You Can’t See It, They
Won’t Do It:
Creating a High Performance Team
by Della Menechella
Recently, while developing a customer service program, I asked my client
to provide me with detailed descriptions of behaviors he wanted his team members
to engage in. He called me back a
short time later and told me that his department heads were having a difficult
time with the assignment. They knew
what the employees were doing wrong, but they couldn’t put into words what
excellent performance looked like.
You may be saying to yourself, “Where did he find these managers?
How could they not be able to describe acceptable behavior?”
Actually, this situation is very common.
Most team leaders know what they want their members to stop doing, but
they aren’t clear about what they want them to do instead.
By following the steps listed below, you will have a clear plan to guide
your members to outstanding performance.
Describe What It Looks Like - You need to get clarity about how you want your team members to act.
Create a picture in your mind of what outstanding performance looks like.
Concentrate on the actual behaviors that are involved.
Don’t use phrases like an excellent team member would have a good
attitude. That leaves too much room
for misinterpretation. Focus on the
behavior. If team members had good
attitudes, what would they do? How would they use their bodies, their voices, what
actions would they be taking?
Choose The Most Critical Elements – Once you have listed the excellent behaviors, prioritize them.
List the most critical behavior that absolutely must be done.
Then list the second critical behavior, the third, etc.
You will come up with a hierarchy of behavioral standards.
Communicate Your Expectations – Once you have determined the most important behaviors, you must let
your staff know what is expected of them. One
of the biggest reasons for poor performance is that team leaders are not
effective in communicating expectations to their team.
Most people want to do a good job. However,
ideas of doing a good job are very subjective.
You must clearly state the behavior that you expect.
If there are areas where employees are weak, provide them with the
necessary training to improve their skills.
Give Feedback – Let your
team members know how they are doing. Provide
both positive and constructive feedback. Don’t
wait for the annual evaluation. Feedback
should be a continuous process. If
a team member is performing at a high level, let him or her know.
Often, we don’t take time to recognize good behavior, but that is
wasting a very important motivational tool.
People like to receive praise for a job well done.
When they receive that praise, they are more likely to repeat the
behavior. Let team members know
when their behavior falls short of the mark.
Again, focus on the behavior, not the personality.
Describe the incorrect behavior and tell them the behavior that is
expected. Once they begin to perform in the appropriate way, recognize
and praise the new behavior.
Continue To Add New Behaviors
– As team members become adept at key behaviors, it is time to add new ones to
the level of expected performance. By
setting up expectations in steps, it prevents staff members from feeling
overwhelmed. It also allows them to
experience the sweetness of success as they gain mastery over the previous
So as you lead your team on a day-by-day basis, remember if you can’t see what you want them to do, there is no way they will be able to do it. Follow this plan and you will discover that you have created a high performance team of which you can be proud.
Della Menechella is a speaker and trainer who helps organizations achieve greater success by improving the performance of their people. She is a contributing author to Thriving in the Midst of Change and the author of the videotape The Twelve Commandments of Goal Setting. She can be reached at 732-985-1919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.dellamenechella.com for other free articles about how to achieve peak performance.
Feel free to copy and use any of these articles as long as the contact information remains intact. All material is copyrighted and remains the property of Personal Peak Performance Unlimited.
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