How can I manage/lead my team to better performance?

Managing and leading employees is not easy. It starts by taking the appropriate measures. After all, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. The key is to know what to measure in each role.

There is an old saying, “Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.” Before a doctor prescribes a treatment, she runs tests to measure what is really going on. However, not all relevant factors can be measured so she also asks lots of questions. It is with this overall understanding of the patient’s situation that she makes the final diagnosis and decides on the appropriate course of action.

Managing/leading your employees to improved performance isn’t really that much different. They depend on you to help diagnose what they are doing well and where they have an opportunity for improvement. They need you to lay out a course of action that will allow them to perform at a higher level.

It all starts with the appropriate measures (diagnosis) of the employee’s performance. For any single role, there are countless things that could be measured. But, don’t fall into the trap of trying to measure everything. Instead, take the time to identify those critical few items to be measured for each role and make them your focus.

Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each role

For each role in your agency, answer the following questions.

1. What are the 2 -3 most important results to get from this position?
Focusing on the most important results makes the whole process more manageable and emphasizes the results that will likely drive 90% of what you need out of each role. It also keeps the individual from hiding behind the less important activities that, while still important, keep them from focusing on what is most important.

2. What are the behaviors/activities that drive these results?
For each result identified in the first step, select the two or three behaviors/activities that will ensure the results happen the way they need to. Don’t focus on all of the behaviors/activities in a role, as this will result in loss of efficiency. Instead, focus only on the most potent drivers of each critical result.

3. How can I measure that these behaviors/activities are being performed in an effective and efficient manner?
For each behavior/activity identified in the second step, select a way to objectively measure/quantify the results of that performance. These become the KPIs.

Remember, there will be behaviors/activities that don’t lend themselves to being measured in a quantifiable manner. In those instances, define the questions you will ask to uncover the needed insights for measuring that KPI.

Monitor on a regular basis

For each direct report you have, you should have a regularly scheduled one-on-one meeting focused on the measures/discussions above. However, as the manager/leader, it shouldn’t be your job to track and measure the KPIs. That responsibility needs to be given to each team member. After all, nobody should be more vested or invested in the performance than the individual employees themselves.

Give them the responsibility to bring their most current measures into the meeting and to initiate the discussions around those behaviors/activities when quantifiable measures aren’t available.

With an accurate diagnosis of performance/results, together you can define the course of action to either ensure the great results continue or to improve the results if needed.

Here’s an example:
Role – Director of Marketing

What are the most critical results to be driven by this role?
1. Agency brand awareness
2. Sales qualified leads

What are the driving behaviors/activities to create brand awareness and how will each be measured?
1. Blog posts – # of posts, # of opens
2. Social media engagement - # of postings from company LinkedIn page, # of new followers # of social engagement activities
3. Educational sessions (webinars, seminars, etc.) - # of sessions, # of attendees

What are the driving behaviors/activities to produce sales qualified leads and how will each be measured?
1. Email campaigns - # of campaigns, # of opens, # of click-throughs
2. Customer engagement - # of visitors to website, # of CTAs clicked, # of leads created

Q4i members: You can download performance management tools here.