Three Questions for Performance Management

Ask any manager about their least favorite tasks, and more than likely they’ll put performance evaluations at or near the top of the list.

Why? Lots of reasons, not the least of which is the assumption that you need to find something deficient in each staff member and come up with a brilliant idea for fixing it, thereby improving performance. All too often, you’re going to find something that the person thinks they are doing very well (and they may be right), or something they have no interest in doing better. At worst, you’re expected to assign tasks or reassign job responsibilities to develop one person’s undesired something, which may well be a task or a job that someone else on your team really enjoys doing!

Here’s an even better approach. Just ask these three questions:

  • Are you doing enough of what you like?
  • Are you doing too much of what you don’t like?
  • What can we do to change these things and make them better?

If someone isn’t doing enough of what they really like, they are probably:

(a) in the wrong job,

(b) looking for another job,

(c) not very productive, or

(d) all of the above!

If someone on your team is doing too much of what they don’t like, the problem may not reside in the individual, but rather, in the team. The good news is you can change that and make the team work better for everyone.

First, figure out what needs to be done, then compare who you have with what you need. Figure out which person is most likely to achieve each need, and confirm with people that they have the right equipment – and teammates – to do their job well.

If the whole point of performance evaluation is to improve performance, why wouldn’t you want to change the things that matter?

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