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How to be a Purposeful Leader During Performance Reviews

Business leader conducting performance management review at desk with employee.

By exhibit­ing these five behav­iours dur­ing per­for­mance reviews, man­agers can seri­ous­ly boost performance

A recent study by Sus­sex Uni­ver­si­ty has con­firmed that a pur­pose­ful leader can make all the dif­fer­ence when it comes to employ­ee per­for­mance, com­mit­ment, reten­tion and engage­ment. It all comes down to a clear vision, integri­ty and qual­i­ty com­mu­ni­ca­tion — all of which should be present dur­ing reg­u­lar per­for­mance reviews.

The Sus­sex study showed that when lead­ers dis­play pur­pose­ful’ behav­iours, busi­ness­es ulti­mate­ly enjoy a diverse range of per­for­mance ben­e­fits. But how can man­agers be more pur­pose­ful? More­over, how can they demon­strate this pur­pose­ful­ness dur­ing employ­ee per­for­mance reviews? These are key ques­tions to ask, giv­en that only one in five UK boss­es feel they can describe them­selves as a pur­pose­ful leader. Below are five key com­po­nents to keep in mind dur­ing your reg­u­lar per­for­mance dis­cus­sions that can turn your pur­pose­ful­ness into pos­i­tive results.

1. Man­agers need to demon­strate strong morals

Before employ­ees can real­ly com­mit them­selves to a role or an organ­i­sa­tion, they need to have faith in their man­agers — that they have a firm set of morals and that they have integrity.

Accord­ing to one study, 45% of employ­ees have stat­ed that lack of trust in lead­er­ship is affect­ing their work per­for­mance — and trust is some­thing that com­pris­es two-thirds of the cri­te­ria when decid­ing Fortune’s 100 Best Com­pa­nies to Work For’. Lack of trust between man­ag­er and employ­ee can lead to high turnover and low morale. After all, a trust­wor­thy man­ag­er makes you feel secure and encour­aged, while a seem­ing­ly decep­tive one will always keep you in doubt. A lack of trust can cer­tain­ly be tied to weak morals, so this is some­thing that should be evi­dent dur­ing per­for­mance discussions.

Com­pa­ny lead­ers must start by deter­min­ing their own com­pa­ny val­ues and morals — a crit­i­cal foun­da­tion of any per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem. Com­pa­ny val­ues should be well-known, trans­par­ent and shared. They should feed into per­son­al devel­op­ment plan­ning and be ref­er­enced when giv­ing feed­back on per­for­mance. Once these com­pa­ny val­ues are under­stood and demon­strat­ed by man­age­ment, employ­ees will know what is expect­ed of them and their man­agers, and the company’s morals will trick­le down through­out the organisation.

See Why Our Performance Management Software is Different

2. Man­agers need to have (and share) short-term and long-term visions for the company

Per­for­mance reviews aren’t only an oppor­tu­ni­ty for employ­ees to share. They also pro­vide man­agers with the chance to dis­cuss com­pa­ny objec­tives and organ­i­sa­tion­al direc­tion. This shouldn’t be kept secret from your employ­ees, or they will feel super­flu­ous and frus­trat­ed. After all, it’s well known that organ­i­sa­tion­al suc­cess is often linked with a clear mis­sion state­ment and strong val­ues.

There are ways to get your employ­ees excit­ed about your busi­ness vision. You need to start by being trans­par­ent and open, even about dif­fi­cult aspects or chal­lenges that the com­pa­ny is fac­ing. Answer employ­ee ques­tions — this will show them that you, as a leader, have a pur­pose and you are work­ing towards very def­i­nite goals.

3. Dur­ing per­for­mance reviews, man­agers need to show how employ­ees fit into this vision

Part of your per­for­mance man­age­ment process will involve the set­ting of SMART objec­tives. When employ­ees are work­ing with their man­agers to agree their per­son­al goals, it is much eas­i­er to do so when they under­stand how they fit into the company’s vision.

This is some­thing that should be cov­ered in detail dur­ing per­for­mance reviews. Empir­i­cal research states that when employ­ees under­stand their over­all role in a busi­ness, 91% will work towards its suc­cess. When man­agers don’t take the time to elab­o­rate on this, this fig­ure drops to just 23%.

Employ­ees need to be able to see how their objec­tives feed into com­pa­ny goals. They will then be able to make deci­sions on a dai­ly basis that will ben­e­fit the com­pa­ny in mean­ing­ful ways.

4. Man­agers need to be com­mit­ted to their employees

If you want your employ­ees to be loy­al to you, you must be loy­al to your employ­ees and show them they are not dis­pens­able. Employ­ees want to feel they mat­ter to their com­pa­ny, and it fos­ters an atmos­phere of belong­ing and teamwork.

There are a num­ber of ways man­agers can pur­pose­ful­ly demon­strate their com­mit­ment to their employ­ees dur­ing (and out­side of) per­for­mance reviews. Employ­ees can be offered learn­ing and devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties, man­agers can coach and sup­port them to advance their careers if they are eager to do so, or they can con­sid­er flex­i­ble options when it comes to work­ing hours or home commitments.

Of course, employ­ee recog­ni­tion and feed­back also fac­tor in (and per­for­mance man­age­ment soft­ware can help con­sid­er­ably when it comes to recog­nis­ing employ­ee accom­plish­ments in real-time). Fur­ther to this, man­agers should make it clear that they are will­ing to take employ­ee opin­ions on board while being avail­able for in-the-moment com­mu­ni­ca­tion when­ev­er necessary.

5. Man­agers should be con­sis­tent, fair and available

Man­agers should be avail­able for com­mu­ni­ca­tion and feed­back at all times. To ensure per­for­mance is mon­i­tored prop­er­ly and nobody falls through the cracks, each employ­ee and man­ag­er should have catch-ups at least once a month.

Employ­ees should also be con­fi­dent that they have a con­sis­tent expe­ri­ence each and every time they have a check-in. They shouldn’t have to wor­ry about a tem­pera­men­tal man­ag­er who might fly off the han­dle at any minute.

Man­agers need to be fair, reli­able and con­sis­tent at all times. As stat­ed in a Forbes arti­cle, con­sis­ten­cy is the foun­da­tion of sol­id man­age­ment”. It engen­ders employ­ee con­fi­dence and sets their expec­ta­tions. Errat­ic lead­er­ship makes employ­ees ner­vous and will ulti­mate­ly cost you top tal­ent. Though it might not be easy for a leader to fight their nat­ur­al human impuls­es when they are frus­trat­ed, tired or exhaust­ed, it’s nec­es­sary to keep a lev­el head in order to be per­ceived as a pur­pose­ful, sol­id leader.

Clear Review offers a free one-to-one meet­ing tem­plate to help you con­duct fair­er and more pro­duc­tive employ­ee reviews. To find out how our inno­v­a­tive employ­ee appraisal soft­ware can turn employ­ees into high-per­form­ing, engaged and deter­mined team play­ers, book a demo today.