The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
One of your main activities as a manager is to get your people performing to their best abilities. Unless you’re a one-man-band, you need people to contribute to the overall effectiveness of the business. After all, that’s what you pay them for.
But how can you drive that quality performance? How can you create the conditions so their performance is as good as it possibly can be?
Firstly, build a compelling, shared vision and direction. Challenging and clear objectives build energy into people, and engage them into sharing their abilities and energies on the team. Talk to them about why and what you are trying to achieve, but let them consider the how.
Then, put an enabling structure together. This means allowing people’s strengths to shine through. Build those strengths around each other, so you have complimentary ideas running parallel to each other.
Then, set up a reward system that will drive motivation. Give information that will encourage participation and help them accept responsibility. Only when they feel they know what’s going on will they accept the responsibility to achieve the goals you are aiming for.
Finally, show empowering leadership. Encourage synergy in the team. None of us is as smart as all of us, so identify how the performance strategies can be changed so that the invention of new processes can drive innovation between team members. Determine which members can be encourages to take on more responsibility, allowing them to feel empowered and keen to share forward-thinking ideas.
All this will encourage people to accept their role in driving performance forward, with your encouragement and support.
Listening to managers at the recent Sales Conference in Coventry, I was struck by how many suffer from poor performance by their team members. This can be demotivating and frustrating for all concerned, so I’ve listed 10 ways that you can get better performance, not only from your team, but also yourself.
When you are manager of a team of people, you carry a heavy responsibility to create an environment for them to perform at their best. If you’re not getting the best out of them, ask yourself how much of the blame you personally have to accept for the results.
Are you helping your team members achieve to the level they know is possible? Do you assist them in building a team culture where they really want to contribute to its success?
Here’s my take on the steps you can implement to achieve a high-performing culture:
• Decide with the team how you are going to build a high-performance culture. Discuss with each team member what they expect from you on a day-to-day basis
• Provide clear expectations and priorities for teamwork and discuss how great team behaviour can be exhibited daily
• Help team members to gain a sense of ownership by sharing the group’s goals, such as productivity, costs, schedule, customer service, production quotas, etc. Let team members help you in tracking what is important progress measurements
• Let team members help in problem-solving. If you deal with other departments, help team members set up cross-departmental improvement groups to ascertain how each department can assist each other
• Let team members have input to agendas for team meetings and have the chance to lead the meetings at times
• If you have a new account or new project, solicit the help of team members in detailing what direction they should take to make the project a success. The more ownership they have of results, the committed they feel to making it work
• Keep lines of communication open. Include team members in plans, processes, results, challenges and project development. Let them see customer feedback. Highlight the relationships with other departments. Tell them what higher management strategies mean to them as a team. Communicate the state of the business, and the part they can play in it.
• Encourage a team ‘code of conduct’ that will develop a team ethos for working together. Ask them what they think a professional team would look like. See if you can get a short film of a Formula One pit-stop team working together. What do they need to do to produce such stunning results? How much do they rely on each other? What can they learn from the pit-stop team that would work in their situation?
• Provide good coaching sessions to each team member so that they feel part of the development of the team and can contribute to their team’s multi-skilling opportunities
If you are able to nurture your team to accept responsibility for the results they achieve, you create a culture of belief in them that will help them go from strength to strength and build a firm foundation for excellence in all they do.