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If you've read my team-related posts lately, you know why I think it's important for leaders today to be knowledgeable about teams. Successful team leaders also 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% 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 to avoid:

  • 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.

  • Review the existing organizational measures with the team.
  • Define team measurement points that will identify milestone accomplishments.
  • Identify individual team member accomplishments that support the team.
  • Agree to the importance of each accomplishment.
  • Develop team and individual performance measures.
  • Develop team and individual performance standards.
  • 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?


Larry Hart

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