One critical task that a leader should not abdicate is the development of the people they are charged with leading. Improving the performance of employees has ripple effects on the team, the department, and the organisation as a whole.
The benefits are also huge for employees who get to perform better. Their self-efficacy improves, and this builds the confidence to want to do more. This also builds the morale of the entire team when development is made the cornerstone of advancement.
Some managers believe that the employees are sorted, they know what to do. What they fail to realise is that with a new role and irrespective of the level in the organisational hierarchy, there will always be performance gaps that need to be addressed. Even within existing roles, projects and new tasks are allocated that requires the leader to set up the employee for success.
Developing employees is not doing the job for employees as some leaders may want to believe. Your role is to guide, support, challenge, and coach the employees to deliver strong results.
The easiest route that leaders follow is to push employees outside the organisation instead of building their competence. Do not get me wrong, there are instances where the leader will have to part ways with employees if they are not delivering, however, sacking employees should not be done as an excuse for development failures.
Abraham Maslow once said that “to the man who has only a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail”. This should not be the case indeed. Leaders who are committed to building a culture of execution and excellence, invest time and resources into the development of their staff.
Here are a few suggestions that you can consider turning your employees into great performers:
#1. Be clear regarding performance expectations:
This is one of the basic employee needs that leaders must get right. Nothing diminishes the performance of employees like a leader who does not know what he or she wants. Ask yourself:
- what type of behaviours do I expect from my employees?
- what are the results that I am looking for?
- explain the quantity and quality of what you are expecting.
Once you have answered these questions, you will be in the position to set clear and measurable performance expectations.
#2. Leverage the strengths of each employee
You need to establish what your employees are good at. This will assist to identify the square peg in a round hole. Some people are not performing well not for lack of effort but because they are in roles where they cannot optimise their strengths. If there is an opportunity to rotate the team, then do so. This also applies to how your employees learn. Some employees learn by doing, others by reading and others by way of observation.
#3. Provide the right tools
Employees should have the tools they need to perform their jobs. With the right equipment, devices and technology, employees will be able to complete their tasks effectively and efficiently. Work does not have to be laborious because of the lack of the right tools for the right job. Lack of technology also creates duplication, manual intervention, increase the possibility of errors and slows down the speed at which the work needs to be done.
#4. Create an opportunity for face time
Make it part of your monthly planning to schedule work discussions with your employees. This demonstrates to employees that you care about them and that you are invested in their success. Some employees never see their leaders until they are in trouble or only at the end of the performance cycle if they are lucky. The key element of face time is the coaching process. Constantly check for clarity, acknowledge what is going well, provide feedback and identify performance gaps and facilitate gap closure with the employee. Use the face time as an opportunity to hold the employee accountable.
#5. Be the example
“Do as I say and not as I do” mentality has no space as far as improving performance. Employees look towards leaders who are authentic and demonstrate a commitment to their value system. For instance, you cannot expect employees to arrive early at work while you are always late just because you are the boss. Sometimes being in the Gemba (the place where value is added) to experience first-hand what your employees are going through helps to boost their morale.
Effective leaders understand that they can achieve results through others and creating an environment conducive to great performance is their preoccupation.
If you are intrigued by the idea of achieving extraordinary results in your life, I invite you to explore coaching with one of our coaches. Drop us an email on email@example.com.
Tex Hlalele is a Life & Business Coach, Consultant, Speaker and Author of the book Face the person in the mirror. Book Tex for coaching and speaking engagements to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organizational advancement. Get in touch by sending an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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