Leading Effective Teams: Evaluating Performance

Over the past few weeks we’ve talked about building teams and we’ve looked at some effective ways to lead those teams.  Now we turn our focus to the importance of evaluation.  As Socrates said in Plato’s Apology, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”  In that same vein, the unexamined team is not as effective as it could be.

Leading from appropriate conceptual frameworks is important. However, a mechanism must also be in place to evaluate that leadership as well as the team’s overall performance. If not, there is no way to verifiably say that the team has been successful or served its purpose. For the purposes of this series, success is defined as achieving the teams overall objective or purpose. An evaluation of success includes examination of the leader, individual team members, and the team as a whole. Evaluation stems from accountability. From its inception, the team should operate within an environment of accountability. In fact, Patrick Lencioni has noted lack of accountability as characteristic of a dysfunctional team.

The parameters that the team holds itself accountable to and uses for evaluation should be agreed upon at the beginning of team development so that all team members understand what performance measures they will be held to and how their individual performance, and overall team performance, will be evaluated. As an added bonus, this discussion and opportunity to agree upon accountability and performance measures can assist in developing the culture of trust discussed earlier. Several pre-developed tools can be found to assist in team evaluation. However, the Harvard Business School has provided check lists that can be helpful in evaluating team performance.  You can find those here.