Einstein was once quoted as saying that ‘an idea should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler’. Sounds like pretty good advice to us.

I have to admit, I originally set out to write this article about ways to improve performance management processes, afterall most people find the concept of performance management to be frustrating in many ways. However as you will soon discover, this post is now mostly about ways to simplify the idea of performing on the job without making things too complicated. There is already plenty of things that are too complicated.

Keeping it simple

If you are an employee, your performance is likely to be managed in some way. Some performance management solutions and approaches, whilst being moderately effective, add significant amounts of complexity to an already complicated world. Who really wants to spend time doing ‘reviews’ when they are proven to not be all that effective in driving future performance? Not me.

The trick is to become more proactive about your own performance. Rather than someone managing your performance, commit to yourself that you will be the one setting the tone. Manage your own performance to standards higher than those expected from your supervisor/boss. Clever bosses will then figure out that you are making their life easier, and their job simply becomes to remove any blocks in your way so you can keep going. You are making those around you look good, which in turn makes you stand out. People love working with and hiring people who make them look good.

In other words, rather than viewing performance as something that needs to be reviewed, we consider it to be something that needs guiding in real-time. The past is not something that can be changed, but the present certainly can be.

Making adjustments in real-time

Why do some people perform well at work and others not?

Scratch the surface and you will start to see how difficult this question is to answer. Is it the fault of the employee (a problem of skill or will), or the fault of the employer (a problem of process, skill or will)?

Like many people, you will probably reach the conclusion that it’s a bit of both. If you take control of your own performance, you are going to be making things easier for those around you, who in turn will give you more of the time and resources you need to do an even better job.

Highlight what you need help with now.

We often hear stories about people who were disappointed that their supervisor/boss didn’t give them the help they needed. But when asked ‘did you actually tell your boss you needed help’, they say no. Very few of us have the ability to read minds properly, and so this is another simple piece of performance advice. Rather than waiting for someone to give you the help you need, make sure you let the appropriate people know what you need.

Apart from these simple tips, if performing at work is important to you remember to check out our Career Challenge here.

About the Author

Jason Buchanan

Jason is the General Manager of Fllair and part of the leadership team of Optimum Consulting Group.