Perfromance mindset

Caroline Mboijana. PHOTO/FILE 

What you need to know:

  • Organisations have different ways of managing performance; some organisations are more mature than others regarding this HR topic.

I am a middle-level manager and currently managing a team of ten officers. I am relatively new to the organisation though familiar with leading teams. I completed my probation period and have been working with the team. I note that in this organisation, team and individual performance is an area of concern. I have noted there is no systematic process in place to manage performance, and as a result, I find each member has a different understanding of what they are expected to deliver. Managing their performance has therefore been very difficult. How would you advise me to address this situation without causing disruption? Robert

Hello Robert, many may not want to “disrupt” the status quo, but sometimes it is required if you want to innovate, improve and be successful. If you do not address the situation, there will come a point where you will be managed. Remember you will be held accountable for your team’s performance. I will answer your question in two parts. This first part is about mindset and environment, and next week I’ll talk about tools that can help you.

Organisations have different ways of managing performance; some organisations are more mature than others regarding this HR topic. In addressing this matter, you should reflect on the organisation first and understand how at the organisation level the leadership measures performance; this appreciation will provide you with the context of what you are observing with your team. You can also reflect on the culture of the organisation regarding this area. Speak to other managers and check whether they are observing the same. Be mindful that they may not have an issue with the status quo, and your observations are being made with a “fresh pair of eyes”.

In the context of the above, you need to speak with your Supervisor and the HR team about your concerns, but more importantly, you need to present your solution so they can appreciate your concerns.

A straightforward, quick win is to present a solution in the form of a team-building activity, where the team leaves the work environment and has space to think about what they do and why. You need to be prepared to receive feedback on the challenges they face and be ready to address them, especially if those challenges negatively impact the quality of their performance.  The team building session should build a feeling of comradery and ownership of what they do and how they want to work. With that in mind, you can gently introduce the team to having a common understanding of performance as well as individual and team goals and targets. These are agreed upon and signed off by the group, creating ownership. In addition, the session may also allow you to define the team culture they want including the dos and don’ts that each team member agrees to abide by.  This can be simple things like; having team meetings on a bi-weekly basis and members agreeing to give reporting updates on their work every month; the team may also decide to come together to solve problems, and you, as the team leader, may commit to have monthly session one on one session to discuss members success and challenges. These may sound simple and basic, but what is happening is setting the environment and culture for members to work together to perform.

Start with baby steps by changing your team’s mindset and appreciation of the importance of performance. Good luck

Caroline Mboijana, Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U)  [email protected]