business management

How Do You Work With Your Team To Assist Then To Improve Their Performance?

We often hear about people having a performance appraisal……In my experience this invokes fear, discomfort or even the notion of “we suggest that you add value somewhere else because you are not adding value here…”

Performance appraisal should be about improving performance and be for the benefit of the individual. It should never be about putting someone down or rubbing their nose in areas where they may have done better. In my experience these necessary procedures should be called “how to be better at what you do”. Consequently a number of strategies should be employed when assisting your people to grow and improve the work they are doing. It might help to consider that you are always working to assist improvement and thatyou just do this often and informally (with feedback), then more frequently and a little more formally (assessment)  and then with a more structured formal event (review).Thesethree methods that can be used to assist your people in their performance, so let’s tease out some more detail.


Feedback should be provided regularly and informally. By often we mean several times per week or in the early stages a couple of times per day. Try and ensure it is provided in the first person with many “I” messages. An example of this may be “when I was stuck for the best response to make to a difficult patient I used to restate what I perceived them as saying……..”.

 It is never good when you hear “you should have done…….”. Providing an observation is a good way to minimize the reaction and will often produce a quick dialogue, ideally this observation should be factual and objective, not judgemental. Once again an example “I have noticed that when you take a client from the waiting room that eye contact is not being made and a smile will help to create instant rapport”. Try and invite a response as this may remove any unwanted over reaction and build positive communication. Always start with a positive comment. We say that even if the only thing you can come up with is “I like your shirt/dress today..” then that is a good start.


Making an assessment of progress is a more formal activity and should be done with some but short notice. This sort of activity may be used weekly or every couple of days at commencement and will involve sitting down out of ear shot of others and when both parties have the time to be productive. Time allowed for such activity should be around 15 minutes. Similar types of approach to feedback as mentioned above but the following factors make this interaction more structured:

Provide objective and non-judgemental feedback and invite a response
Impart details regarding why an action is appropriate/inappropriate e.g “maybe it is a good idea to go out of the room while the clients gets dressed”

Offer suggestions or provide directions or alternative actions if required
Provide resources to assist behaviour e.g an article about a topic like e.g“empathetic listening”. The reading of the resource prepares the person for the meeting
Provide personal demonstration of desired action
Role play. We cannot urge you enough to use this activity as a learning tool. In this way you can help your personnel to see a situation from another point of view.


This type of activity is something that is formal, structured, has preparation required by both parties and done at distinct and scheduled times in advance. We suggest annually when a detailed plan is prepared and hopefully able to be measured against some KPI that were set at the time the person was engaged to work. Hopefully such KPI’s will be a mixture of qualitative and quantitative

People can be very poor at setting objectives and need much assistance. SettingS.M.A.R.T objectives when someone starts work that they create and own will assist with the review when it happens. 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

See what difference you can make in your team by following some of the simple advise outline above and good luck!

In Business Coaching, Business Education, Michael Kenihan, Business Tags improve, performance, team, goals