Inspiring Top Performance

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oman raising arms to golden sunset summer skyLeadership is more than a title. Long believed to be a purely innate characteristic, it has grown from that. People have the ability to learn aspects of leadership. Most organizations offer, or at least sponsor, classes to improve management skills. Leadership comes with the trust and respect of employees. Leaders don’t just hail from positions of power. Team members often possess frontrunner qualities. They motivate their group to reach its highest potential. What makes employees look to natural and learned leaders?

They tend to be experts in their field and visionaries with strategic plans to accomplish their visions. Leaders achieve these visions with flying colors because of the team behind them. Principled goals and moral leaders gain the respect of their employees. Employees follow managers who are enthusiastic about the project itself as well as the abilities of the team.

Leaders enhance the abilities of the team by communicating effectively. A good leader is also a great follower. That means a person of authority must also be able to listen to suggestions as well as give guidelines of their own. The back and forth communication develops a one-on-one relationship with team members. The individual relationships allow leaders to drive the team personally and as a group.

It Is More Than Accountability

Team leaders, especially, guide their teammates to this mentality. Yes, the group is responsible for completing a project. The line that separates a project from good to great is whether the team leader or management inspires the team to strive for more. Once the team moves from being merely accountable for a project to owning it, performance skyrockets. Team members become highly motivated, driven, and eager for the next task.

Leaders motivate their employees with ownership through example. Employees who see their supervisors goal-driven are much more likely to be goal-driven themselves. An employee’s performance will increase when they are more than just accountable for a project.

Gold Stars Only Do So Much

Recognition is no more than a line of little league baseball trophies in comparison to respect. Working professionals crave more than a plaque. While everyone enjoys an “atta boy” from time to time, it doesn’t inspire top performance from key talent. The respect of colleagues drives the feeling of accomplishment.

Motivated by respect on more than just a personal level, talent will perform at a higher capacity. This is not to say recognition isn’t important, because it is necessary. To inspire peak performance from team members, it takes more than just recognition. It requires respect from supervisors.

Employees Don’t Want to See Through Leadership

Employees want to be in line with leadership. They want to be able to trust the beliefs and morals of their management. For the organization’s external reputation, it is key to be transparent. Employees, on the other hand, would rather trust their leaders. Transparency does not always lead to trust, sometimes quite the opposite. Transparency sometimes seems like a front and is better left to external public relations.

Employees begin to trust leadership when management starts to have faith in the team and respects their work. An employee who has to search for reasons to trust their supervisor will lose respect for their leadership. Once management loses trust of its employees, it is a short step to losing faith in the organization.

Helping employees reach their top performance takes skills. Leadership skills. Leaders who drive top performance from employees see them as more than pawns in completing a project for the client. Give them employees a reason to be more than just accountable; give them ownership. Recognize their achievements with respect. Give them a real reason to trust their supervisors.

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Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Hogan speaks and writes on all career and workforce related subjects. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency that serves clients in the U.K., Africa, China, Israel, Europe and North America. Primarily focused on the Human Resources and Global Workforce vendors, Red Branch Media handles clients of all shapes and sizes.
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