Positive Leadership Impact
Anyone in a leadership role needs to be acutely aware of the impact on others around them, especially the people who report to him or her.
Many organisations place emphasis on strategies and processes but without the right behaviour from the people within their organisations, their leaders will still struggle with the results they are supposed to achieve.
Good leaders make time to understand how their own behaviours impact the performance of those around them. They are vigilant about monitoring their own behaviours and know that leadership is an everyday, highly visible activity.
I believe good leaders not only impact their own workforce and organisations, they also impact the community at large. When someone has a good day, they take it home with them. When businesses make good decisions as a result of good leadership, it has a ripple effect on society.
In our consulting business, we work with leaders to adopt the following behaviours in a consistent manner:
Expand your sphere of influence
The most visible thing a leader can do is to make time to get to know his or her team. When leaders make time to have short daily conversations with the people reporting to them, (we call them 3 minute meetings in our business) it creates a bridge for the performers (people doing the work) to build a connection with their leader. It also opens up conversations about the work on hand. When a leader just focuses on what’s not working, he is not creating any opportunity for his team to learn from the good examples that are occurring within the team, he creates an environment where people want to escape something or do something because they have to, not because they want to.
Get people in touch with success quickly
When a leader spends time supporting his reports on the critical behaviours needed to achieve a performance level or goal but in small incremental steps or mini goals, he can get his team through the learning curve to habit strength very quickly. Most people come to work because they want to do a good job and if we can get people to initially understand what tiny changes they need to make in their daily actions, they soon start getting in touch with the naturally occurring reinforcement that comes with doing a good job like feeling a sense of accomplishment or completion.
Showcase GOOD examples in order a build a learning culture
Gretchin Rubin, in her book, happiness project says that there are three stages to happiness – anticipating the event, savouring the event and recollecting the event. When leaders start getting their team members to share how they did something …just a simple remark like, “I noticed you have increased your margins by x%, how did you do that?”…is a great way to get the performer to recollect how he went about doing a set of actions that created the result he wanted. When we “re-live” an experience, it helps us connect with the whole activity again thus ingraining a habit, it also helps us to be proud of what we did or savour that moment – get happy! We all know that happy employees create happy customers.
Put good consequences in place for the right behaviours
The only way to build a performance culture is by making sure that what we say aligns with what we do – all of us as leaders need to do this. When people around us know what behaviours we value as a company, they will start engaging in them. Often in organisations, many leaders say one thing and do another. Always follow through instructions with consequences for doing them or not doing them. For example, when we say that its important to start a meeting on time and yet we wait around for late comers and start a half an hour late, we are rewarding the late comers and punishing those who come on time. This immediately showcases a misalignment between what we say and do and creates an environment where we are demonstrating by our actions, that it’s ok to say one thing and do another.
Two other leadership behaviours support the process of building a performance culture, these are the habits of noticing or marking out behaviours that contribute to our overall goals and making sure to reinforce them positively. In simple everyday actions, this means going out of your office to find things that work and to let people know that you see it and you appreciate it. Money beyond a certain point may not be as effective as giving someone social reinforcement, sometimes acknowledging someone for their work goes much further and is more effective. The other behaviour that is key to success in building a high performing organisation is ironically consistency.
When leaders are predictable and consistent in tracking, marking out and showcasing good work and offering support and praise for what’s working, performance can increase exponentially. And when that happens everyone is charged up and proud to be in an environment that works.
Isn’t this what we want as leaders?