As a leader you need to know how your staff perform. You can benchmark them against each other picking out your top performers and those that need to shape up. You judge them based on productivity reports but also on what you have seen in the day to day runnings. You can comfortably gauge your employees so there will be no surprises in planning.
Of course, your employees completely agree with your viewpoint, right?
This all comes down to the self-fulfilling prophecy. However much you want a staff member to improve their performance, if you believe they are an under-performer, it will show through in your actions. On the other hand, you may have full confidence in someone you think is a high performer. They may actually be struggling.
Stop judging your employees!
While this works for an individual who you judge worthy it has the completely opposite effect on everyone else. It can be a real disengager. To balance out the issue of “favourites” don’t focus on performance but focus on improvement. If you think everyone can perform and then focus on their improvement your actions toward them will be completely different. It will allow you to continually challenge each of your team to outperform without the pressure of a target. It will build sustainable performance. It will build engagement. It will build trust and loyalty. Used correctly it will build a learning organisation/team.
So rather than wanting your team to perform at a certain level, just want them to improve. No matter how they are performing only focus your actions on improvement. Your mindset will control your actions. And that will speak volumes.