In order to improve performance at work, a leader has to improve the overall level of communication within their organization to keep the people informed of what is going on. A level where the people working under he/she understands what the vision of the leader and/or organization is as well as why certain things are done on daily basis. Also, making sure that people clearly know where they stand in performance on a daily basis and then providing a safe environment that keeps things moving in a positive direction while limiting the negatives.
In short, I call it Creating a Culture of Transparency. When you can create this type of culture, you create a win/win situation for everybody. Some of the benefits are that people will know and understand both the long term and short term goals of the organization, why they're aiming for these goals, and where they fit into the big picture. Now let's go into more detail on how a leader can implement these strategies into their work day.
The first thing a leader needs to do in this area to improve performance at work is to Share the Vision. This can be their vision or the organization's vision but I highly recommend that they lead with theirs so they can provide the greatest impact on their people. Whether they're working for an organization or not, their people will be following them more than they are following the organization so this is critical. The people need to know the big goal that everyone will be working towards. Sharing the vision with them does many things such as providing motivation, making them feel like they're apart of something bigger than just a job, and so much more. When I look back at all of the jobs I had before I got into the corporate atmosphere, I never knew what the vision of each company was.
To me they were just jobs and I was only there for a paycheck but once I got into the corporate arena it was a totally different story. I became so emotional entrenched into the vision for that company that it was extremely difficult for me to leave them and move on to serving a higher purpose in my own personal company. I loved working for that company because of who they were and what they were about. I loved being a part of what they do and this is what a leader has to create with their people to build a strong connection. When implemented properly, this strategy alone will dramatically reduce turnover and improve performance at work which means less training expenses, less hiring, better performance, and increased productivity. I'm pretty sure I left some things out but I think you got the gist of it. Feel free to submit any questions and/or comments through the contact page on my blog.
The second thing that a leader should do consistently, continuously, and as much as possible is to Tell People "WHY". This is a great way for them to build trust with their people but is not the main reason why they should consider doing this. They should do it because people will be more willing to do something if they understand why they're doing it rather than doing something without knowing the purpose. They obviously don't have time to give an explanation for every task at every given time that has to get completed but the more the merrier. Every single one makes a difference! Think about it, let's say that someone was told to take a break at four o'clock rather than five o'clock and they really wanted to take it at five.
They might get upset at the fact that they can't take a break when they wanted to that day. Now we can possibly have an unhappy employee here. Let's apply what was just taught by adding the reason for the break time change. This person needs to go on break at four o'clock because it's a lot slower at that time than it will be at five. It will most likely be extremely busy then. The supervisor might say something like this, "We need all hands on deck and if we take the chance of giving you a break at that time you could possibly not get one and we don't even want that to be a possibility because you deserve your breaks." As you can see this makes a huge difference in the way a person views the supervisor's instructions. If you're enjoying the tips and strategies that have been shared so far make sure you visit my blog today and leave comments!
Thirdly, one of the most overlooked tips that will drastically improve performance at work is to continuously Let People Know Where They Stand so they know the direction they need to go in next. The one or two evaluations people get at their job is not the time to sit down and start addressing issues. It's a time to sit down and reward people financially for their performance over the past year. They should have a pretty good idea of what their evaluation will look like going in and not be surprised by anything on there. If they are, shame on the upper management team. The reason why I say this is because they should be constantly giving both positive and negative feedback to their people on a daily basis.
Leaders have a responsibility to develop future leaders and improve people's performance at work. People should know their strengths, weaknesses, and have some things that they're working on to take their performance to the next level. I've been in management for over 17 years and during the last half of it, I was responsible for managing other managers. Whenever one of them had a performance issue within their department, I would always ask two questions. The first one is "Did you have a discussion with the associate about the problem?" and most of the time it is a "no". Second one gets asked to the associate who supposedly has the performance issue which is "Did so and so ever talk to you about blah blah blah?" and the answer is always "no".
This is ludicrous because nothing can get solved until both parties realize that there's a problem! This reminds me of an associate that was applying for a promotion in the store that I was managing at the time. I asked him what his supervisors would say he needs to work on to get to the next level and he didn't know. I even called them all to find out the good and the bad and got nothing concrete or specific. All I got was he does a great job from one person and I wouldn't take him for that position from another person. How can this associate grow or even fix his issues if he doesn't even know what they are. Unbelievable! In my personal opinion, this is why we have so many performance challenges in the work place but the buck stops here! Nobody wakes up in the morning and says to themselves that they can't wait to get to work so they can do a bad job.
Lastly, let it be known that you will Provide a Safe Environment where people can safely speak up to express their opinions, questions, concerns, solutions, ideas, issues, etc without being penalized, reprimanded or made fun of. From my experience, most people don't like to speak up because they don't think that what they have to say has any value or won't be listened to so why bother. Leaders can only fix the problems that they know about so if they don't at least start to create this kind of environment, no one will open up. I believe that everyone has something to say that's valuable. There is no such thing as a stupid question except for the one that wasn't asked. This strategy takes more time to develop than the other three but is just as powerful.
A safe environment is a positive environment and everybody loves a positive environment. Eventually, more and more people will begin to open up on all types of levels and synergy will be created. I was infamous for always saying that "I'm always busy but I always have time". I made it really clear that any associate can come to me at any given time to talk to me about anything that they wanted to. Then I would listen and do everything in my power to either solve the problem or come to some kind of understanding. There was always something good that came out of every one of those meetings every time. Some people would call this the act of having an "open door" policy which is more crucial than most leaders think.
In conclusion, creating a Culture of Transparency can be very powerful because it creates an environment where people will always be honest and upfront with others in the workplace. There will be more people in the environment choosing to never tell a lie or try to jerk someone else's chain. The more a leader can be honest to the point of telling their people what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear no matter how much it hurts, the stronger their relationships will become.
By doing this, credibility and trust will be built with their people and they will eventually begin to do the same. People will always work harder and better for someone that they trust and respect than they would for someone that they don't. Think about it, would you really go the extra mile for a supervisor that you didn't like? Building trust is how the best leaders improve performance at work in a very simple fashion. For more great tips like this make sure you visit my blog right now!
Rob Moore helps people in leadership positions get their people to perform better no matter what they do. Give him the people who are challenged with a lack of motivation, low productivity, under performance, poor attitudes, and he will turn them into top performers.
Show Up, Step Out, & Shine!