What is Performance Leadership?
In the past, business executives used to talk about performance as a process, but today “performance” has become a vague term, often used to describe individual leaders’ traits or accomplishments. Instead of being a process, performance became the focus of numerous research programs over the past 40 years. These programs revealed several vital strategies that govern individual and team performance. When combined with leadership theories, these processes form the basis for what is known as “Performance Leadership.”
Most people believe that leadership is about making the right decisions…but that’s only one component of performance leadership. Performance leadership encompasses several elements. The first step toward creating authentic performance leadership is identifying the business goals that you want to achieve. To do this, you must decide what your personal and team performance goals are, along with the appropriate steps to take to get there.
“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”
Thomas A. Edison
What is Your Preferred Leadership Style
Once you have an idea of what your leadership style, personality, or business needs to be like, you can begin to think about the types of people who will best fit your organization. You may already have individuals in your organization who possess the characteristics or personality you’re looking for. If you don’t, you’ll need to identify those qualities and work to acquire them. This includes your team.
It’s important to realize that personality is not the same thing as ability, so don’t mistake thinking that having a good leader who is skilled in certain areas will automatically make your team better at those tasks. Just because your team lacks someone who possesses the skills or personality you do doesn’t mean they won’t be influential team members. Your team needs to be talented to do the tasks your business needs them to perform.
Identifying the Gaps
Once you’ve identified the leadership styles or personalities necessary for your team, you need to consider what each class would look like in a person. Are you looking for someone forceful yet compassionate? Would you like a more passive individual or one that is direct and full of zeal? Each type of leadership style can lead to different kinds of behavior within your team. The question then becomes, how do you build an environment where every type of leadership occurs?
There are several different strategies for helping individuals who exhibit different leadership styles to be influential team leaders. The first strategy is to step back from their role and become a coach. The coach can assist the team by providing feedback on how the leader is doing, and this feedback offers an incentive for the leader to do a better job. The coach can also let the team know when they are ineffective in their tasks, which will motivate the team to be more productive. However, you may find that your team still has difficulty achieving high-performance levels because they are focused too much on solving problems instead of solving objectives.
Support, Motivation, and Transparency
For this to work, however, the leader needs to be very good at encouraging team members to work collaboratively. Not only will this help the team achieve higher levels of productivity, but it will also help them feel more ownership in the work they are performing. Some leaders may also need to demonstrate that they can recognize team members who are not working as efficiently. By supporting these team members and giving them the encouragement they need to work harder, the leader can also help them realize their full potential.
Communication is Vital for Optimizing Performance
Learning what performance leadership is is not easy. It takes a lot of practice to get good at communicating with people. This is why some leaders choose to coach or mentor before trying to learn it themselves. You might also decide to choose one leadership style or the other. For many, consulting with an experienced coach is an ideal way to go. Leadership Coaching can provide a great way to improve yourself and learn new methods of leadership.
‘The way to get things done is not to mind who gets the credit for doing them.”