To evaluate an individual, the process is straightforward. You run through a battery of criteria—reliability, accuracy, timeliness—and grade the person’s behavior and work product accordingly.
Assessing team performance can prove trickier. Unless you set clear goals and educate group members on how you intend to evaluate them, they may not focus their efforts on what matters most.
To produce superior results from your team, craft a set of standards and distribute them at the first meeting in the form of a checklist. Tell participants that you’re going to use the standards as a blueprint for judging their progress, identifying areas for improvement and doling out rewards.
Here are some performance measures that can serve as the basis for your evaluation:
Communication. Group members collaborate well by speaking and listening to each other respectfully. When disagreements arise, teammates adopt a fair, solution-oriented approach and incorporate differing views.
Planning. Before plunging into a complex assignment, the group defines the objectives of the task and clarifies roles so that everyone understands how to proceed. Team members establish ground rules for the process they’ll use to work together effectively.
Execution. The team follows through on its directives in a consistent, diligent manner. Participants finish what they start and stick to stated timetables in implementing tasks. When obstacles arise, they address them head-on and take corrective action. Teammates coach, train and inspire each other to succeed.
Initiative. To achieve ambitious goals, the team takes creative steps and devises better, more efficient procedures and work habits. The group harnesses its collective imagination to envision new solutions and breakthrough ideas.
To get accurate information from employees, pose clear questions. “Are you aware of the rules that govern use of this equipment?” works well. But avoid asking, “Assuming you’re familiar with the rules for using this equipment, are you able to follow them based on your comfort level, attention to detail and technical training?” There are too many yes-no answers buried within this one question.