How to Improve Employee Performance – 3 Signs For a Rethink
Your team is a reflection of you as a manager. And if you have not reassessed your management style critically, there is no time like the present to look out for the red flags that signal an under-performing team, and a business that’s not growing as it should be.
NUMEROUS managers over the years have sought my services as a business coach, but don’t actually realise what their biggest problem is: that their business team is not operating at peak efficiency, and consequently, neither are they. What they may need to do is go back to the drawing board and rethink how to lead, and how to improve employee performance.
They feel like they’re achieving a lot, but I help them to see that as their team is under-performing, they and their businesses are neither achieving as much as they should, nor growing as fast as they ought to be.
There are three indicators I look out for when considering whether a business team is broken, and managers should always be on the lookout for these signs, assessing whether the problems they signal are intrinsic or, in fact, stem from their own business management style, and, ultimately, they need to refresh their own skills in management and how to improve employee performance.
Recognising the Need for a ‘Refresh’ in How to Improve Employee Performance
The first step towards productivity is recognition of a broken team model—awareness and acceptance that something is impeding progress, and acknowledgement that you have a responsibility to consider you may need to rethink how to improve employee performance. Only awareness and acknowledgement lead to true progress, so here are my three Red Flags or indicators that suggest there is a problem in your team that only you as a manager or leader can fix.
1. Constant Firefighting
“Problems that you’re solving should be exceptions, not the rule…”
In terms of the key rules of team management and how to improve employee performance, it might be difficult to identify this one at first, as often, managers will feel like they’re doing a really good job, holding the team together, identifying mistakes, and fixing them swiftly.
While this can be quite personally empowering — with you as a superhero, fixing the problems in your business — it can blind you to the key problem: that problems are arising, and mistakes are being made, too regularly.
If you are fixing problems, then simply, your business team is not doing what it is meant to be doing. Now, please don’t get me wrong.
I know that everyone makes mistakes and problems can arise in even the best businesses. There will always be fires to fight.
However, the problems that you’re solving should be exceptions, not the rule. If solving problems in your business is a part of your regular day, then you need to reconsider how your team is structured and how they are working.
2. Excessive Micro-Management
“Micro-Management is not going to help your business grow…”
When you’re out of the office, do deadlines seem to slip? Do you find that it’s always necessary for you to create task lists and establish timelines for your team members so that they can complete tasks?
If so, you are micro-managing, and the best that can be said for micro-management is that it is not going to help your business grow.
In the worst case, too much micro-management is perhaps an indication that, most of the time, you do not or cannot trust your team to complete tasks on deadline.
If this trust is absent, then the major problem, and one you must address to ensure that the productivity of your business is maximised, is how your business team is being managed.
In summary, it could be suggested that appreciation of the fundamentals of how to improve employee performance is so important that it needs to be worked on constantly. As team leader, there isn’t time for immersion in the minutiae of day to day tasks.
3. Sensitivity over Task Assignment
“If you think, ‘I might as well do it myself’, you need to reconsider your management style…”
To be a successful business manager, you need to be able to communicate with the members of your team. It is crucial that tasks be assigned to team members without fuss or drama, and when required, you need to be able to realign their pathways and priorities.
If sensitivity quickly becomes a big issue whenever you try and talk to your team, it will grind down your progress, and your competition will quickly take over.
Again, the key to solving this problem is trust and understanding.
If the members of your team do not understand you, and you do not understand them, it is easy for someone on the team to take offence, and then discussions become difficult.
Managers will often ask themselves, “What’s the point in even bringing it up? I might as well just do it myself.”
And this is the ultimate red flag. As soon as you think those words, then you have an issue with communication and you probably need to reconsider your business management style.
Final Thoughts on How to Improve Employee Performance
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, your team is simply not functioning the way that it should be, and you will be carrying a certain amount of the weight that should be borne by your team (“I might as well do it myself.”).
If this is the case, you will not be getting the leverage from your team that is necessary if you want to see your company grow and expand.
Final thought: your business team is a reflection of you. If you do think that you have a broken team, be mindful and consider that your team is only as good as your leadership or management style. Take ownership of this situation and sit down to think it through.
Ask yourself how can you change in order to make your team better, and to experience the kind of growth and productivity you would like to achieve.