Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to Counsel for Better Performance

With the first quarter almost up, it's time for some action to get our team finely focused on getting to top performance.
Recently we spoke of checking out each members goal and seeing if anyone was falling behind. Well that's the easy part. Now for the tough stuff how do we counsel them to bring them back on track and alignment with our yearly goals.

Try this simple plan to sharpen up your ability to provide meaningful counselling to a team member who is falling behind.

Step one. Go back and assess the goals. Are they still relevant? Are they still possible? Do they have all the right resources? This will help us to understand what is the root cause.

Step two. Come up with a plan to get back on track. Do they need more resources? Is there something they are not doing right and you know how to do it better? Formulate a simple plan to get back on track.

Step three. Sit down with the person who owns these goals, and work through the following:

1. Ask them to rate their performance. What is going well and what areas are they feeling they need to improve on. Listen carefully and make notes where they agree or disagree with your assessment and your corrective path. Do not interrupt and let them go through their whole self-assessment.

2. Open you discussion by telling them what aspects they are doing well, be sure to show you agree with them if they mentioned this during their discussion. This will make them feel you are appreciating what they are doing and noticing the things that are coming along.

3. Next you need to point out two or three but no more areas that they are not performing well, again point out where you agree and where you disagree. Give specific examples of poor performance and offer a maximum of two alternate courses of action they may have taken to avoid such performance. Test they understand your assessment of their progress and make sure they can see a better way to do this in the future.

4. Lastly close the discussion by reinforcing what a good contribution they are making and their good performance aspects to date. Explain to them they they can be even better when the also concentrate on the aspects you discussed previously. Give them and idea of when you will meet again to further discuss their improved performance.

Our role as leader means its our responsibility to address any poor performance and correct so our team can get stronger and more productive. Try my simple system next time you need to counsel one of your team members and let me know if it was a success for you.

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