One essential skill that every leader should have revolves around the ability to assess his or her team. A leader is truly only as good as his followers and his ability to motivate and inspire those followers – and the truth is that some people are simply not team players, nor are they able to be. While it might be a little harsh to suggest that a leader “cull the herd” under some circumstances – Ernest Shackleton and his heroic leadership on some of his Antarctic expeditions comes to mind – for the leader of a business these types of difficult decisions sometimes need to be made, for the good of the team and the company overall. In order to make the right decisions, a leader needs to have some assessment tools at his disposal.
In order to properly assess your team, you should know what each person is responsible for and what the definition of success in that role is. After all, it’s not quite fair to tell someone they’re performing poorly when it’s not clear what they should be doing! This means that before you begin any kind of assessment activities, you should make sure that roles and responsibilities are not just clearly defined, but that each person is aware of what his role is in the team, that those are more than just words on paper in a manual or on a computer somewhere. It helps to have documentation that each person has signed, acknowledging an understanding of what his responsibilities are.
Those responsibilities should also come with key performance metrics, whether these are quantitatively measurable or not. Some metrics can be easy to define – increased sales, more customers, lower turnover, etc. Some, however, can be more elusive, and so it is your responsibility as the leader of the team to determine appropriate metrics against which each person can be measured and assessed.
Furthermore, you as the leader should also set specific expectations, with the use of timelines, critical path spreadsheets, and similar analytical tools that will keep your team on track. You should make sure that you enable the easy rendering of progress reports, via weekly meetings that allow everyone to check in with other members of the team and make sure that everyone is on track. You do not want to throw out to your team their assignments and then check back with them in two months to see if they’ve accomplished those tasks, without checking in in the interim to see if any issues have cropped up.
Finally, in the assessment phase, you should focus on gathering 360 feedbacks, which means that each person will be assessed not only by you, but also by his peers and subordinates if there are any. This provides a more complete picture of each person’s strengths and weaknesses, and ensures a fair assessment. PMCAMPUS offers a 5 PDU Leadership Assessment Course which can help you best assess your team, deal with issues that arise amidst a project and help you to ultimately further your career.