Don't manage performance, support it.

December 13, 2019


I hate the way performance management is used. Supporting your team member to be at their best is not about management. I prefer performance support or check-ins which live and die by the quality of the dialogue. Here are 8 tips to support great performance support discussions.


Establish a positive relationship

Great performance support starts before the discussion. Without a positive professional relationship, people will be reluctant to be open, share and challenge themselves. Purposefully build positive relationships with each of your people.

Stay focused on the outcome

The objective of the discussion is to support continuously improved performance by recognising the positives, identifying the obstacles and supporting the person to identify actions to move forward. The end game is to help the person to be at their best consistently.


Understand your role

You are the facilitator, this is your team members process not yours. Your key role is to listen, if you find yourself doing most of the talking then it becomes about you not them. Listen to facilitate reflection, recognition of success and strengths and realignment of behaviours and mindsets. Use your coaching skills to ask questions and help the person see what they cannot see on their own.

Hold the line

From a place of care and respect help the person to be accountable and to follow through. Having clearly defined goals clarifies expectations, helps people to focus and enables people to understand how to be successful. Be strong and kind.


Have a future focus

There is benefit in looking back but only when it is used to create a better tomorrow. Reflect, identify the lessons and opportunities and let the rest go.


Adopt a growth mindset
Do you believe the performance goals are achievable? Do you believe that this person can continuously improve? Finding fault rarely inspires improved performance, focus on what is working and grow more of that. 


Be curious

Your role is to facilitate continuously improving performance. Being genuinely curious, parking your judgement and asking questions is one of the best ways to create the space for a person to find their own answers. Giving people answers does not help them grow. Guide them to find their own answers and you will motivate better commitment, ownership and responsibility.


Keep the connections clear

It’s important for people to understand how their individual work contributes to the purpose, goals and overall objective of the organisation. Help them see how they fit.

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