New Managers Should Not Settle for So-So Performance
No manager should settle for mediocre performance, especially new managers who are trying to set expectations for their new team.
Though new manager training teaches it is unwise for new managers to make changes too quickly, it IS wise to make sure your team understands the standards they will be measured against. And it should be clear that mediocrity will not be accepted for long.
It is easy to know what to do both with very poor performance and with superior performance. Given initial understanding and support, substandard performers need to be compassionately redirected…either to a more suitable assignment or out the door. Top performers need to be rewarded for their excellent work in a way that encourages their continued commitment to their job. But what about the team member who is doing just OK?
You know, the one who you wish would transfer elsewhere because they add so little in terms of productivity or motivation to the rest of the team.
We believe, with the backing from new manager training participants, that allowing this team member to stay on drags down the entire team and that it is your lack of leadership that is at fault. It is up to you as a new manager to uncover your middling employee’s unique strengths and to capitalize on them. Here three new manager training tips on how to lead effectively:
- Make the connections and clarify performance metrics
The best new leaders know how to be sure each and every team member understands just how their job contributes to the team’s (and ultimately the company’s) success. Be specific in explaining that what they do and how well they do it matters. General cheerleading doesn’t help as much as saying something like, “When you deliver accurate and complete financial reports by
Wednesday COB as we’ve requested, the Finance Department can compile the reports from all sectors and work with leadership to make sound decisions week-by-week at their Friday meetings.” The connection is clear as are the metrics for success. The goal is expressed in specific terms—accuracy, thoroughness and on-time delivery are expected.
- Share accountability
Most new managers and supervisors cannot keep track of every team member all the time…nor should they. High performing teams depend not only on their leaders to enforce accountability but also on their teammates. Some performance problems are often best handled by peers in open, respectful discussions. Team members should exert their influence over one another with the goal of serving their common mission. The manager’s job is to see that these discussions follow the best guidelines for giving and receiving feedback.
- Set the example
If you are truly committed to high performance, you as a new manager must not shrink from uncomfortable and difficult conversations. Your team is watching and will take their cues from you. Will you go to bat for your team if their performance is compromised by lack of resources from your boss or perhaps another department? Will you take charge of addressing a poor performer who needs to move on or the team’s motivation will slip? Can you talk about a mistake you made and what you have learned from it?
New managers try hard to do the right thing by their team. Follow these three managerial tips and you will go far to earn your team’s respect and commitment to the job at hand.
To learn more about creating high performing new managers, download The 4 Management Metrics that Matter Most