Leading a team comes with its own set of challenges, but with the right approach, you can effectively guide your team towards success. In this blog, we will explore the concept of Enabling Excellence and how it can transform the outdated practice of performance management.

The Flaws of Performance Management

Some of the most common processes we see in organisations fall short in more ways than one. In fact, research indicates that a staggering 82% of HR leaders are dissatisfied with their organisation’s performance management process.

Too often, organisations leave it to line managers to assess team members’ performance. The problem is that one manager’s view on someone’s behaviour or interactions can be very different from another’s.

While the traditional yearly review might seem easier for HR departments, it isn’t always the most consistent or fair way to review an employee’s progress.

Performance is not something that can be managed. Instead, it is something that can be nurtured and cultivated through the right environment and conditions.

The ‘forced distribution’ approach is particularly problematic as it creates an environment of competition. Without context around how or why pay and reward decisions are made, colleagues may start to resent each other.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

The goal of performance management is to help employees perform at their best and understand how to progress in their careers. This is achieved by holding them accountable for their actions and identifying opportunities for growth. By having a clear understanding of what constitutes good performance, poor performance and everything in between, it becomes easier to evaluate employees and make necessary adjustments.

As a leader, it’s important to be aware of common pitfalls that can hinder the effectiveness of this process.

Micromanaging

One of the most common mistakes new leaders make is falling into the trap of micromanagement. Micromanaging can stifle creativity, decrease morale, and hinder productivity.

To avoid this, it is crucial to establish trust and empower your team members. Start by getting to know your team, their strengths, and their preferred ways of working.

Demonstrate your trust in their abilities and provide them with the autonomy to carry out their tasks successfully. Regular catch-ups and open communication channels can foster a sense of transparency and collaboration.

Overcomplicating

HR leaders are often tempted to introduce new procedures or ways of working. However, overcomplicating processes can have a detrimental effect on time and productivity.

Instead, focus on keeping things simple and streamlined. Seek input from your team members and consider their insights when implementing changes. By involving your team in decision-making, you can encourage ownership and engagement.

Perfectionism

While it’s natural to aim for perfection, it’s important to recognise that it is an unrealistic and stressful goal. Instead, shift your focus towards excellence.

Provide constructive feedback and support to help team members improve in areas where they may be struggling. Encourage a growth mindset that emphasises learning and continuous improvement.

By embracing excellence rather than perfection, you create an environment that fosters growth and development and removes unnecessary stressors.

One-Man Band

The success of a team does not rely solely on the leader. In fact, those who invite their team to collaborate, share their own ideas and work together to achieve targets are ultimately more successful.

Actively listen to your team members and provide them with opportunities to voice their thoughts, concerns, and ideas. Regular catch-ups, one-on-one meetings, and open communication channels can facilitate this process.

Take their feedback seriously and communicate the actions you are taking based on their input. When team members see the results of their feedback, they will feel empowered and motivated to contribute further.

Introducing Enabling Excellence 

If we want to establish trust, we should first start by getting rid of the term ‘performance management’. 

Enabling Excellence refers to a set of values that help us inspire our colleagues to be motivated and committed by building a culture of collaboration and trust. It is about looking after the people in our organisations at all levels. We can do this by inspiring them to engage with our core values and supporting their development, all of which ultimately contribute to the success of the organisation.  

Rather than attempting to micromanage employees, Enabling Excellence empowers leaders to provide the right conditions for their team members to thrive. 

There are many factors that can impact someone’s performance and productivity, from physical and mental health to work ethic, relationships and environment. 

We measure these factors through our comprehensive Employee Excellence SHAPE survey, which gathers data and tells us what our colleagues need. The survey quantifies these factors and provides science-backed insights to employees, managers and executives. 

 

Collaboration and Trust 

 

Performance management should not be limited to annual reviews. Enabling Excellence instead focuses on providing regular feedback to your team members, acknowledging their accomplishments and providing guidance for improvement.  

Whether or not you choose to use performance ratings, we need to make sure we change to a more flexible process in which we tackle difficult conversations, regularly.  

As part of this process, people set their objectives with line managers, and these can be updated in catch-up sessions. Objectives and achievements are shared with the wider team every quarter, providing frequent and meaningful forums for updates and opportunities to exchange feedback. 

By doing so, you can encourage self-reflection and goal-setting to foster personal and professional growth. Ultimately, it is the collective wellbeing of our employees that leads to the success of our organisations. With your support, team members will have the chance to thrive and contribute to the wider goals of your company.  

 

Celebrating Success and Recognising Achievements 

 

Acknowledging and celebrating success is an essential aspect of Enabling Excellence. Recognise and reward your team members for their achievements and contributions. Celebrate milestones, both big and small, to foster a sense of accomplishment and motivation.  

By creating a culture of celebration and recognition, you inspire your team to strive for excellence. Not only that, but you begin to create a more positive workplace culture where contributions do not go unnoticed.  

This also helps to develop a sense of purpose throughout the team—enabling them to reach for something bigger. 

 

Enabling Excellence in Practice 

 

At 3R Strategy, we offer a three-step buildable approach to help you take the next steps towards a healthy, happy and productive workplace—where the phrase ‘performance management’ is but a distant memory. 

Step 1: Excellence Toolkits 

Trust is the foundation of any successful team. We provide a number of toolkits, checklists and resources that support you in fostering an environment where open communication, transparency, and respect are valued.  

Using these toolkits and understanding how they can replace your current practices will encourage collaboration and create opportunities for team members to work together towards shared goals.  

Step 2: Excellence Survey 

Our Employee Excellence Survey, powered by SHAPE, offers a holistic, streamlined solution that gathers powerful data intelligence to give you the full picture of how employees are feeling.  

Each question has been carefully selected through four years of R&D with a solid, science-backed approach to give you the data you need in one place. SHAPE surveys everyone—employees, managers, and executives—to achieve maximum participation and quality results. 

Upon submitting the survey, each employee gets their own personal and confidential report.  

Step 3: Excellence Training 

To enable excellence, it is essential to provide your team with the necessary resources and support. Identify any gaps in skills or knowledge and offer training or mentoring opportunities to bridge those gaps.  

We can help ensure that your team has access to the tools, technology, and information they need to perform their roles effectively. Our comprehensive training and coaching sessions are available for teams and line managers to help you tackle difficult conversations—and more. 

More About SHAPE 

Did you know it takes more than two satisfied employees to generate the same level of output as one inspired employee? 

We don’t just want employees who turn up every day and do their workwe want people who inspire those around them, drive a positive impact, and find ways to deliver results and push for more. 

SHAPE is a digital platform that helps employees measure and improve their performance.  

The Survey for Health, Attendance, Productivity and Engagement, SHAPE measures everything from the efficiency of the facilities and systems, to employee health and wellbeing, culture and engagement, management style, strategy, and much more.  

The extensive reporting suite provides employees, managers and executives with the intelligence they need to increase personal, team and company performance. 

 

Engage Your Employees 

 

The SHAPE employee engagement survey asks around 160 questions and delivers over 220 data points per employee. Employees can complete the survey in one go or take their time: for most, it takes around 30–45 minutes to complete.  

Simplify Your Reporting 

The Excellence Survey will replace a number of other surveys you perform each year, connecting fragmented productivity silos to give all business units the data they need to better collaborate and make decisions.  

 

Conclusion 

 

Transforming performance management with Enabling Excellence is a journey that requires a shift in mindset and approach. By building trust, fostering collaboration, and providing the right support, you can create a high-performing team that achieves exceptional results.