Every leader wants a team of high performing professionals in their organisation. How you achieve that is the big question. I’ve written previously about what I consider are the three big motivators – Engage, Empower and Elevate that will see you achieving that.
There are also many other skills that can enhance your leadership. I have selected six that when developed and enhanced are the ones that I believe will bring the most significant outcomes. Those of you who know my work will know that my focus is on the soft skills needed for leadership.
Six Ways Leaders Can Create High Performing Professionals
Motivate High Performance
As I’ve said above, every leader wants a team of high performing people who bring 150% of themselves to work and who work WITH you, not just FOR you. Traditional performance management approaches rarely produce these kinds of people, this kind of commitment. You can, however, skill yourself to make a shift that has the potential to inspire high performance and this type of commitment. It’s a shift from managing performance to motivating it, not with extrinsic, reward and punishment motivators, but rather by creating a pro-active, empowered, “can do” culture that inspires intrinsic motivation.
Be The Coach, Not The Critic.
One of the greatest challenges for leaders is how to improve the performance of your employees without criticising them and finding they dis-engage. Being the coach, you help them discover and work with their strengths and perform at their highest level. They experience their own growth and development and you, as coach, affirm it. Learning, and beginning to use, basic coaching skills you will experience the significant difference a coaching approach makes to enhancing the performance of your people. Coaching is solution focused and result oriented, self-directed, collaborative, systematic, positive and pro-active. What more could you want!
Rethink Performance Appraisals
There is no other business practice that fails so often to bring about the outcomes it sets for itself, yet continues to be used year after year. This ceremonial event of the year, the performance appraisal, costs an extensive amount of money and produces a mountain of paper work. Managers dread them and few handle them well. Employees are intimidated by them and resent them. It is time for a rethink and if you lead this with your people, looking at alternative approaches to enhance and motivate their performance you are far more likely to get better performance improvements.
Lead With The Brain In Mind
As a leader today you cannot afford to ignore the discoveries of neoro-science and its insights on how your leadership style impacts employees’ performance. The insights gained from neuro-leadership show you what happens unconsciously in the brains of your employees when they feel their performance is unfairly critiqued or threatened by your approach and therefore why they react negatively to you , or even disengage. On the positive side, however, the science also shows, how learning the skills that enable you to change your approach will see you build relationships of trust, that motivate higher performance and see them want to give that 150% you would like them to give.
Manage The Low Performer
With only 24% of employees engaged, this is a vitally important role for you as a leader in improving productivity, enhancing morale and restoring to your employees the meaning and purpose they aren’t getting from their work. Yet most leaders delay, even avoid for as long as possible, having the difficult conversations they need to have with their low performer if their performance is to be improved. Becoming aware of your own motivations here and understanding the motivations of your employee, will make you aware of the skills you need to develop to have those difficult conversations in a way that motivates, rather than disengages your employee even further.
Lead Pro-Actively Through Change
Many studies have shown that 70% of organisational change fails to make a lasting impact because it focuses on changing the organisational structure, policies and systems, rather than changing the behaviours, attitudes and mindsets of the people who it calls upon to implement the change. You as a leader need to identify and become aware of what is happening for your employees when they have change thrust upon them without them being involved in the process. This is the first step in gaining their trust for the process. There are soft leadership skills that you can learn that will see you able to engage with your employees in a way that lessens the threat for them and opens the way for them to engage constructively with you and your change process.