June 2, 2011

10 Ways To Motivate High Performance

Earlier in my career, I had talented people on my team who would perform excellently for a time, and then their performance would deteriorate. My approach was to look first at my own performance as their manager and to see how I potentially contributed to this deterioration.

That introspection taught me 10 things I could do to motivate my people to perform at their best:

  1. Create a safe, supportive environment that builds their confidence and capabilities.
  2. Empower them by delegating, and foster a sense of pride and ownership.
  3. Have regular one-on-one meetings to discuss their progress and provide feedback and coaching.
  4. Help them understand the big picture and their places in it. Then keep them in the loop.
  5. Give them challenging but achievable goals and hold them accountable to high but realistic standards.
  6. Praise frequently and reward jobs well done. Support them when they falter, and collaborate on the best course of action to get them back on track.
  7. Acknowledge things you need to improve. When you make mistakes, apologize and communicate how you will fix them.
  8. Solicit their feedback on how you can do a better job as their manager.
  9. Be clear and consistent in words and actions.
  10. Most importantly, lead by example. You are the role model.