If your team can’t get meet the established objectives, your days as a leader are numbered. It would be great if your employees came to work each day, happy, ready to work, and performing at their highest level, but this usually isn’t the case. Your job, as a leader, is to get a group of diverse professionals to work together to achieve a common goal – regardless of the obstacles you face.
The following steps can be implemented immediately. They should not require approval from higher up, any additional resources, or training on your part. This is not one hundred ways to motivate your employees. While those suggestions are certainly helpful, your employees aren’t going to produce great results because you bought them a cake on their employment anniversary. They need a strong leader who will provide support and guidance. What you can expect to see in return is a team of employees who produce consistent, positive results. And that, is good for your career.
1. Acknowledge the value that your employee’s provide to the organization. Every job in the company adds value. For any job you think holds little value, consider what would happen if no one performed those duties.
2. Treat your employees with respect. This should be obvious, but unfortunately, it needs to be said. Criticism is expected at work, but it should always be given constructively and at an appropriate time – never in front of others. Also, remember to recognize your employee’s accomplishments and not just their mistakes.
3. Communicate clear expectations. Every employee needs to understand exactly what is expected of them from the start. If you don’t have a formal performance appraisal process in place, establish and communicate your expectations and the affect their performance will have on their salary, as well as opportunities for advancement.
4. Create a plan for improvement. Once your expectations have been communicated, give your employee’s the support that they need to achieve their goals. Give regular feedback do that your employees know where they are performing well and where they need improvement. For those areas needing improvement, create a development plan, together with your employee, outlining specific steps they can take to improve their performance. A great time to do this is immediately following a performance appraisal or as soon as you notice that they aren’t meeting expectations.
5. Remove roadblocks. Occasionally, your employees will encounter roadblocks that hinder their ability to get the job done well. Do what you can to remove these barriers or help them find an alternative solution to the problem so they can focus on meeting their goals.
6. Model the behaviors you want to see in your employees. Your attitude and behavior set an example for those you lead. Is your work ethic lacking? Do you view deadlines as flexible? Your employees will look to you when there is a question as to what is most important. Hold yourself to high standards and your employees will follow.
7. Take a genuine interest in your employee’s professional goals. High-potential employees often have ambitious goals. Encourage them to develop their skills and gain new experiences that will help them advance their careers.
8. Encourage teamwork. I don’t know much about basketball, but I do know this – if one or two players are trying to make all the shots on their own, they won’t score as many points as a team who works together. As a leader, you will be judged on the performance of your team, not just one or two players. Remind everyone that you are first and foremost, a team. Each person will get an opportunity to stand out if they leverage their talents and work together.
9. Remember that your employees have a personal life. While there are times that it may be necessary for work to encroach on your personal life, try not to make it a habit. Everyone needs time away to recharge their batteries, spend time with people they care about and attend to personal matters. This time off will allow your employees to give their full attention to getting results when they are at work.
10. Weed out the non-performers. We all deserve to be successful at work. If you have implemented the suggestions above and you still have employees who are not performing up to par – it’s time to have a candid conversation with them about their future. Is this really where they want to be? If they are committed to this career path, put them on a performance improvement plan and coach them through their development. If not, help them determine where their strengths can be of value, within or outside of the organization.