If you set goals (preferably SMART goals) for your team, have you checked to see how they’re getting on? Are they on track? What do you do if they are? And what do you do if they're not?
Hopefully your team are now well on their way to achieving their goals, but have you actually checked? If you set the goals at the start of the year, now is a great time to check to see how they’re doing. If you set your goals at a different time of year, we’ve just passed the end of a quarter so it’s still a great time to do a quarterly check. If April is when you start and end your year for team performance – you might want to look up my article on setting goals and come back to this article three months from now!
Look to see if you need to make adjustments to help your team, or individual team members, get back on track or to stay on track. Or are they doing well? If they’re doing well, have you taken a moment to let them know? It’s easy to forget to pass on the good news, and yet that’s what motivates us most. It also helps us develop good habits if we learn to recognize what good looks like.
Periodically review your team’s goals and progress towards the goals throughout the year. This ensures that any end-of-year review meetings you have with your team members are not argumentative, unfulfilling meetings. Make sure the end-of-year meeting is not the first time you discuss goals with someone after they were set. If that happens you may find your employee thought they were doing a great job, while you have a different view. If you surprise an employee like this, the meeting will become an argument. By the time they find out you didn’t think they did a good job, it’s too late to do anything about it. As a result they will feel demotivated.
To ensure an end-of-year meeting is harmonious, make sure it’s just the last meeting of a year of ongoing feedback. The final meeting then becomes a simple summary, with no surprises. Such meetings are typically fairly short and sweet. If not all goals were met, but everyone knows the circumstances going into the meeting, there is no need to argue.
Look for ways to review how your team are doing against their goals on an ongoing basis. This will allow you to see if things are heading off track. If they are, you have time and the opportunity to review what’s causing the problem. You can then try and work with the individual to remove any blocks to them being successful. If someone is ahead of where you thought they’d be, you might be able to close out a goal early. If so – think about setting a new one to help the business overall move forward.
Ask your team for ideas for how feedback might be provided. They might be able to suggest simple ideas that will work for them and not become a burden on you, the manager. Consider the frequency (weekly, monthly and/or quarterly) and the format. Some formats might be initiated by you as the manager while others might be initiated by the team member. A self-assessment approach, where the onus is on the team member to put most of the effort in, often works. The important thing is that communication about the goals and progress towards achieving them is two-way. It should happen at least once a quarter. All feedback should be specific to the goals rather than being a general chat.
How often do you review goals you’ve set for your team? What methods do you to provide feedback against goals?