As employers, we want an excellent return on every investment we make. And that should include our team. Every employer we work with wants an amazing, high performing team. So here are our top tips on how you can get the best out of your team.
Set clear expectations
This is actually harder than it sounds. As business owners, we expect people to know what's going on in our heads without actually telling them. And then we get annoyed when someone hasn't read our mind. Plus, we have this expectation that our staff will care about our business as much as we do, which is very unlikely. So the first thing we need to do to encourage good performance is tell our staff clearly and specifically what we want them to do, by when and how. If you let staff have total free rein on their workload guess what? They won't do things the same way you do. They might not even prioritise the same things you would. So tell them what you expect.
Review job roles regularly
One of the most common things I see in small businesses is employers trying to get one person to do all the things. They want someone to do marketing, accounts and sales when in reality, all those things need totally different skill sets that you are unlikely to see in one person. Even as a business owner who HAS to do all those things, you know there are things you are better at than others. So make sure you are regularly reviewing job descriptions for your team against what they are actually doing to make sure everything aligns. This is a really useful way to see if you are giving too many weird and wonderful jobs to one person when they should perhaps be outsourced or given to another team member. Check in with your team and make sure they are happy doing the tasks you have assigned them and, if they are struggling, question whether they have the right skill set to do the task. High performing teams understand exactly what their job is and have the right skills to excel at it.
"If becoming a high performing organisation is the destination, leadership is the engine." - Ken Blanchard
Deal with poor performance swiftly
Sometimes, you can do all the things you need to do as an employer to set someone up for success but it still doesn't work. Poor performance usually comes from a lack of skill or capability as opposed to a deliberate failure to be good. But it can also come from a lack of training, support or understanding, so it's important that you approach poor performance sensitively. If you notice an employee has made a mistake, you should address it with them there and then, or as soon as is reasonably practicable. Try to understand why they have made the mistake, rather than just get annoyed about it. If you find they are making the same mistakes regularly, you probably need to have a more formal conversation about it.
Poor performance is often no one's fault, but as a leader, it is your duty to look inwards and ask, "Could I have done anything differently?"