New Manager Challenge: Knowing How and When to Manage Performance

This is a cartoon of a boss and employee on the golf course with very different ideas of whether or not to sink the putt

The cartoon illustrates a classic new manager situation – a lack of communication between a boss and employee.

The worker assumes he should miss the putt in order to make his boss look good. The boss plans to evaluate the employee in a positive way only if he makes the putt. As a new manager, don’t let this kind of performance confusion block your employees from performing at their peak.

Creating a high performance environment to get the most out of your employees is perhaps your most critical challenge as a new manager. Individual performance improvement leads to improved team performance. And improved team performance is your new goal as a new manager.

The dreaded annual performance review is no longer in vogue…and with good reason. A once yearly check-in on an employee’s job performance is not very effective. When you have to think back on 12 or even 6 months of a worker’s job execution, you risk omitting important coaching points…both positive and negative. An issue may have arisen, remain unresolved and continue to impede your employee’s full engagement in the job. Or an opportunity for learning on-the-job will have been missed. Either way you lose your influence as a manager over improving a team member’s performance in a timely fashion.

This is not to say that there should not be some formalized process for reviewing employees on the quality of their work. You need some sort of rating system that can let people know where they stand, help guide merit pay increases and promotions, and create targeted development plans. It is important to have a structure in place that holds managers accountable for engaging and developing their employees. But we maintain that both the employee and the manager benefit from ongoing, less structured, more frequent performance conversations in addition to the more formal performance discussion.

Our local school district experimented recently with eliminating number grades in favor of general comments on student behavior, effort and progress and they issued these report cards only twice during the academic year. You’d have thought that teachers would be relieved not to have to assign specific grades, that students would be relieved of the performance pressure to get high grades, and that parents would be less concerned about where their student fit in the class as long as they were learning, behaving appropriately and trying their best. But not one of these three stakeholders was satisfied.

  • Teachers surprisingly found it easier to give grades than original, motivating and appropriate comments
  • Students wanted to know where they stood vis-s-vis their classmates and statewide performance standards
  • Parents preferred to have a more standard assessment of their children’s accomplishments and progress

The point is that, in a corporate setting as in an academic environment, regular, meaningful, accurate, timely, fair and transparent performance exposure that lets people know where they stand and helps to both motivate and manage higher performance.

The Bottom Line
The most effective new managers set clear performance expectations. The most effective new managers consistently hold weekly or bi-weekly one-hour sessions with individual team members to review goals, discuss performance, address issues and stay on the same page. Frequent feedback and attention from caring managers help employees stay focused, motivated and on target. Monitor progress regularly, give praise where it’s due and coach for improvement when needed. This is how you can lead toward high performance.

You will know you are on the right path when employees:

• Trust the way their performance is measured
• Receive frequent and balanced feedback
• Understand what constitutes both success and failure
• Know how their goals align with team and company goals

Benchmark your performance management practices to see where you stand

Download performance management whitepaper – Top 5 Warning Signs That Your Performance Environment May Be in Trouble

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In my years working with LSA, it seems like I’ve had a personal consultant at my fingertips to help me identify just the right solution to satisfy our needs. The entire LSA team has become a trusted friend of Actel — assuring we provide state-of-the-art learning to meet our complex, high-tech business and people needs.

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We have worked with LSA Global for our learning and development needs and have always had great success. They helped us recently with customized Management Workshops that we held for the second time. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend LSA to anyone that is attempting to get immediate and impactful improvements.

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Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

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For our go to training outsourcing partner, LSA provides exactly what we want. As always, they deliver outstanding work!

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The refreshing thing about LSA is that they focus on understanding our business situation and helping me succeed instead of selling a product. With over 150 experts, they are an invaluable resource that helps me deliver higher quality results faster. I recommend them to anyone looking to improve the performance of their workforce.

Stacie Rodgers
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LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

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Learning & Development

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I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

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HR Program Manager

Rambus

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

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Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”

Sally Buchannan
VP Human Resources

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What a refreshing change from the half-baked psycho-babble you normally get from “training” organizations. LSA gives you the assistance you need to define and reach your goal, and then they give you a results driven plan – not just a temporary fix. They are great to work with, and even more importantly, they “get it!”

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Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

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VNUS Medical has been very pleased with the effective management development programs that LSA Global has delivered for us over the last four years. The programs have been universally facilitated by experienced and best in class instructors. The knowledge gained by our management team has been put into practice very quickly. VNUS is very happy to be working in partnership with LSA because they consistently deliver excellent programs that receive exceptional feedback from our management team.

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LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.

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I’ve partnered with LSA Global at two companies now, and I consider them a valuable and trusted training and consulting resource. They recommended just the right solution to address our management development needs and have wonderful facilitators that match YuMe’s culture and style of our management team. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions with a valuable learning and development partner.

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