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Leadership for performance

Lou Markstrom | Jan. 22, 2015
How do you inspire others to willingly do what needs to be done?


Is your team operating at their optimal level of performance? Are they inspired? Motivated? Do they show up day to day in tune with a vision and purpose that they are excited about?

If the answer is yes, then keep up the great work -- you're a leader who knows how to bring out the highest levels of performance from your team. If the answer is no, you will need to make a few changes to become a leader who brings out the best in your team.

But first, what is a leader? There have probably been thousands of books written on leadership, with a variety of definitions.

One of the best ways to understand leadership is through comparing management and leadership. It brings to mind the old cliché of working 'on' a business or working 'in' a business.

Management versus leadership
In the book, Management Basics for Information Professionals, Alan Thompson, now president of Toshiba Europe was quoted as saying: "Management is not mechanical -- it's about resource allocation, efficiency, optimisation...and there are processes you can follow to help you manage effectively.

"Leadership is different -- it's about vision and fire and winning people's hearts as well as their minds."

Management can be defined as getting things done with, by, and through other people. The functions of management are concerned with planning, directing, controlling, and evaluating.

Leadership is the ability to inspire others to willingly do what needs to be done. This definition is based on the four cornerstones of leadership: strategically focussed; invested in producing extraordinary results; a passion for personal mastery; and being value-driven.

So, how do you inspire others to willingly do what needs to be done? Here are a few tips:

Unite your people around a common vision or purpose
If I asked each of your team members if they know the mission or vision statement of your organisation, would they be able to tell me. How about the mission or vision statement of your team?

How can you expect a team to rally around or support a vision if they don't even know what it is? I don't mean that they know you have one or have a vague idea of what it is. If you handed them a piece of paper and asked them to write it down, would they be able to do it? They need to know it to get excited by it, rally to support it and operate from it.

Link what's important to them to the fulfilment of your company and/or team mission
You need to find out what motivates the members of your team. One of the best ways to do this is to simply ask them. Get to know what's important to them and 'connect the dots' so they realise the more than help fulfil the company or team mission, the more fulfilled they will be in their work.


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