Managing people’s performance is key to the success of any leader. This is often the reason for their failure. Why? Something has gone badly wrong if leaders cannot get the basics of human leadership right.
The answer lies in the five biggest mistakes that managers make.
Promote leadership on the basis that they are technically strong and personally effective and many leaders have failed to change their thoughts and priorities.
With their focus still on personal performance, they often act as a super technician, unaware of their team’s needs.
A primary need for any team is involvement, especially in defining its goals. Leaders need to involve their teams and their people in agreeing on the goals. If they do not, they simply become leaders in name. The organization would do better with self-managed teams.
Press to get results
Leaders are performance-oriented and results-oriented; they must be. However, in their push for results, they cannot understand the motivation of others.
Pushing for results is quickly pushing their people; Pushing their people then becomes pushing their people harder. If the best results are given with pleasure, the satisfaction needs of individuals are critically important to a leader’s success.
By ignoring these needs, a spent or even abused workforce is created by creating results. A workforce withdrawing its discretionary effort seeks to do the least, not the most. Ignoring employees’ needs in a push for results ultimately has a bulldozer effect – increased resistance to increased management efforts.
Most leaders are “self-motivated” individuals. That’s how they became leaders. They are not always motivating others, or people who find it easy to praise and acknowledge the efforts of others. They often try to motivate by example, modeling hard work and long hours, but fail to engage the hearts and minds of their people. They become “burned out” solo artists; their people check out, and many eventually travel. Failing to create a psychological contract by recognizing people’s motivation needs is often the first step toward leadership failure.
No added value
Leaders must constantly add value to their people. (Why else would their people need a manager?). This means training and developing them, coaching and advising them and encouraging individual growth. Leaders are constantly missing the opportunities to add value to their people in these areas. In the absence of efforts in their own personal growth and development, they do not see the connection between learning and results. As people learn, they become more engaged in their work. The stimulation of learning stimulates a desire for improved personal performance.
Leaders who understand this invest time in growing their people and look for every opportunity to do so. Leaders who cannot understand this essential truth struggle to execute. They suffer, their people suffer, and the whole organization suffers.
It has been said that there is no such thing as a completely fair manager. After all, what is considered an unfair treatment by one individual can be considered completely fair by another. However, this is no excuse for having favorites, “picking on” certain individuals and deliberately “making points” through the different treatment of people.
Whatever the leader’s feelings towards certain individuals, personal bias and subjective views must be replaced by a fair, honest and objective treatment of them. This is difficult for managers to understand. They do not see that their entire credibility is at stake if they do not treat people fairly. Lack of credibility is quickly turning to a lack of leadership and the seeds of future failure have been sown.
How did your leaders stack up against the top five mistakes?
Failing to incorporate employee ideas into their goals
Overlooking employee needs in a push for results
Lack of opportunities to motivate and coach employees
Withholding praise and recognition
Not treating their people fairly
The answer is the five major leadership behaviors:
People are involved
The main responsibility of any leader is involvement with his / her people. Involvement is crucial to creating a vision for the future, communicating that vision, formulating a plan to achieve it and then executing it.
Management of change is not achieved in isolation, and if people want to commit to it, they have to be involved every step of the way. Transforming a vision into agreed team and individual goals then becomes a natural part of the involvement process. Implementation of plans then becomes easy and natural, as does achieving success.
Satisfaction management is the key to unlocking employees’ discretionary efforts. Discretionary effort is a key ingredient for high performance. Instead of a continuous push for results, the best leaders invest in creating increased satisfaction for their people.
They bring measurement satisfaction in the same way they perform. They actively involve people in identifying their satisfaction needs and in exploring ways to meet them. They change their leadership style to bring out the best in people. They have “emotional intelligence” and they use it.
Coach, counselor and facilitator
Effective leaders not only balance their task and people focus, they actively seek to expand the capabilities of their people. They know that if they do this, continuous improvement of both team and individual performance can be achieved dramatically.
They see their primary roles as coach, counselor and facilitator for their people. They understand that without additional knowledge, fresh insight and the ability to solve their own problems, people cannot provide their best ability.
They have learned that meaningful learning input for their people produces significant output for their organization. They’ve learned to “conduct an orchestra,” versus “playing an instrument.”
Encouragement, praise and recognition
If you want to discourage someone, just ignore him / her. Ignoring people devalues them, condemns them and undermines their dignity as human beings. How often are de-motivated employees not by cruel but rather by unimportant leaders?
Encouragement, praise and recognition create the high octane gas that fills people’s emotional thought. It must be real; it must be linked to achievement or progress; and it must be regular.
Guilt and fear cultures are replaced by learning cultures only when genuine, positive reinforcement replaces continuous negative feedback or lack of feedback. Leaders need to be generous providers of the right feedback; they need the skills and confidence to deliver it and the belief that it makes a difference.
Honest, open and fair
Leaders may not always be perceived as completely honest, open and fair, but they may strive to be so in their dealings with others. Culture and values must be lived out, leadership must be modeled and not just talked about.
Leaders must be seen to act in the best interests of all. Difficult? Not really – if there is a genuine partnership relationship with their people. If loyalty to their team and giving others the credit for success becomes the norm, honesty, openness and justice become a way of life. So does the mutual support that accompanies them, and which are needed in abundance if today’s leaders are to succeed in the hostile, challenging and uncertain 21st century business environment.
The top five leadership failures can ruin an organization. The top five leadership behaviors can do that. These behaviors can be learned.
Using our program, Managing People’s Performance, we equip leaders with this behavior. Our program turns fiction into good human management into a fact. A fact that will transform your organization and its future success.