One of the most common challenges of senior executives is managing the performance of their teams. Leaders of the most successful teams do three things well:
- Develop and communicate a clear, consistent strategy, plan and vision on a daily basis.
- Assign tasks and responsibilities that align to the strengths of the individual.
- Manage people with awareness of their individual motivating needs.
A manager’s actions directly influence the motivation and energy of his or her team. When a manager operates with a clear plan, manages toward individual strengths and motivates to satisfy personal needs, it creates a culture where all team members feel empowered to accomplish the goals in front of them. By committing to these three steps, managers will gain the strongest commitment and drive their teams towards improved performance in measurable ways.
1. Communicate the vision
Lacking a clear strategy and vision or failing to communicate that vision effectively can have negative consequences on team results. It’s essential to lay the groundwork of open communication. A few typical examples that employees feel confused or lack clarity in this area include:
- Departments that need to work together yet follow different paths because they aren’t brought together by a common goal;
- Large amounts of management time are wasted discussing competing versions of where the organization should be heading;
- The same problems are unknowingly being attacked by different departments yielding conflicting outcomes and inappropriate allocation of resources.
2. Align responsibilities to strengths
Ask any manager about the secret to workplace performance and chances are that one of the top answers will be, “having the right people in the right jobs.” Many employees struggle under the burden of trying to perform an assigned task for which they are ill equipped. For managers, it doesn’t make sense to force a project or task on someone who will not do it well, especially if there is someone else available with the skills and/or personality to succeed. A few examples of poor fit between an individual and the role include:
- When you ask a naturally risk-averse person to take on a project that requires high levels of change and to make decisions with incomplete information. This sets their natural decision making system against itself, creating personal immobility and stress.
- When people who had previously been action-oriented stop achieving results as expected.
- Incomplete projects from a manager who has historically always been on top of their responsibilities. People generally put off until last those projects they are least able to perform successfully.
- Uncharacteristic irritability and frustration from a team member. Working against one’s natural strengths can cause stress and “acting out” on the part of those who are forced to significantly sustain those changes.
Good managers understand individuals are motivated differently. The ability to uncover and use behavioral insight to develop a working relationship has significant impact on performance. Therefore, when a manager fails to understand an employee’s motivating needs, it can lead to high levels of disengagement and poor productivity.
Behavioral assessments provide that inside look into the motivating needs of individuals, empowering the manager with the necessary insights to communicate a common purpose and clear goals effectively, determine strong job/project fit based on the behavioral requirements of the job, and to motivate individuals effectively based on individual style.
Article by Tom Cox.