At first consideration these may seem simplistic, but just as
with a winning sports team, the secret to great success is executing
the basics extraordinarily well. Here is a breakdown of each strategy
including some ideas about how to improve them.
The importance of earning the trust of the people you lead is generally
well-accepted, yet it still remains an issue. Trust is earned by doing
what you say you will do and by being the kind of person you say you
are. It’s not demonstrated by how you act during major events, but
rather in how you act in everyday situations. For example, regularly
being late to meetings demonstrates a lack of integrity. Everyone may
accept it, but it confirms to them that you can’t always be trusted to
If you want to emphasize your integrity and earn a high level
of trust, go out of your way to hold yourself to a higher standard. The
impression it creates will be notable.
Earning respect is one of those things that no one argues with and yet,
some leaders don’t have much respect from their team. The reason is
that you earn respect by showing respect and you demonstrate respect by
how you interact with others. And therein lies the problem. So much of
the way we interact with people is done out of habit. For the most
part, we act and react on autopilot. Consider our previous example of
arriving late to a meeting. Most people don’t do it consciously and in
fact, probably don’t give the act of arriving late much thought at all.
But think of the message it sends to those people sitting and waiting
for their arrival – it communicates a complete lack of respect for
their time and their value.
Since much of how we act is habitual, it’s difficult to catch
our own missteps. A good way to make a change is to enlist the help of
others (who you trust) to point out instances when you act in ways
you’d rather not.
One of the best ways to drive down performance is to tell people what
to do, how to do it and when to do it. When a leader micromanages,
he/she communicates that they don’t value, respect, or trust the people
that report to them. It undermines creativity, initiative and
engagement. Conversely, one of the best ways to drive up performance is
to give people greater autonomy. Basically, when you give people the
freedom to do their work in their own way, you’re treating adult
professionals like adults and professionals. Additionally, giving more
autonomy allows for greater accountability. It’s the best of all worlds.
A key to providing greater autonomy is to have great clarity
as to what needs to be accomplished and in what timeframe. Become clear
about what the outcome should be and then release your attachment as to
how it should get done.
It’s nice to think about having some grand and meaningful purpose, but
in fact, few people do. So rather than hope that everyone wants to
change the world, a key to driving performance is to give people a
sense of purpose to their work – in other words, a “why”. In the
absence of a reason, people will simply go through the motions. An
initiative devoid of a “why” is simply a goal, and no one will get
excited and engaged about something like “doubling sales”.
If you are serious about improving the performance of your
team, you need to provide them with a sense of purpose. “Why what
you’re doing matters.” People are always more motivated when they feel
they are making a difference.
In all of nature, things are either growing or dying. It’s hard for
someone to throw themselves into a dead-end job. If a job lacks
opportunity for personal growth or career growth, the drive to excel
In times of economic challenge and slow business growth, the
opportunities for growth are more limited, but they’re certainly not
absent. A couple of excellent strategies for creating growth
opportunities are delegation and cross-training. When you delegate
effectively, not only do you improve productivity and make that person
more valuable, but you demonstrate that you value them. The same goes
for cross-training – it adds value to the individual, the team, and the
In summary, by focusing on the basics of strong leadership and
executing those strategies well, any leader can elevate the performance
of their team. If getting outside perspective and unbiased insights on
this would help, please give me a call.
About the Author
by Michael Beck, an Executive Coach and Strategist specializing in
employee engagement, executive development, and leadership
effectiveness. Connect on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mjbeck
and visit www.michaeljbeck.com
to learn more.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2014-11-13 09:00:45 in Personal Articles