How to Accurately Measure Performance: Four Questions for Managers

It’s great that many organizations are taking steps to simplify the performance management process. But simpler processes, agile performance feedback and elimination of labor intensive annual ranking and ratings are not enough.

Organizations still must get reliable, objective feedback from managers about those they lead.

Getting good information across the organization allows leaders to make better comparisons and decisions about promotion, role assignments, development and compensation.

Business researcher and author Marcus Buckingham boils down 4 key questions that managers can reliably answer about those they lead that accurately describe how they are currently performing:

  1. I go to this person when I need extraordinary results.
  2. I choose to work with this person as much as I possibly can.
  3. I would promote this person today if I could.
  4. This person has a performance problem that needs to be addressed now.

Buckingham suggests managers rate their team members on these items using a scale of 1 to 5 (5 = strongly agree, 1 = strongly disagree.)

The results can be used in one-to-one discussions, and they can be discussed and aggregated across the organization. Better data leads to better decisions at the micro and macro levels.

See Buckingham’s brief video for more color commentary. And consider how you can use his questions in your own approach to better manage and communicate your team’s and organization’s performance.

Joe Baker is a Partner with PeopleResults. As a leadership consultant and executive coach, he helps executives and their teams improve their engagement, effectiveness and impact. You can reach him at or on Twitter @JoeBakerJr.