Often leaders struggle with providing feedback on performance. This centers around two things; one, usually feedback takes place when performance is not where it should be. Two, the prospect of providing feedback around poor performance is wrought with the potential for high emotion. We, don’t like getting that kind of feedback and as such the fear of giving it to someone else can prevent us from acting in a timely manner. There is a way though, to remove much of the "emotion" from the equation.
This is where metrics enter into this discussion. I have worked with many companies who do an excellent job of establishing company goals, department and group goals and kpi’s but then it stops there. The department or group will have their own dashboards or displays set up for the team to have a strong visual for how they are doing. This is all good. The missing link is what are the metrics for “each” group member and are they being tracked? This is key for a number of reasons.
The first is engagement. Gallup reports that teams that have a clear set of goals for each member have double the rate of engagement of teams that don’t. Typically, this can translate into a 10 – 20 percent increase on the bottom line.
More importantly teams where each member is tracking their own metrics (that they have developed) are much more agile in dealing with performance and spotting opportunities. It also provides clarity for each team member in terms of what is expected of them and it provides that key linkage between what they do and how that advances the team or company objectives.
A Tale of Two Scenarios
A typical scenario is a leader sits down with members on their team on a quarterly or bi-annual basis to review kpi’s established from the last review. Often, if we are honest about it, we have to remind ourselves what those kpi’s were for that staff member before the meeting and we have to rack our memories to try and determine how they rank.
For teams that are tracking individual measures on a daily basis the scenario looks more like this. The leader may walk by a desk or work station and look at someone’s charting of their measures. You can note the progress or successes and provide immediate recognition. I have found that when these measures are discussed on a daily basis you don’t have to say much if anything, that person will “want” to tell you how things are going. Particularly if you have made it safe for them to do so.
Taking Emotion Out of the Equation
These daily interactions provide you as a leader more agility to provide “course corrections” thus helping that team member avoid potential issues. What’s more is that everyone knows what the measures are and are comfortable engaging in discussions around them. This is one of the biggest values of leading by the numbers. You take away the emotional stigma and are able to engage in a much more collaborative discussion around performance.
If you think about these two scenario’s which sounds more appealing? Are your team members collecting and tracking daily measures? Can you see how much easier it is to provide feedback when the emotion is taken out of the equation? Performance Leadership – Think About It!