A key managerial role at every level is guiding and developing employees. The performance and success of your staff is the key to your own success. Your ability to build trust with your staff and to keep them actively involved in the company’s and their own success will improve your own and your work unit’s productivity. Research shows annual performance appraisals have no significant effect on individual productivity. What does work is an interactive program where manager and employee meet regularly to discuss work plans, performance, expectations, problems, and goals.

The best leaders have constant check in with their employees and inherently understand how to balance a team to focus on the “we” and the “me” — they have a pulse on their workers so that everyone has a sense of how to make the team work together towards a common goal (focus on the “we”) but to also balance the individual so that each worker knows that they are playing to their talents and strengths (focus on the “me”.)  Marcus Buckingham, SHRM2015

Tip 1. Work Planning and Standards

Work planning underlies much of a supervisor’s and work unit’s effectiveness. It is important to ensure work is completely effectively, on time, and within allocated resources. Standards are the established expectations on how work will be done. These are also often driven by the demands of customers, regulatory/industry or ISO standards, and the need to create a consistent environment for achievement. They include:

  • clearly identify expectations for performing the work
  • specify requirements and minimum levels of acceptable performance
  • define accountability
  • provide reference points for measurement
  • support improvement efforts and excellence

Tip 2. Manager Defines Work Objectives

A manager’s role in work planning is to establish specific work goals and measurements which enable the work unit to meet its goals while matching the individual’s goals and efforts with the larger organizational objective. The objectives are to:

  • establish clear, mutually agreed upon standards of performance
  • encourage effective two-way communications
  • recognize and encourage good performance
  • improve lower levels of performance.

In this process, a manager

  • clearly defines job requirements and expectations
  • focuses on problem solving
  • defines plans and communicates changes
  • provides on-going feedback
  • is receptive to suggestions and ideas
  • learns and uses employees skills and abilities more effectively.

Tip 3. Employees Have a Role

Employees must accept responsibility for their work and learning.  Ways to help them do so include:

  •  Involve them in understanding the work unit goals and how their work supports the whole effort.
  •  Teach them how to help establish their own work goals.
  •  Provide specific feedback on their performance on a regular, frequent basis so that they can develop higher levels of performance and effectiveness.
  •  Encourage them to offer their ideas and suggestions for new or improved methods and products/services.

Your staff is more likely to work effectively to meet the goals of their work unit and the company when they know what the goals are and understand them. Participating in setting work unit and personal goals usually increases individual commitment to achieving the goals.

Developing goals and objectives and the criteria by which to measure each is a most important part of the process. This offers you the chance to clearly communicate the purpose of the position and to clarify your expectations for the person. It is most effective when done in conjunction with the individual so that each of you has a clear understanding of your commitments.

With a newly-hired individual, this process will require you to provide a clear outline of the position, its reason for being, the work unit’s function within the company, and the company goals. With a more experienced person, the goals become more of their own work with guidance and feedback from you.