Excellent team performance is highly correlated with great leaders who communicate effectively. In part it’s due to the leader’s ability to clearly relay to his or her team members their vision and specifically which assignments need to be prioritized to meet the needs of that vision and the particulars and demands of particular tasks. In addition, leaders who meet deadlines will in turn have team members who also stick to them. Leaders who manage stress in their own lives have positive teams with high morale.
As a result, strong leadership is critical to growing his or her teams to perform at their best, including managing under-performers. Here’s the advice I give to my leadership coaching clients on how to grow their teams:
In order to have a high performing team that communicates effectively, the leader must first model the positive behavior he or she wishes for the team to achieve. Failing to model what you want in terms of performance is essentially communicating to your team that they must “do as I say, not as I do.” Similarly if you are stressed, manage it so that you remain cool, calm and collective under pressure. If you struggle with communication, hire a coach to teach you the necessary skills. You are role model for your team in the workplace. Be a model people aspire to emulate.
Delegating effectively can be a challenge for high achievers. But it’s important to remember that by managing out the tasks that you should not be spending your time and energy on your productivity will decrease and negatively affect your team’s performance.
First, you must communicate assignments and expectations with clarity and then have the person you are delegating the task to repeat back to you their understanding of the assignment. This will allow you the room to clear up any misunderstanding before your team member gets started.
Second, set deadlines and stick to them. Check in with your team members to make sure that they are on track to meet the deadlines you’ve assigned before the deadline hits.
Third, allow your team members to correct mistakes. Swooping in to take over a botched project doesn’t allow your team member to learn and grow. It also adds more to your plate than need be.
Finally, provide feedback perpetually. Doing so will allow for you to plan and implement strategies to improve performance team-wide.The more you delegate, the more you and your team will rise to new heights of performance and leadership, and the more room you’ll have to grow as well. Provide constructive criticism with respect because berating your team is a sure-fire way to lower retention and morale. Even in high-stress or poor-performance situations, speak to your team members with respect and clarity. Any negative communication styles is demotivating and puts poor performers on the defensive.
When you have led by example, delegated effectively and provided constructive feedback, you may still end up with a team member who fails to perform. It is important to remember that each team member has a choice as to whether to meet the standards of his or her job. Under performers may eventually need to be cycled out to benefit the team. If you have made efforts to rehabilitate a poor performer and communicated feedback effectively, performance should improve. If it does not, remember that old axiom: a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Grow your team effectively, and you will grow your own leadership to new heights as well!