When you take a look in the mirror, what do you see? Is it the confident, articulate leader that others see? Is it the approachable, open, yet decisive leader that you believe yourself to be? Or could there be another kind of leader lurking in the shadows?
Marshall Goldsmith tells an interesting story about the behaviors and actions of a CEO, Bob — and how these combine to impact on Bob’s effectiveness as a communicator. Bob had fallen into the well worn trap of believing that those in his team liked being managed in the way that he enjoyed being managed. This presented a challenge:
My job was to make Bob see the problem, which I like to call the “golden-rule fallacy.” He assumed that his people were just like him and, therefore, liked to be treated the same way he did.
As we go about building our businesses, we find natural affinities with some people. We are drawn to them. We may even nurture those who demonstrate capabilities that are like our own. But what of the rest of your village? Sometimes we need to look into a different kind of mirror to understand how to inspire, drive and deliver high performance.
Professor Teresa Amabile conducted research that showed a powerful link between a leader’s behavior and the high performance, innovation and creativity shown by her teams. It boils down to five (yes only five) elements:
- Emotional support: Clearly, if you consider your team as part of your village, you need to provide some form of emotional support.
- Positive feedback: Leaders need to provide constructive feedback in a positive manner and also provide additional context to help your team members produce better work.
- Recognizing good performance: It sounds trite, but publicly acknowledging good work is essential for high performance.
- Consult with your team: Your village is a vast knowledge base. Use it to the advantage of your business.
- Collaboration: One of the most powerful roles of the leader is to pitch in. Roll-up your sleeves and help your teams close the deal.
And while each of these elements seem to be “every day”, take a look into a different mirror. Think about what your team see when they work with you. What will they take away? How will your words and actions impact their performance both today and through the week? It is the every day, ordinary touches that can create an extraordinary team performance.
Nina Nets It Out: A leader’s behavior can have a significant impact on the performance of a team. Will your interaction with your team today result in a positive or negative experience? How do you ensure high performance? It is simple — focus on the every day interactions and watch the results.