Building High Performing Teams: What Every Manager Needs To Know

Posted 04 July 2019

How to improve performance, to get your team up to scratch.

If you have an employee that is not performing as expected, perhaps not hitting the KPI’s or just not up to par in terms of output, then don’t delay. It is important to speak with them as soon as you notice their activity declining or if you see them not reaching their full potential.

You should not wait until they really get left behind before you start the conversation.

Part of the role of a manager, includes not only managing a team when they are all going well, but it is about motivating and encouraging team members all the time.

It is crucial to remember that all team members need different support and feedback at different times in different ways. It is not a one size fits all approach. As a people manager it is up to you to identify how each of your team likes to be managed to get the best from them. The high-energy, impactful team member will need to be managed differently to the quieter, doer and both will be receptive to different forms of feedback and support.

There can be many reasons why a team member may not be performing as expected. They may be lacking the necessary skills, they may be a bad cultural fit or there could be a misunderstanding of your expectations. Through having a conversation and consistent follow up you will uncover what the root cause is, to enable you to act to remedy the situation. Often, if you have made this a safe space, they may divulge something that has been impacting on their performance that is work related or not, or perhaps they may not be aware at all, either way it opens the lines of communication.

Additional elements can be offered to help lift your staff member, such as additional skills training, group activities to promote team work and an overview of what the team is expected to produce and how. 63 per cent of people in our survey said that it is very important for their employer to take their professional development seriously and 50 per cent felt that their organisation wasn’t providing enough development opportunities to them.

The conversations you have with your staff member should be a collaboration. Working together to flesh out desired outcomes, what areas need improving and how they can be improved. Give them some direction and guidance along with some ideas on what they could implement to get everything moving as it should. Reconnect within the week to talk about the brainstorm and iron out any questions or concerns. As a manager you will be both a leader and a coach. It is in this moment your coaching skills will need to come into action. Be mindful that this will need some designated time from you. You will need to prioritise them and coach them to where they need to be. Set clear objectives with measurable actions and put it down on paper so there is no confusion. It is important to note that it is also the perfect time to review your own managerial behaviour. Are you showing signs of emotional behaviour that could be clouding your judgement of the person? If they are making mistakes regularly – are you beginning to get frustrated and struggling to see their performance clearly? Have you been too focussed on other projects and therefore haven’t designated the time to your team members that they need, rushing in and out without consistent focus or clear communication on anyone or anything?

If you feel that your emotions or behaviour could be affecting your judgement, lean on another manager, a peer, or a mentor and ask them to monitor and review the situation to give you non-bias feedback on your team member. Sometimes as managers we can get too close to problems and not see them clearly enough to affect change.  Unfortunately, not everyone develops to where they need to be. Some people just don’t want to be coached and make changes. They are not willing to meet you half way and show no signs of wanting to develop and grow into the performer you need. If this is the case, then decisions will need to be made and action may need to be taken in terms of their future with your organisation. This is not a decision that should be made lightly, and significant time and deliberation may need to occur to make sure that this is the right decision for the organisation and your team. Further conversations need to occur with your team member, talking about why the coaching plan wasn’t adhered to and highlight the consequences if they can’t support their team and organisation with the clear requirements of the role.  However, if after your coaching and support your employee turns a corner and is now a high performing member of your team, rewarding them for their effort is important.

Employees thrive at work when they know their contributions have had impact. Rewarding them highlights their amazing work, shows them that they are valued, and their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Some ideas on rewards could be a surprise early finish time, a team lunch or movie afternoon or even just a personal written note, internal staff email or a shout out at your office meeting, something you feel relevant to their contribution and they would personally appreciate.

Having a high performing team is what every manager strives for. Discover how to build your own high performing team.

Modis Australia | Building high performing teams - what every leader needs to know
Find out more