Monday, May 25, 2009

6 Action Steps for Performance Oriented Leaders

How do you align yourself as a performance oriented leader? How do you ensure your actions assist your goal of improving the performance of your team? The following six steps are a general blueprint for what you need to do on a consistent basis to move your leadership along.

1. Give your team members regular, specific, observable behaviour feedback.

Feedback is one of the fundamental activities you can do to interact with your team and gently guide them down a development line to gradually improve. Care needs to be taken to ensure you observe the behaviours you wish to reinforce and those that you wish to correct, you cannot use generalisations as then the recipient will not identify with the behaviour. As such it is important to observe and note exactly the behaviours you want to comment about. While this will take a big effort on your behalf because the comments are specific to the recipient they will be able to relate to the action, it then is up to us put together a development action plan to improve the situation.

2. Make Timely decisions.

Leaders need to make decisions to keep the team moving along in the right direction, it's important as a performance oriented leader to continually adjust the plan and the actions to keep the team focused on the big picture - the output of the team. Without timely decisions the team will get stale and loose its edge, as things go up and down it is up to the leader to make the decisions needed at that time, not after a period of procrastination or in the spur of the moment without considering all the factors.

3. Encourage creative ideas.

With the implementation of new and creative ideas, our team's can lift their performance to new levels, Why restrict the teams thinking to just yourself, embrace creative ideas from the team members, you may find some real gems. Setup a process where new and creative ideas can be aired and tested to see what results can be gain by implementing these ideas.

4. Reinforce the lines of command and authority.

Does your workplace have a hierarchy, do you have formal lines of command and authority? Nothing will upset the whole organisation more than people who ignore these established protocols. Take care to demonstrate your fitting and willingness to work in this system and demand your team also work through these established chains.

5. Be accessible to your work circle of acquaintances.

Are you accessible for your team to approach when they need to discuss issues with you. It is often quite intimidating for members to approach their leader/manager/boss, you need to identify this and drop what your doing and make yourself available to handle the issue there and then. If you can do this your team members will respect you as a proactive and caring leader.

6. Provide personal support.

We all have problems from time to time, it's important that you support your team members, a kind ear when things are tough will be remembered by your team members. This is because your team will see this as a personal association, as such you need to keep the tone at an appropriate level. However team members often complain my boss doesn't take the time to help me and understand my problems, by ensuring you provide this personal support to your team they will feel they have a leader who genuinely cares for them. If you can gain this feeling within your team they will be willing to go the extra mile for you when the team needs a special effort.

Take some time to examine your work practices and see how you can include these six steps into your regime and watch the performance of your team improve.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Leadership's vital Attributes

All great leaders have several typical attributes that they have developed along their leadership journey. I like to refer to them as the four A's of great leadership. These common factors are: Appearance, Attitude, Aggressiveness and Action.

Appearance is vital many people sum up their business partners, clients and friends on the first impression. Take a look at most great leaders and in their own way you will see they have the appearance of looking good and importantly looking as they are in control.

Attitude, have you got the right attitude, focusing in on the outcome and working steadily until you get there. Do you spread your attitude to your team to stay positive and keep working through all the issues to get the product and service just right.

Aggressiveness, are you ready to move forward as soon as you can see some advantage, with this type of aggressiveness you can seize the moment and maximize your output.

Action, of all the leadership traits taking action is the one that gets you the best value, people around you can see your action and will want to follow you to be part of the action.

Although it seems simple if you can maintain and improve your four A's of leadership, you will find that your team members will be keen to improve their efforts and be part of the winning combination.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Leaders develop Followers

As a leader is it critical you have followers. A leader with no followers is unable to harness the power of teamwork to amplify their ideas and elevate the cause.

Maybe its time for you to take stock, for some cultures this is hard to do as we have been brought up to be modest about our own ideas and achievements yet lavish in the praise we dish out to those around us.

But lets see through this for a moment, have you sat down and taken a personal inventory of your strengths as a leader? Have you critically looked at the members of your team and worked out why they continue to follow you. Sure, some are forced too because the work hierarchy have placed them under you, but when you look carefully you will see the other members around who follow your lead.

Take each of these people and consider what it is that you bring to the table to keep them in your team. Perhaps its your abilities in planning, delegation, decision making, technical competence, communication just as a small sample list. One of the most sort after skills is a leaders ability to deal with people, you hear of it time and time again, we wish we had a leader who could deal with the people in the team to keep their focus and lead them through tough times while continually developing them to meet tomorrow's challenges.

By taking stock of your great leadership abilities it allows you some observations, firstly you have a list of skills that others see in you, and also it gives you some ideas on areas for improvement.

With luck this simple exercise will show you some of your strengths as a leader that you can be proud of!

So how can we work further on this? your strengths are areas you should identify to develop in the people around you. If you are strong in these areas then chances are you have a great skill that you can share to develop in your followers. By giving freely of your skills, you will further strengthen and develop these relationships as your team members will quickly see there is something extra in it for them - learning a valuable skill from their leader.