fallout that often occurs from how they do this is damaging to overall achievement.
By regularly meeting with each team member in private and for the specific purpose of reviewing their performance I became aware of or could foresee certain problems. This gave me the opportunity to work with the individual to overcome such problems or take preventative action. This is preferable than having to take over and direct performance.
2. Resolutions can be found that develop competencies
The resolutions to these anticipated problems provided an opportunity to use the experience to develop a specific competency within the individual. I was often able to bring in another member of my team who had experienced a similar problem to guide and coach that individual developing them too.
It also gave me an opportunity to amend or create processes that we identified as the underlying cause of the issue. This ability to actively improve operational methods could also be passed onto other teams with the organisation.
3. Regularly gather performance data & record observations
When I first became a manager I have to confess that gathering the necessary evidence to support my appraisal of an individual’s performance was perfunctory at best!
I disciplined myself to set up regular review meetings that could not be cancelled. I was able to observe and record at regular intervals how each person was performing. Before each meeting, I would prepare the situations I had observed. The note the ones I wished to discuss with that individual to see how they felt about it.
I devised my own checklist for gathering performance data. This ensured I had a variety of sources to support my annual statement. I no longer rely on my memory or subjective impressions that you may have developed. This made my annual task of assessing their performance but more structured and evidenced based.
4. Promote mutual rapport between you & team members
These meetings provided me with an opportunity to understand each individual better in terms of their potential and abilities. The privacy and openness of each meeting created a stronger rapport than I had previously experienced with a team.
The feedback became two-way. It was almost like a one-to-one 360O evaluation of each others performance. Listening to their frustrations and viewpoints enabled me to have a more objective understanding of circumstances. It also prepared me for how I would act.
It gave me the opportunity to support that individual in overcoming these frustrations and the ability to demonstrate my support of their views, even if there was nothing I could do to help. Having a problem acknowledged as real and being supported in dealing with it was excellent for their self-esteem and motivation.
5. Better prepared for appraisal meeting
One of the most significant advantages I found from holding the regular reviews was the decrease in my annual appraisal workload. It also had the added benefit of reducing everyone’s stress levels as there were no unexpected surprises on either side.
Take the first step towards achieving these benefits is by introducing regular performance reviews to your team. You need to decide on the frequency of your team reviews that best suits the nature of your team and its work.