Top 4 Performance Management Mistakes to Avoid

A man planning change stands surrounded by giant bombs about to explode

Because performance management is at the heart of a high performance culture, performance management mistakes can be costly.

What is a High Performance Culture?
We define organizational culture as how things truly get done in an organization. It can be measured by understanding the way people think, behave and work. A high performance culture is an environment that is getting the most from its people in both the short- and long term. We believe that people change when their environment changes. We also believe it is a leader’s job to create the circumstances to consistently get the most out of their people in a way that is consistent with the organization’s core values, behaviors and strategies.

The Definition of Performance Management
We define performance management as the processes and practices by which you provide your employees with information regarding their performance status.  Strong performance management practices help to set clear performance expectations, let people know where they stand in terms of performance, provide positive feedback for desired behaviors and provide negative feedback for undesired behaviors.

As a leader, your ability to effectively manage individual and team performance is critical to driving organizational success. To succeed, avoid these four common performance management mistakes:

  1. Treating Performance as a One-time Event. The number one performance management mistake is treating the performance management process as a one-time instead of ongoing process to let employees know where they stand and develop their careers.  The performance review should be only a small component of an overall performance management program. Performance management should be a continuous process, not an event.
  2. Being Afraid of Behavior Change. It is very difficult to change organizational performance without changing individual performance and individual behavior. People change as their environmental circumstances change. Only when managers understand and apply the core principles of high performance environments and behavioral science will they unlock the full potential of their direct reports.  Do not be afraid to set clear behavior expectations that align with your goals and workplace culture.
  3. Having Unclear Performance Standards. It is difficult, frustrating, and counterproductive to appraise performance against ambiguous, unfair, inconsistent, misunderstood, changing, impossible, or immeasurable performance standards.  Strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing teams.  Ensure your team understands and believes in where they are headed,
  4. Placing Blame Instead of Improving Performance. Performance management is about clarity, accountability, rewards, recognition, and improvement – not about fault-finding. People make mistakes. Your job as a leader is to help your direct reports learn from mistakes while having an accurate picture of their performance against a clear standard as you support them to continuously learn, improve and excel.

To learn more about performance management mistakes and high performance culture best practices, download, The Top 5 Warning Signs Your Performance Environment is in Trouble

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