by | Aug 8, 2013

What is performance management?

Performance management is an ‘ongoing’ process involving frequent and regular communication between staff members and their team leader or manager.

When done well, performance management builds staff and manager buy-in and motivation, improves the quality of work output and ultimately decreases staff turnover.

Performance management is:

  • Managers and staff members having quality conversations about performance and development during the year
  • Staff members getting clear, specific, timely feedback about their performance
  • Staff members participating fully in the process, so it’s not all on the manager’s shoulders.

Performance management is NOT:

  • Focused on filling out the forms (the form just records what has been discussed and agreed)
  • Just up to the manager (staff members have a key role to play as well)
  • Always easy and straightforward (it requires skill to do well)
  • Just about appraisal (it’s about planning, monitoring, developing, and providing quality feedback during the year).


The benefits of the Performance and Development Review process for all staff are:

  • Clear expectations of objectives and performance measures that are tied to each staff member’s area of influence.
  • Feedback is given on actual performance, and managers/team leaders and each member of their team are able to track performance throughout the year.
  • A participative approach involving two way communications between managers/team leaders and their staff.
  • There are “no surprises”; each staff member has regular accurate feedback on their performance.
  • Each staff member knows what is expected of them as stated in their objectives and how their performance will be monitored.
  • Every staff member has objectives and performance measures that are clearly aligned with the council’s strategy and business plans.
  • All staff members have in place development plans linked to both the achievement of objectives and development of competencies.

To create a performance culture there is  number of things that, as leaders, you can do:

  • Role model engagement (being seen to enjoy your job)
  • Making the hard decisions
  • Keeping promises (do what you say you are going to do)
  • Showing enthusiasm about your business and its strategic direction
  • Being congruent in your language and non-verbal communication
  • Role model expectations – with integrity. Deliver on your own objectives and being seen to be delivering
  • Openly giving and receiving feedback, and acting upon feedback received
  • Demonstrate commitment – setting and keeping meetings and doing the follow up
  • Acknowledging individual differences and customizing your approach
  • Being human – keeping an eye on the big picture but also pay attention to interests and feelings of staff
  • Involving staff – joint responsibility for outcomes (and give credit where credit is due)
  • Walking the talk
  • Addressing poor performance
  • Dealing with issues as they arise
  • Action orientation
  • Being consistent

You want to attract bright people who work effectively and enjoy success, and make sure you have the right level of ability in place for the demands of each position by training and developing your people.

Reinforce your values with systems that reward individual as well as team performance, and achievement of ‘wins’ as well as appropriate behaviour and competency by paying and promoting accordingly.

Performance Management is one of our most popular workshop topics – check out our upcoming public workshops here.

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