Getting Your Team To Do Remarkably Well

My father had a simple test that helps me measure my own leadership quotient: When you are out of the office he once asked me, do your staff carry on remarkable well without you?

When you a team to performs well even when you are not present, then you can be proud that this team has learnt what needs to happen consistently in order to reach that team’s performance goals.


When seen through a behavioural lens, this team has built up certain routines that have become habits. They will do it whether the boss is around or not because they are in touch with the reinforcement that comes with doing a good job – they are doing it for themselves not the boss. Some people call this discretionary effort or in simple layman’s terms – going the extra mile.

How do get your team members to go the extra mile and do great work even when you are not around?


Many leaders forget that sometimes the people they manage need to ramp up their skills and go through a learning curve before they become good at what they do. Usually when people are good at something, they enjoy the task and they look forward to turning up good work. Leaders who able to shape performance in small increments over time can produce about sustainable results.


Leaders who notice and reinforce even small improvements initially encourage people to work harder. It gives people a sense of achievement and success attracts success, getting your team in touch with early success clearly marks out what you want. It also helps other people in the team find role models that they can emulate.


Make it easy and make it clear for people in your team to understand what they need to do to get rewarded in terms of bonuses or incentives. Many companies offer complicated employee inventive schemes. Focus on the high impact behaviours that are closely tied to the results you want and align your remuneration and reward system to that. Complicated incentives lead to complicated issues and results.


Many companies say one thing and do another – this gives mixed signals, leaders who know how to deliver consequences effectively get better results. Do not have consequences in place that you are not going to be able to deliver because then they are just threats and nobody likes working with a bully.

There are also positive consequences that can be used to encourage good work, things like time off, or getting to do a more exciting piece of work, going on an overseas trip etc. When someone earns a privilege it is more meaningful than just being given something – then it becomes a right.


Build a learning culture where team members can learn from each other. You can do this by encouraging the performer to talk about what he or she did well. Gretchin Rubin, in her book, Happiness project, talks about three stages of happiness. The first stage is anticipating something, the second stage is to savour it, and the third stage is recollecting it. When you ask someone to tell you how they did something, you are in fact asking them to retrace their steps and this helps that individual bask in the glory of a job well done for the second time – this is not only reinforcing to the individual, it also makes them happy. As a side benefit, others listening to their account also get an insight into what is seen as good work. This encourages people to learn from each other.


When people work for bosses they feel are looking out for them, they will do more to make the boss look good. A leader is very visible; everything he or she says or does not say has an impact on how the team perceives their leader. If a leader is close to someone who is not nice to his colleagues, people automatically assume that this leader supports his behavior. Leaders have to be very aware of who they give their time to, sometimes leaders make the mistake of giving their time to the most vocal employees but not the most productive ones and this sends out a wrong signal. When a leader is kind and practices generosity of spirit, he/she sets the tone for others to follow and creates a place where people feel safe enough to be themselves.

Often leaders work too hard chasing goals and driving performance but by taking a step back and taking time to build a strong foundation for performance, leaders who manage teams can make the work more enjoyable for themselves and the people they manage. And in return the people these leaders manage will go out of their way to do remarkably well even when the leader is not around.

~ Lita

Laletha Nithiyanandan