Ah yes, the dreaded performance review. These meetings have largely been portrayed as necessary evils for employees that include a gut-wrenching inner monologue and not-so-honest discussions. This could not be further from the truth.
People thrive when they know how they’re doing. When their manager takes the time to check-in with them regularly and frequently about their progress and discuss how they can improve, it can be quite empowering (if done well). The annual meeting may not be enough, either. The notion behind the typical annual performance review is always about a raise and since it’s only once a year, a lot can be missed in properly evaluating an employee’s performance. This includes the ability to help them improve.
Focus on your Minimum Viable Product
A company’s MVP is the least amount of service, design, and execution needed to satisfy your initial group of customers. Take some time to go over the iterations of your product/service and analyze their goals. Bring yourself to the company’s current version of the product and test the results. Go full-blown science experiment and create a hypothesis along with a list of notes:
- Does the current amount of input (overheard, processes in place, design, etc.) make sense with the output (the profit, efficiency, etc.)?
- Within your legal department, are there any processes that can be eliminated or simplified?
- What makes someone on your team good at their job?
- Identify the rituals that help your team on a day-to-day basis.
Keep detailed records and go over the results with your team. It’s easy to think that once you manage a team, the best thing to do is start over, but that can be counterproductive and ultimately leads to reinventing the wheel. Work within your MVP and map your progress intelligently. This will give you measurable criteria to use with your one-on-one check-ins.
Create a Feedback Culture
Along with establishing a set process on measuring growth and development and regular check-ins, you’ll want to build feedback into your team. Keep the lines of communication open and honest to make eliminate the following progress-killers:
- Isolated thinking.
- Compliance for compliance-sake.
- Loss of great ideas
Make sure the feedback loop is a two-way street and your team feels empowered enough to come to you about your management style and anything else they might want to discuss. This transparency will allow you to always know the temperature of your team and help you to make intelligent choices at all times.
Since managing includes a ton of soft skills, you might also check out this article for more helpful information.)