Managing poor performance - difficult conversations

What is Performance Management?

Managing the performance of the team should be a cross organisation approach, that is integrated to help the business meet the key aims and objectives.

What Is Performance Management?

The performance management aspect is the monitoring and support of individuals so they can improve performance, the department performance, and the company performance.  

Responsibility for monitoring and then supporting team performance is the role of the manager.

Most businesses will have a system to agree targets and objectives, therefore enables managers to measure and review performance.

This would usually start with the HR processes. It may be an annual appraisal, in more recent times many businesses have switched to twice yearly reviews or appraisals.
It is really important, that a manager helps an individual team member to understand the performance management process, so that they can contribute positively to aid any performance improvements, and achievement of aims and objectives towards the wider organisational goals.

So What Is Performance Management System?

A performance management system would include agreed targets and objectives to enable managers to measure, monitor and review performance.
This provides clarity on the contribution that the individual is making towards the achievement of the business goals.
If there are gaps, then managers and the team member can work to narrow any gaps in achievement and performance.

To be effective a performance review. Whether yearly, twice yearly, quarterly, or monthly it should be conducted in line with the organisation’s overall strategic plan.
This ensures that the team or individual is working towards the common business goals.

What does good, look like?

Good and effective performance management should always include:

  • Elements that you pre-plan – E.g. annual, twice yearly etc.
  • Regular reviews, either informal or formal.
  • Feedback for individuals, teams, and the organisation via 360-degree feedback.
  • A shared process between manager and employee.
  • Agreement of clear, challenging yet achievable targets.
  • Support and developmental opportunities.
  • Monitoring, reviewing, and renewing of goals.
  • Celebration of success, and accountability for improvements.

Tips to avoid:

  • Providing un-achievable targets. You should build target steps that support a larger objective.
  • Being un-flexible, rigid, or dictating goal setting. It is important to gain buy-in.
  • Expecting a quick fix.
  • Surprising employees about poor performance. Issues need to be addressed early.
  • Neglecting soft skill development. E.g. building relationships and giving feedback.

#  8 tips to help managers performance manage their team

  • Align individual targets with the organisation or department strategy.
  • Set standards and measures to indicate the progress of the target – ensure they are SMART.
  • Have a clear evaluation methods on performance, to ensure clarity and transparency.
  • Build performance appraisals into your business cycle.
  • Communicate clearly about performance management. Do not be ambiguous.
  • Monitor and review performance at regular intervals.
  • Do not surprise employees, poor performance needs addressing, do not delay it and tackle it early.
  • Give effective, clear and suitable feedback.

Tracy-Anne is the ‘Manager’s Mentor’ and has over 30 years’ experience managing small and large teams in both the public and private sectors.

She owns and runs TA Barker Associates, a training and consultancy business.  Tracy specialising in Coaching, Mentoring & Training for Executives, New Managers, Supervisors and Team Leaders and Corporate Social Responsibility.

If have a question about performance management or how you can support the managers in your business, I would love to have a virtual cuppa with you. Please get in touch and book a virtual cuppa, we would love to hear from you


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