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How to Balance Personal Billings and Team Performance – Part 2: Developing the Individuals in your Team

How to Balance Personal Billings and Team Performance – Part 2: Developing the Individuals in your Team

Written by James Osborne

Last edited May 3, 2023

How to Balance Personal Billings and Team Performance – Part 2: Developing the Individuals in your Team

Getting the most out of the individuals within your team is a challenging task, it takes a certain amount of strategy, care, understanding and technique. Well we have them all laid out for you to use in the second part of our Balance Personal Billings and Team Performance series.Our first article on our ‘How to Balance Personal Billings and Team Performance’ journey was on the first of three components that you need to balance as a billing manager.

In our series of blogs that are coming up we will visit each of the 3 components that you need to balance in order to be a successful billing manager based on our experience of working with over 1000 recruitment business in the last 10 years.

These 3 key components are:

‘Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity’ – Henry Hartman

So, now let’s dive into how to develop the individuals within your team. Let’s start from the beginning…

Hiring the right people

Hiring the right people from the start is key to having successful and high performing individuals to make up your team, but that is easier said than done. Ironically as recruiters and experts in talent sourcing, we are often not as good as we should be. Why – 3 reasons:

  • We haven’t worked out what we’re looking for and therefore don’t select against the right profile
  • We don’t invest creatively about our selection process
  • We move fast and are short of time so compromise

During the hiring process, as you will already know, a lot rides on the actual interview. Taking them out of the typical interview style situation will give you a better feel for them as a person, which lends to a more informed hire. The upsides for taking them out with potential future team members is huge.

Embrace social media when it comes to hiring too, and by this we don’t mean post lots of job ads on your social profiles. Lots of potential candidates will check out your social media pages before getting in touch, applying for a role or coming for an interview. They will be looking to get an inside view of what it is like to work at your company, so post some insights to draw interest and more informed candidates.  Focus the messaging on the emotional reasons for joining you more than the rational.

Hiring is ultimately the most important part of developing a strong team – bring the right talent in, in the first place.

Personality Profiling

Personality profiling and psychometric tests, such as that offered by Thomas International, are a great way to get an objective view of the person, rather than a subjective opinion. Having this extra information on the person you are hiring is such an advantage, as it will help you visualise where they sit best in the team and how they may compliment your current team members. It gives you a deeper insight into what they are genuinely like as a person, their strengths, weaknesses and so much more. This information is also invaluable when it comes to developing them further as an individual. It’s also powerful for onboarding them faster (because you understand them and can support their behavioural weaknesses.

Understanding your Teams’ Motivations

There are studies that show something slightly unexpected when it comes to what motivates us. When people are faced with a mechanical task with a reward on offer, the higher the reward, the higher the performance, as expected, nothing strange there. But when faced with a rudimentary cognitive task, bigger rewards lead to poorer performance, which is completely unexpected.

Dan Pink explains this extremely well in his animated video ‘The Surprising Truth about what Motivates us’ which is uploaded to our Recruitment Expertise Dashboard (REX).

Through these studies it is suggested that there are 3 other factors which lead to better performance and self-satisfaction with cognitive tasks. These three factors are:

  • Autonomy- to be self-directed, come up with ideas themselves
  • Mastery- the reason why many people learnt to play a musical instrument for example, we want to be good at something
  • Purpose- people want to know what they are working towards, without this it all seems pointless

Unengaged, unmotivated individuals will not perform well, which will affect your whole team. Assessing your team, from a performance and personality type point of view, will ensure you set a benchmark and understand their motivations, therefore improving their performance. We have a part of our Leadership Course and Trailblazers we offer a free, easy to use tool called Motivational Bingo, which helps you understand the big 5 motivators for any consultant.

Performance Management

Performance management doesn’t just mean the formal annual review, there is much more to it than that. Yes, the annual review has its place, but as its name suggests it should be kept annually, and not more frequent than this. Too many formal reviews can actually have a negative affect on performance as opposed to a positive one.

