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3 Ways Anyone Can Boost Team Performance

| | Personal Leadership

goodtogreatspeedometerThere is a direct link between culture and performance. While you may be thinking the culture can only really be affected (for better or for worse) by the CEO or at least the C-suite leaders in an organization, think again.  Regardless of your level in an organization you have the power to impact the culture for the better.  In doing so you are likely to not only create a better place to work, but also boost performance.

In How to Boost Performance Through Effective Leadership I talk about the 3 Key Elements that leaders who want to do great things must design into the fabric of their culture: alignment, engagement, and accountability.   Everyone has the capacity to affect these three things in their organization.

In fact, consider that with every conversation you engage in and action you take you are doing one of two things whether you realize it or not:  you are either reinforcing the existing culture or you are acting in a way that changes it.  Of course not everything needs to change.  If your organization has any level of success, the culture is part of the fabric of that success.  Yet for performance to go to the next level chances are something needs to change in terms of alignment, engagement and/or accountability.

Consider that the path to changing the culture and in the process boosting performance can begin with you.

Here are 3 things you can do personally to lead the way:

1.  Align:  Do the personal work necessary to get behind the vision, direction and decisions rather than just going along with the pack.

Don’t understand what the new vision of your company means for you, your team or division?

Get a copy of the vision statement and anything supporting it that has been used in attempt to communicate it and meet with your work group to answer the question “what does this mean for me/us”?

A decision is made or announced that you (and likely others) question or don’t agree with, but no one is willing to speak up.

Be the one to speak up.  If you don’t know how, think no one will listen, or are perhaps even afraid get a coach or a mentor to guide you in designing a conversation that can make a difference.  Just because you are choosing to be the one to speak up doesn’t mean you have to do it alone or without any support.

Notice there are a lot of “meetings after the meeting” where problems and complaints are being aired with no chance of being addressed?

Find a way to get the people together who need to communicate to address the problems or complaints that aren’t being discussed openly.  I know, there are a lot of “yeah, but..’s” that will come up in your mind trying to dissuade you from even trying.  The question is if not you, then who?

2.  Engage:  Connect your personal purpose and values with the purpose, vision and values of the organization in which you work.

Feeling disconnected or like you are going through the motions?

Seek out someone you trust within the organization who you can ask to help you get connected.

Don’t like your boss (and using that as a reason you aren’t fully engaged at work}?

Try getting to know your boss better – what do they care most about, how did they get here, what matters to them inside and outside of work.  Yes, this is counter intuitive.  There is a great wisdom in the saying “you can’t hate someone whose story you know”.  Consider what you observe isn’t necessarily all of who they really are (or intend to be).  If you don’t succeed at improving your working relationship you can always move on. Don’t want to get to know their story?  You can always skip that part and simply move on.

See a problem that you believe is important to address, but no one is addressing it?

Make an offer to be a part of the solution, or perhaps even to lead a team to solve the problem.

3.  Be Accountable:  Honor Your Commitments

No one shows up for meetings on time in your organization?

Be the one that gets to every meeting a few minutes early and/or the person who always starts and ends on time.

Have a task list that is overwhelming and know something isn’t going to get done that someone is counting on?

Let them know before it’s due (and they come looking for you) so they can plan accordingly.  Maybe there is room for negotiation on the date or there is someone else who can lend a hand.

Failed to keep a promise?

Own it without reasons or excuses.  Do your best to address the consequences of your lapse.

 Now I’d like to hear your ideas.  What specific things can anyone do to boost performance of their team and/or organization?

P.S.  You can now also find me over at Halogen Software’s blog, a great resource for Talent Management, Employee Engagement, and Leadership Development among other topics.

 

Image credit: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

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Mark Behl   |   02 July 2013   |   Reply

Great insight, especially holding yourself accountable. I absolutely agree. Far too often leaders fail to do this, and it shows. The first step as a leader is to lead by example, holding yourself accountable does that. Thanks for sharing.

Susan Mazza   |   09 July 2013   |   Reply

Thank you Mark. Absolutely – being accountable is fundamental to leading by example.

Tammy Schaefer   |   21 July 2013   |   Reply

Another great post Susan! I got involved at my church by stepping up and filling in where needed. Until I started stepping up, I felt invisible. It’s funny how little things matter to the culture of any organization. Love the idea of getting a coach or mentor to help you out. Learning to ask for help is one of the things I’m currently working on. Thanks!

Susan Mazza   |   23 July 2013   |   Reply

“Until I stepped up I felt invisible” – that is a very powerful statement Tammy! You demonstrate that being invisible begins not with others not seeing you, but with you seeing you. I had not thought of stepping up as a “cure” for feeling invisible though. Thanks for planting that idea!