Managing Team Performance for Exceptional Results

Successful team leaders need to know how to manage their team’s performance effectively, so that the team and the organization achieve the best results possible.

An ongoing process of objectively reviewing the work of team members individually and the team overall is fundamental to managing team performance.

One thing to consider before you begin to evaluate your team is that 100 percent objectivity isn’t always possible. However, leaders can do two things to strive for objectivity:

  1. Practice and encourage open communication among everyone , and
  2. See the whole picture rather than limiting themselves to a narrow point of view.

To put it simply, managing team performance is about identifying where the team is performing well and where it needs to improve and adjust. Some organizations use computers for managing performance while others are less technical. Research has shown both ways to work about the same; what really matters is that performance is evaluated in some way.

Whatever method leaders use to measure performance, they must be consistent for everyone and develop a common language for discussing and recording the way things are going and what has been done. Doing this ensures that all team members are focused on achieving the best performance and gaps in performance can be spotted early so that action can be taken to improve.

What not to do when measuring team performance

Most team leaders try to manage team performance to some degree. Here are some of the most common mistakes made for you to avoid with your teams.

  • not establishing expectations and goals when the team is formed;
  • not consistently following up throughout the process and not establishing a schedule for regular review;
  • not establishing individual performance plans;
  • not documenting performance in a systematic way;
  • not holding people accountable for their responsibilities;
  • not retaining objective data to measure performance; and
  • not rewarding the good performance of the team and of individuals.

7 Step process for measuring team performance

In his book, How to Measure the Results of Work Teams, Jack Zigon presents a seven step process for measuring team performance. Following these steps will prevent many of the mistakes mentioned above.

  1. Review the existing organizational measures with the team.
  2. Define team measurement points that will identify milestone accomplishments.
  3. Identify individual team member accomplishments that support the team.
  4. Agree to the importance of each accomplishment.
  5. Develop team and individual performance measures.
  6. Develop team and individual performance standards.
  7. Decide how to track performance.

In my previous work with teams I have added a pre-step to #1 and that is to clearly define the goal of the team and make sure that the team members are aligned with the goal.

Managing team performance is important to the success of the team and a company. If everyone is focused on the right things, then the team will shave exceptional results.

I have suggested a pre-step to the 7 step process, what steps would you change based on your success in managing team performance?

Category: Leadership

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About the Author: Beth Miller

Beth Armknecht Miller, CMC, of Atlanta, Georgia, is a Vistage Chair and President of Executive Velocity, a leadership development and coaching firm accelerating the leadership success of CEOs and business leaders from emerging to midsize com…

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  1. Agree 100%.
    What comes next? After all the standards are developed for individuals and team, tracking etc…

  2. Lynn, next step is leading with inspiration and motivation.  I am a big advocate of building a culture that elevates employee engagement which means tapping the passion of each individual.  

  3. David Short

    July 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    This is very good Beth thank you.  If I were to suggest one additional consideration it would be to make certain that your recruiting and hiring messages and practices are designed to not only provide you with candidiates aligned to the attributes that you need for success, but also so that you gain insights into their social styles as well.  Team managment as you suggest is decidely less nuanced than individual managment and individuals are managed in often very different ways.  What one individual may respond to in the way of recognition and reward as examples might be entirely different than another.  The same is true for discipline and goal setting.  Motivation is internal and shoud be an absolute of course, but stimulation is highly personal.  Great teams share a common purpose or should, but the greatest leaders take enormous care with who gets hired and understand how these component parts need to be wired, cared for, and nurtured.  

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