Focusing on improving the performance of your employees is a big contributor for improving the overall performance of the team. When you have a large team (or when you have a small team), you will get people with varying levels of productivity and with their own personal traits. There will be people who will be extremely skilled at being organized, there will be people who are extremely good at writing code, there will be others who are good at architectural work, and so on. Over a period of time, you will also learn their personal traits and figure out which of them are good at what, and weak at what.
When you are looking at the performance of your individual team members, there is a certain amount of bias you would have. If you are an organized person, you would tend to appreciate people who are more organized, and so on. However, what is more important, and sometimes difficult for a manager to understand about, is to provide the right set of inputs that will help improve the performance of an individual. Now, this inputs about how to improve the performance of an individual should be done regularly rather than only as part of an appraisal.
Once I mention the word appraisal, there is the potential to write a book about Do and Don’ts, so let me take up a specific section in this post. This post is meant for people who work in the IT industry, and one important thing to keep in mind is that people in the industry can have an inflated sense of their own importance, and it is important to talk keeping this in mind. If you give them a clear and blunt feedback and it is harsh, there are chances that you risk pushing the person away. This is also try if you point out all the problems that people possess.
Hence, it is important that you focus on the 3-4 top issues that a person faces, and which would have the maximum impact on the person’s productivity, try and capture relevant examples that show these issues and focus on these on your regular performance sessions. It gets difficult if you start providing feedback on everything that the person does wrong, since it may be perceived that you are now nitpicking rather than proving the required feedback. And be sure to provide this feedback if you see an instance where you feel that the person could do with some improvement, after ensuring that you have got all the aspects of the issue, and make sure that the person has understand the feedback. Repeat this feedback in terms of checking again after a few days whether the person had any concerns over the feedback you provided.
However, to repeat, it is critical that you provide this feedback restricted to the top 3-4 issues, else you will start to lose your credibility as a person who is able to understand the good and the bad that the employee does. This part is very important, and I have seen a case where a person wanted a transfer since they felt that I was not able to understand them.
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