1 Continuously improve your system. Although improving the overall corporate system where you work may be out of the question, there is always a way to control the elements that determine whether performance management fails or succeeds, according to Robert Bacal, the author of How to Manage Performance. From identifying what you want the system to do, to finding out if these goals are being achieved and problem-solving once this is under way, plenty of options are at hand. 2 Be specific about performance. Because people rely on having specific information about their job performance in order to be able to improve, this should be a no-brainer. Not all managers remember the value of clarity. 3 Pick the brains of departing workers, writes Morey Stettner, the author of The New Manager's Handbook. 'When an employee quits, you have a golden opportunity to learn how to do your job better,' Mr Stettner writes. Why? People about to depart tend to speak their minds, so smart questions are usually rewarded with helpful feedback, however embittered the speaker. 4 Lift poor and mediocre performers. Rather than showing weak team members the door, propel them instead towards achieving better results. By tolerating shoddy or half-hearted work, you will send the message that your standards are easy to meet, and will inevitably bring out the worst in yourself en route. 5 Muzzle your mouth. Rather than witter on or dominate conversations, sit back and listen. Not only will your words be treated as a precious resource, according to Stettner, silence will enhance your power and you will be viewed as someone who only speaks when you have something to say. It can also help calm people's nerves and give them a chance to reflect, rather than rush into a conversation like a bull in a china shop.