Here are some simple strategies any leader can use to improve organizational performance:
- Articulate a vision and mission – Tie the mission to the needs of team members, the team as a whole, the organization, and all stakeholders, and ideally to making the world a better place.
- Set clear measurable goals – Preferably in concert with the team and organization. Then ensure there is feedback on performance and progress reports toward goals.
- Tell the truth – Always be honest with everyone and expect the same in return. Build a foundation of trust.
- Be ethical – Set impeccable personal ethical standards. Always take the high road. As a leader, your behavior sets the ethical culture for the organization. Enable people to be better human beings.
- Reward results – For both individuals and for the team.
- Hire the best – Build a culture that attracts candidates, proactively create a pipeline of good candidates, and hire people smarter than you.
- Praise in public, criticize in private!
- Be a servant leader – Your job is to enable people to do their job well, and to provide the resources so the team can do its job well.
- Share victories – Take the blame for failures, don’t scapegoat, share victories as a team effort.
- Manage as well as lead – Provide resources, organize as necessary, schedule, and monitor.
- Be inclusive – Proactively seek out diversity and diverse thinking to build a broader perspective and greater innovation.
- Mentor – Train, coach, listen, and actively help team members toward their career goals.
- Don’t abuse your power – No sexual harassment, undue personal enrichment, preying on the powerless, etc. Treat people with respect, dignity, and humanity.
These concepts apply whether you are a new first line supervisor, a middle manager, business owner, or President of the United States. If you miss on many of these, your organization will underperform, you will have high turnover, and your stakeholders will be unhappy.
If you can consistently apply them all, your organization will deliver superior performance. It’s as simple as that!