Top 5 Performance Management Mistakes to Avoid

Top 5 Performance Management Mistakes to Avoid
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We All Have Made Performance Management Mistakes

From being too tough to not tough enough, performance management mistakes happen.  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.

Five of the Most Common Performance Management Mistakes to Avoid
As a leader, your ability to effectively manage individual and team performance is critical to driving organizational success. To succeed, avoid these five common performance management mistakes:

  1. Letting Underperformers Stay Around too Long
    The number one performance management mistake is letting under performers or toxic cultural misfits stay around for too long.  Not moving quickly enough on poor performers undermines leadership respect (people know who is not carrying their weight), decreases morale and team trust, and sabotages performance.

    If someone is not meeting performance or behavioral expectations, they should be put on a 90-day performance improvement plan and provided with the resources necessary to improve.  Then, if after receiving the proper help, they are unable to lift their performance, they should be compassionately let go in a way that aligns with your cultural values.

  2. Treating Performance as a One-time Event
    The number two performance management mistake is treating the performance management process as a one-time event instead of and 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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,

  5. 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.

The Bottom Line
Clear, fair, and relevant performance expectations let individuals, teams, and functions know where they stand, set the stage for performance coaching, and inform professional development — all key ingredients of an effective performance management process.

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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