Definition of Performance Management


Definition of Performance Management 


You must have a clear and practical definition of performance management if you want to purposefully manage the performance of your direct reports, in order to lead them to peak performance.

Before you ask yourself what is performance management, let me define the meaning of “performance” for you:

Performance is the sum of behavior plus results: 

Performance = Behavior + Results

When you are looking at performance, it is necessary to focus on both, on behavior and on results:

  • If you only focus on behaviors, you won’t notice if you don’t get desired results
  • And if you only focus on results, you won’t notice HOW your direct reports are getting those results

Remember this simple formula – it’s very easy to recall it and it is extremely useful.

The definition of performance management then, is the systematic and periodic assessment of your direct report’s behaviors and results.

Now, despite the fact that this definition of performance management is accurate, objective, and practical, it is useless.

This definition by itself won’t help you get very far in managing the performance of your employees.

Together with this definition of performance management, you also need to know what performance management is for.

Performance Management Goals

What is performance management for? In other words, what are the goals of performance management?

Performance management has two goals:

  1. The first goal is to create competency in your people – competency refers to the adequate skills your direct reports need in order to achieve desired performance.
  2. The second goal is to create growth in your employees – growth refers to the development of skills of your direct reports in order to exceed desired performance and be able to move to increasingly difficult assignments.

Translation number one:

Performance management means that your job—as the boss—is two-fold:

  1. First, it is to help your direct reports be able to do current tasks
  2. Second, it is to help them grow professionally

The more you do this well, your team will become gradually stronger, and your team will deliver better results.

Translation number two:

As the manager that you are, doing performance management well will help you grow as a leader tremendously (to lead – among other tasks – is to grow people).

Since you get paid to deliver results—from your own perspective and from the organization's perspective—performance management is not an option.

Translation number three:

Performance management is an ongoing process.

Performance management is not a once in a while one-time event, like performance appraisal for example. If it were, it would be impossible to achieve your two performance management goals.


By keeping these two elements ("Definition of Performance" and the two performance management "Goals") in your definition of performance management, you will be able to maintain objectivity and effectiveness in your performance management endeavors.

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