Leading a Team
Everyone who leads a team of people at the University, no matter how small a team, is a leader (by definition). This applies to all teams - academic, support, etc.
Although leadership was not necessarily seen as a major issue in Higher Education until a few years ago, in the current environment and with a need to focus on priority areas good leadership, at all levels, has a major impact on performance and on the overall University capability to achieve the priorities laid out in “A Clear Future”.
Implicit in the role of all leaders are management fundamentals - the basic standard of management expected of everyone who leads a team.
The management fundamental (outlines below) should be part of your objectives if you manage other people.
- Communicate regularly with the team to ensure understanding of team direction and individual roles in the context of School / Department / Research Institute plans
- Build an effective team through the role modelling of RGU leadership behaviours
- Manage work allocation, workload balance and resource needs of the team
- Manage performance of and provide constructive feedback to team members
- Responsibility for health, safety and risk management
For the leader of a team the Employee Performance Review should be an integral part of managing the team; it wouldn’t be possible to manage a team effectively without a good handle on how work is being done and tasks achieved. This applies equally to areas such as delivery of a course module, achieving research funding, upgrading an IT system, etc.
In this context reviewing performance should become a routine task, usually through regular informal discussions. This approach tends to lead to shorter formal reviews and a “no surprises” outcome – better for everyone involved.
In addition the leadership behaviours define the areas that leaders need to focus on in the context of continually improving and developing their leadership skills.
Leaders at all levels play a critical role in explaining School / Department / Research Institute plans and their link to University strategy, as well as translating local plans into priorities and tasks for employees – a significant number of which may involve elements of change or re-focusing.
Role of Executive Management in the EPR process
- Overall responsibility for the performance management process; commitment to the process, leading by example
- Coaching direct reports to ensure alignment of the performance management process with the annual planning cycle, and that people devote enough time to this issue, particularly implementation in 2nd Q 2010
- Ensure that high quality, workable objectives are set for direct reports and cascaded in line with the review cycle; as a result personal objectives ‘from top to bottom’ should be consistently tied to overall institutional objectives and those of the school/department
- Ensure that performance at School / Department / Research Institute, team, and individual level is actively managed, with effective feedback and direction
- Oversee the bi-annual audits of performance reviews via a 10% sample within their areas of responsibility, using a ‘best practice’ standard
- High level guidance to direct reports on strategic staff development priorities to maintain alignment to institution-level priorities
Role of the Head of School / Department / Research Institute in the EPR process
Overall responsibility for performance management within their team
Ensure that School / Department / Research Institute plans are aligned with “ A Clear Future”, and that such plans are communicated and understood by the team
Ensure that plans are translated into sub-team and individual objectives, with particular focus on how and when these will be achieved
Ensure that the School / Department / Research Institute complies with the timing and deadlines within the performance management cycle
Lead by example to ensure adequate review and feedback, ideally involving quarterly meetings with each direct report
Ensure that all managers within the School / Department / Research Institute (defined as anyone who manages and appraises people) have objectives that include the management fundamentals as standard
Ensure that the training and development plan is balanced to ensure school / department priorities guide allocation of training and development resources
Role of the Reviewer
In the EPR process the reviewer has clear responsibilities, particularly with regard to leading the process. Specific responsibilities are:
Managing the overall review process for their employees – timeline, milestones
Completing the forms and updating with any new comments
Maintaining good communication and regular contact with employees
Dealing with issues as they arise, not just in review meetings
Working with employees to establish how objectives will be achieved, agree meaningful timelines, milestones and review dates.
Ensuring employees have the time / resources to achieve the objectives set
Agreeing and resourcing development plans with reviewee in the context of higher level plans and after consolidated review at school / department
Role of the Reviewee
Although the reviewer should take the lead in planning for and arranging the review process, it is important that the reviewee also plays their part – particularly with regard to their contribution to the conversation and their expectations for the future. Reviewees are responsible for:
Maintaining awareness of objectives and working to achieving them
Recognising the importance of behavioural attributes, and self-reflecting with regard to improvement areas
Attending and fully contributing to review meetings
Filling in the self-appraisal form
Identifying development needs (recognising the need for alignment with School / Department / Research Institute needs
Raising concerns as the appropriate time