Performance Management is the process of managing performance. With respect to leaders, performance management needs to focus on the what (the results produced) and the how (the leadership skills used).

The performance management cycle starts at the beginning of the fiscal year with a meeting where the leader and the person he/she reports to identify the objectives for the year.

There are two formal meetings to evaluate progress against these objectives, one midyear and the other at the end of the year. Throughout the year, on a regular basis, the leader and his/her supervisor participate in a series of meetings with a developmental focus. Positive and constructive feedback is given and discussed and developmental advice and suggestions are provided as a guide to achieving objectives.

For leaders, the annual meeting to set the objectives for the year culminates in a Performance Management agreement. This agreement can play an important role in focusing on leaders’ growth and development. For example, the agreement could include:

  • Targets with respect to gender equality;
  • Measures to do with regional integration;
  • Improvements in employee morale;
  • Increased team productivity;
  • Greater participation in horizontal files;
  • Success in leading change;
  • Modelling work/life balance; and
  • Degree to which the leader develops employees through stretch assignments.
There are many models and tools for giving effective feedback. The advice which most experts provide is: give feedback frequently, give it close to any events you want to provide feedback about, be specific, be balanced in highlighting positive and constructive comments, ask lots of questions and spend more time on development versus assessment. One model for structuring the conversation is below:

The GROW model, a framework for your feedback conversations:

Goal Open the feedback conversation by discussing what you both would like to achieve in the conversation.
Reality Ask the leader what they noticed about their performance? What they liked? Share what you liked about it?
Options Ask the leader: what could you do differently? Offer any suggestions you have.
Way forward Ask the leader: what will you do in the future based on our discussion today?
Many leadership programmes tend to focus on fact and theory, being a non-participative, functional exercise in knowledge transfer, typified by a series of presentations and case-studies rather than any meaningful personal development opportunities. Leadership development focused on Transformational leaders needs to be more than an exercise in information download. Instead, it needs to be a dynamic process where participants learn theories and tools apply them in work situations and build on their experience in action.

In experiential learning, the focus is on action followed by reflection, learning and then cycling back to action.

Examples of experiential learning include: on the job assignments, stretch and rotating assignments, job shadowing, interactive leadership development exercises and training programmes.

Continuous learning is a lifelong process which recognizes that all leader’s need to participate in training, learning and development throughout their careers. Continuous learning is characterized by continual improvement through the acquisition and application of new ideas, knowledge and insights to find better ways of reaching our objectives. A continuous learning policy sets out the commitments of leaders to learning and the organization’s commitment to providing opportunities throughout a leader’s career for continuous learning and improvement.
A Transformational Leadership Competency profile may be used as the basis for selection, learning and development, performance and talent management of leaders. The competency profile defines the behaviours expected of leaders in the organization. Transformational leaders the competencies are often clustered into key themes, including:

  • Creating a vision & strategy
  • Mobilizing people& leading teams
  • Upholding integrity and respect
  • Collaborating with Partners and Stakeholders
  • Promoting innovation and guiding change
  • Achieving results
Talent management is a process for developing high potential leaders for positions for which they are suited. Talent management requires specific competency-based training programs and on-the-job experiences designed to develop high potential emerging leaders. To support an experience-driven approach to this development some organisations identify a set of experiences that high potential emerging leaders should have. Others reserve specific jobs for the purpose of developing leadership potential.

Succession planning ensures there is a pool of highly qualified leaders ready to step into senior leadership roles when the need arises. Succession planning includes five main component steps:

  1. Identify critical positions
  2. Identify key competencies
  3. Assess people
  4. Create developmental plans
  5. Evaluate people

Both talent management and succession planning ensure that your organisation is well-positioned for success in the future. Both processes need to be conducted regularly and are often included in the annual performance management cycle.

Caribbean Leadership Project
Cave Hill School of Business
University of the West Indies
Cave Hill Campus
P.O. Box 64, Bridgetown, BB11000, Barbados
+1 246 417 3152