I am going to put you on the spot, take a look around at your team or group and answer this question; How are they performing right now? If you aren't leading a team, then ask yourself the same question. Whatever the answer you gave now answer this; How do you know?
These are probably two of the hardest questions for leaders and their teams to answer. Rarely do I go into a company and have anyone answer these questions well, or at all. More often than not I will ask people what they contribute to the company or team and I get a blank stare in return. Are all of these people adding nothing to the company? Of course not but the fact that they cannot clearly explain it points to a major gap in leadership and communication.
What Behaviors Do You Want?
I am going to save the discussion around kpi's and metrics for another time. Instead I want to focus on something that often gets over looked in performance management; behavior. If you thought about it could you list what five behaviors are most important to you as far as what you want from your team?
There is a meme that has circulated around LinkedIn in various forms and it basically goes as follows: Ten Things That Require Zero Talent, Be On Time, Have A Strong Work Ethic, Be Teachable, Be Prepared, Go The Extra Mile, Be Positive, Be Energetic, Be A Team Player, Have A Great Attitude, Be Aware. Not all of these are behaviors but all of them could be broken into behaviors that you could observe. Do you want your people coming in on time? What does a good work ethic look like to you? How do you determine what a good team player looks like?
The point is this, if you don't know what sorts of behavior you want from your team how will you recognize it when it happens? We can talk about metrics and kpi's which are what is produced but what behaviors are required to make those happen?
If You Don't Know What You Want Your Team Won't Either!
Here is an example - maybe you want to have a team that sets goals. What behavior would be required to make that happen, that you could observe? It could be anything from writing it down and posting it, to tracking it on a daily, hourly or moment by moment basis. When you see someone "doing" that then drive that behavior by acknowledging it. Or maybe you want your team to be the type of people that go the extra mile. Break that down into behaviors that you can observe such as someone completing a task and seeking out direction for the next task instead of waiting for someone to tell them. It could be that staff member who works a bit late to complete a client request rather than let it linger to the next day.
Until you decide what behavior you want from your team you will never be able to take that next crucial step in acknowledging it and making it a habit. That's one way you will know. Performance Leadership - Think About It!