A few years ago, a client of mine was leading the marketing department of a major financial services firm: high profile, internationally respected brand. Many of his people worked long hours and some traveled quite extensively. Yet, no one ever seemed to mind. In fact, there was always an energetic buzz about them.
The group consistently met and exceeded personal and department goals. The work they produced was not only dependable, but outstanding; maybe even mind-blowing at times. And, every team member met the bonus threshold year after year. Even with the amount of known responsibilities on their collective plate, there was a long line to be considered for any one coveted position that might arise.
How was it possible? Ask any member of that team what made the difference and they would answer the same: leadership. They had a boss who knew how to motivate. They had a leader who knew how to inspire. They had a leader who knew how to bring an energy to that team that every other manager wanted to replicate.
While some of that energy can be credited to a naturally strong character/personality, any truly passionate leader can duplicate these results. All it takes is dedication to and repetition of these 5 steps:
- Get All Involved — Team members need to know the mission and vision; they need to understand the goals; and they even need to be an integral part of figuring out how to reach those goals. Allowing them to be a part of the entire process rather than just the “tools” will give them greater motivation to perform and excel.
- Make Alignments — People perform better when allowed to focus on their strengths and do what they love. Get to know your team members and really learn, if you don’t already, what they’re good at. You may be surprised not only at the hidden talents you unearth, but the sudden burst of excitement and passion you discover as well when employees begin to feel like they’re making more meaningful contributions.
- Open the Loop — Don’t wait until review time to update team members on progress. Consistent and regular updates keep the goals alive, ensure everyone is always on the right track, and provide ongoing reward for acknowledged milestones.
- Tie Performance to Reward — This is quite simple, but very important. There needs to be associated and appropriate rewards along the path, tied directly into the performance of team members.
- Lead by Example — One of the most notable characteristics of the leader described above was his passion for the company, its mission, its people, and his position within it. He truly loved his job and you could tell. “I’ll have what he’s having,” is something people said frequently when around him. He knew how to energize his team by demonstrating the passion and performance needed to do the job, do it right, and enjoy it in the process.
Carl Robinson, Ph.D., Managing Principal, Advanced Leadership Consulting
carl @ leadershipconsulting.com
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