Positive Leadership has also been recognised as a Top 50 Leadership Expert to Follow on Twitter.

Follow us on Twitter @posleadership


Friday, February 12, 2010

Leadership Means Getting The Best From Your Team

A team is a collection of individuals and the leader’s job is to create an environment for the team to achieve ever-greater things together.  While in theory it is a good idea to treat everyone the same, reality is quite different.  Everyone is special.

Some high-achieving individuals are giving you their best effort most all of the time. They are totally devoted to the company and have been known to work day and night to do their best, while others simply don't have that kind of dedication or self-motivation.  

So next time you stand in front of everyone in the company and implore the entire team to dig deeper and try harder, you stand a chance of pushing "Mr. or Mrs. Hard Driver" right off the cliff.  “What does he want from me?  I’m working as hard and as fast as I can.  I’ve devoted my entire life to this company.”  Meanwhile, “Mr. Low Achiever” is wondering what he is going to order for lunch and is minimally fazed by your exultation's. 

Oftentimes you need to spend one-on-one time helping over-achievers to throttle back the engine a bit.  They need balance in their life to keep performing at a high level and the leader is uniquely qualified to make certain they stay fresh and motivated as the high achiever is the last person you want to lose.  They will appreciate the extra attention and if you are going to focus on lifting the effort it is always best to lift the effort and spend valuable management time with your best employees.

That is why leaders need to choose their words with more care when they are speaking to large gatherings of diverse team members.  


Leadership is Critical to Success

“The truth is that no one factor makes a company admirable. But if you were forced to pick the one that makes the most difference, you’d pick leadership.” (Warren Bennis, 1998)

Effective leadership has proven results, from the release of employees’ potential to improved financial performance at the bottom line. If you need convincing, take a look at the research:
  • According to the Institute for Strategic Change, the "stock price of 'well-led' companies grew by over 900% over 10 years, compared with 74% for poorly led companies".
  • In research with Harvard Business School, executive search consultants Odgers, Ray & Berndtson found that the quality of leadership accounts for some 15-20% of the total variance in companies' performance.
  • Ineffective leadership was found to be the cause for the removal of CEOs in 73% of cases, exceeded only by financial or ethical malpractice and mental or physical incapacity.
If, as some commentators believe, "understanding leadership is the ‘single most important task for society today'." (Donald Krause, 1997), organisations need to make sure that they are doing everything possible to develop today’s and tomorrow’s leaders.

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development’s (CIPD) training and development survey 2005 which measured the attitudes of 664 training managers, “91% believe there is a direct link between investment in leadership development and business performance” and “98% believe that well-designed leadership activities can have a positive impact on the bottom line.”

Five Ways for a Leader to Motivate the Team

1. Lead with Optimism - Negativity and fear are likely knocking your people off balance and it’s time to regroup, refocus, and unite to create a winning mindset, culture and positive team environment. Now, more than ever, is a time for positive leadership. Now is the time to uplift, encourage and inspire your teams. When your people talk about the challenges, you talk about the opportunities. When others talk about why they can’t succeed, you give them every reason why they can. So often the difference between success and failure is belief and as a positive leader you need to inspire this belief and optimism in your people.

2. Jump into the Trenches – You need to be humble and hungry. Humble in that you seek to learn, grow, and improve every day, and hungry with a passion to work harder than everyone else. Now is not a time to be barricaded in your office. Now is a time to be in the trenches with your people, leading, working, and building a successful future.

3. Fill the Void - These are uncertain times. Employees are questioning how their industries and jobs will be impacted by the current economy. They’re unsure about what actions to take. Unfortunately this uncertainly creates a void and where there is a void, negativity will fill it. In the absence of clear and positive communication, people start to assume the worst, and they will act accordingly. Make transparency the norm, not the exception—after all, the more you communicate, the more you foster trust, and the more loyalty is built. Talk to your team members often, and let them know where they stand. Host frequent town hall meetings, host a weekly conference call, send out a daily email, and share your positive vision for the future. As a leader, you must continually communicate, communicate, and communicate.

4. Share a Positive Vision – Rally your team around a positive vision for the road ahead. Instead of being disappointed about where you are, decide to be optimistic about where you are going. Vision helps you and your team see the road ahead and it gives you something meaningful and valuable to strive towards. Discuss where you have been, where you are going and why you are going there. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream/vision and he changed the world with it. Share your dream and improve your organisation with it. After all, if you think your best days are behind you, they are. If you think your best days are ahead of you, they are.

5. Teach Your People to Be Heroes, Not Victims - Heroes and victims get knocked down. The distinction between the two groups lies in the fact that heroes get back up while victims simply give up. Help your employees to realise that they are not victims of circumstance. Rather, remind them that they have a high locus of control—in other words, they have a significant influence over how things turn out. Faith and belief in a positive future lead to powerful actions today! Life is a story, and the story we tell ourselves and the role we play determines the quality and direction of our life. The most successful people and teams are able to overcome adversity by telling themselves a more positive story than the rest. Instead of a drama or a horror movie, they define their life as an inspirational tale. Instead of being the victim, they see themselves as a fighter and over-comer.