It’s no secret: being a manager has its challenges. People don’t always fulfil their potential in the same environment, or with the same method, and more often than not different team members exist on different timelines.
It can be hard to keep track of everything. But one thing that you need to track (as a leader) is performance. Without accurate measurements, projects can slip and quality can drop. So, how can you measure your team’s overall performance, when each member contributes different skills to different projects?
An essential part of measuring team member’s performance, particularly if it’s task-based, is whether or not they can finish the project on schedule. Before a project begins, there should be a plan in place with dated checkpoints to ensure that it can be completed fully and to a high standard in a timely manner. If you ask your team member where they’re up to, and progress doesn’t align with the original project plan, you need to ask some serious questions.
In most cases, there’s often a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why the project is running over, but this is something that definitely needs considering. On the other hand, it could be that the project is quite far ahead of target, and perhaps this is where you need to see if the team member is actual efficient or is the quality of the work suffering? Time is a commodity and, as a manager, you need to ensure that it’s being used effectively.
By its very nature, teamwork isn’t a solo sport. Everyone has to pull together to realise the overall vision and strategy. So, when looking at an individual’s performance, who better to ask than the people who work with them day in, day out. Peer reviews are a great way of getting insight into the inner workings of your team. Dynamics may indeed change as soon as a manager leaves the room, so asking for a consensus is the ideal way to get a full picture of what’s going on.
Ensure that everyone gets as chance to have their say on everyone. This way it’s open and honest and other team members won’t feel as if they’re being sneaky about their co-workers. Knowledge is power, so getting as much information as possible in order to successfully measure your team member’s performance is critical, and using the rest of the team is an invaluable, and cost-effective resource.
Presence as a metric might seem like a bit of an odd choice, but it encompasses a multitude of factors. Does the team member speak up in meetings? Are they engaging with the rest of the team at lunch? Are they researching additional training to help drive their career forward? In essence, are they making a visible effort to be the best possible team member that they can be? This can tell you a lot about a person and their commitment not only to their role, but to the company. If they’re integrating themselves successfully into the fabric of the department and making themselves indispensable, then the chances of them leaving the company anytime soon becomes a lot lower. Having a visible, positive presence at work is a great sign of someone who is engaged and committed to their future.
On the other hand, if the individual’s presence is a visibly negative one, for example talking down others ideas with no solutions of their own, or deliberately not interacting with other members of the team, this is an equally important sign. They say one bad apple can spoil the bunch, and a single negative presence can be massively damaging to team morale and performance. Keeping track of a team member’s positive or negative presence within the department is essential to ensure that the entire team stay on track.
This is probably one of the most traditional ways to measure an individual’s performance. Whether the customer is someone you’re selling to on the street, someone in a different department that you’re helping with a project, or a giant account that you’re managing, it doesn’t matter. Whoever your team member’s target is, you need to assess how they feel about your employee’s performance. Much like peer reviewing, these views are critical when trying to work out the success of a person’s performance. For example, a team member might not be the most vocal in the office, but when working with a customer, they might be the most attentive and accommodating advisor, who goes above and beyond. As a manager, it’s up to you to gain this insight and combine them to create a comprehensive evaluation of the individual’s performance.
Being a manager isn’t always easy, there are clashing personality types, people with different strengths and weaknesses, and customers constantly raising expectations. To ensure that your team can rise above and be successful, measuring their performance and progress is a must. From this you can find the gaps in their skill set, and continue to grow and improve your team’s abilities. Only through close monitoring will you motivate your team to be the best that they can be.