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:
- Create a safe, supportive environment that builds their confidence and capabilities.
- Empower them by delegating, and foster a sense of pride and ownership.
- Have regular one-on-one meetings to discuss their progress and provide feedback and coaching.
- Help them understand the big picture and their places in it. Then keep them in the loop.
- Give them challenging but achievable goals and hold them accountable to high but realistic standards.
- 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.
- Acknowledge things you need to improve. When you make mistakes, apologize and communicate how you will fix them.
- Solicit their feedback on how you can do a better job as their manager.
- Be clear and consistent in words and actions.
- Most importantly, lead by example. You are the role model.