On the flip side, more casual feedback should be frequent. Rather than waiting for an annual review, it has been shown that people appreciate regular constructive feedback. The emphasis should be on the person’s strengths and positives, praising them too when they have done well at something.

Even a simple ‘well done on that last piece on work’ in a passing comment works well, it doesn’t haven’t to wait until you are reviewing their performance. These passing comments, although very much appreciated by those that receive them, they are often forgotten.

Keeping track of performance is a great way to motivate the members of your team. Remembering where they started, where they are today and where they are going is excellent.

Dealing with Poor Performance

So, one of your team is under performing, what do you do? Dealing with their poor performance can be a delicate area and needs to be managed carefully. It is not something that should be put off, it will definitely be easier to deal with sooner rather than later. Caught early enough, hopefully it won’t have caused too much of an issue and can be resolved quickly.

First thing is first, check that you have been clear and that they have understood what it is that they are meant to be doing. Any misunderstanding could be a root cause of under-performance. You both could be looking at the performance from different angles and not getting the same outcome. Have a relaxed chat with them to start, and listen, don’t talk too much.

Feedback can be delicate and must be handled with strategy and care


Once you have listened to their side and what they think they should be doing it is time to give feedback. Feedback needs to be specific. Vague feedback is not helpful. If the person hasn’t understood where they are going wrong how are they meant to fix it? Feedback also needs to be constructive. Give examples of how they could do something differently if they are struggling to understand.

Example of bad feedback: 

“You have submitted your work late and it is wrong. I didn’t ask for that.”

Example of good feedback: 

“Thank you for getting that work back to me. After looking at the work, however, I think there may have been a misunderstanding. I was after ………… rather than …………… and I seem to remember asking for it to be with me by yesterday.”

On establishing the reasons for the under-performance, it is time to help them to get on the right track. Plug any skills gaps and help them to learn as much as they can to improve their performance. Maybe scheduling in some time for you both to sit down and go over anything they do not understand or would like to learn. This puts a plan together to start tackling the gaps of knowledge.

Whenever dealing with poor performance, you should always give the person the benefit of the doubt. If they do not understand still, it may be how you are explaining something, so think about trying to explain things differently.

Allow them time to learn too. Some people pick things up quicker than others, and everyone cannot be expected to know everything.

Praising Good Performance

It is important to recognise when someone has done something well too. All too often the positives are forgotten or expected day in, day out, but they shouldn’t be. A good leader of a team will recognise, celebrate and enjoy their teams’ successes with them. This will boost performance and make your team members feel appreciated, and they will want to better next time. Also encourage the rest of your team to recognise each other’s achievements and celebrate with them.

Support Innovation and Creativity

Innovation is essential to stay ahead of the curve, with the most successful teams and businesses staying flexible. Setting up the right environment for innovation and creativity to grow and develop, with the right support in place is the best way to encourage it. Demanding your staff to be creative and come up with ideas on how you can develop business and grow is not going to work.

Brainstorming sessions with a ‘no idea is a bad idea’ rule is a great way to get everyone to open up and start to be creative. Multiple minds are better than one, and everyone thinks differently. Common issues or challenges faced by the team may find solutions in these types of sessions, which will put you ahead of the competition, if they are plugging along demanding creativity and solutions.


Allowing autonomy within your team could actually improve performance too, enabling them to try out the ideas that they have come up with in their brainstorming sessions. This works well for both parties too, you and them. Passing some responsibility to your team on some things gives you more time to concentrate on others things, but also makes your team members feel trusted and appreciated.

Take Home Message: Gives constructive feedback regularly, whilst providing an environment for innovation and creativity. Know your team members, what motivates them, and their strengths and weaknesses in order to help their progression and improve performance.

A coaching led approach will get them thinking for themselves (more of that another day)

Key takeaways:

  • Ensure absolute clarity -set expectations
  • Focus on positive and consistent feedback
  • Make them know you genuinely care

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