In this Blog Post
Leading people is a difficult job. You probably have lots of tasks to manage, deadlines to meet and requests from your team to deal with. Alongside that, you have to ensure that your team performs to the standard you and your business expect.
Because you have all of these things to deal with, the last thing you need is something going wrong - especially when it comes to your team members not performing to the standards they should be.
It's easy to lay blame at their door, but a leader also needs to look at themselves to see if they are the underlying cause (or some of the cause) of the problems.
Not giving the team feedback - you know it's part of your job, but when the pressure is on to deliver results and deadlines, feedback might seem like one of those distractions you could do without. 1400 executives who were asked by the Ken Blanchard companies suggest failing to provide feedback is one of the biggest mistakes leaders make.
Providing regular feedback to your team members, both positive and developmental (not negative) keeps your team members in the picture and helps them to perform better. Without it, they'll just continue to do what they are doing. If they are performing well, a lack of feedback will eventually lead to demotivation and decreased performance. It's easier to maintain performance than manage poor performance.
Make time for the team and for providing regular coaching and feedback. Plan it in as a regular activity.
Not Balancing Your Approach - don't micromanage your team. Standing over them and constantly observing and making changes will eventually lead to demotivation. But, we've already mentioned the impact of being too-standoffish above.
Get the balance right. Trust your team members to deliver and make regular check-ins with them. See the points below about setting your team members to work.
Not Managing the Relationship - Being everyone's friend may seem like a nice thing to be, but it can lead to more problems than you may think. Being too friendly makes it harder to manage people when things don't go so well. People may take advantage of your good-natured approach and will find it hard to take you seriously when you have to become more assertive and deal with their poor performance.
You can have a very good relationship with your team without being their friend. Being supportive and approachable is a good starting point.
Setting Unclear Goals and Objectives - Your team need direction. They need to know what is expected of them. Leaving them to their own devices or setting fuzzy or unclear goals will certainly lead to under-performance. You can lay some blame with them for not asking enough questions, but the responsibility clearly lies with the leader to ensure all goals and objectives are clear. Using SMART is a good starting point for this.
Role Modelling the Wrong Behaviours - how your team behave and what attitude they have will largely depend on that of the leader. The team will look to the leader for some guidance on how to act and behave. If the leader's attitude and behaviour are negative, you can't blame the team for demonstrating the same.
The Wrong Motivation - ask anyone what motivates them to achieve more, you can almost guarantee that money is on the list - in most cases in the first place. Money isn't the only motivator there is. If you wave money n front of people they will perform, but only until it's in their back pocket. Once it's there, performance begins to slip until the next wad of cash is available.
Understanding what really motivates people is very important. Taking to your team members and finding out what makes them tick means you can provide them with what they need. Whether that's more recognition (i.e. pats on the back), more challenging objectives, being in control or something else, once you know you can give them what's needed.
Not Delegating - delegation can be used for 2 things - a time management approach and a development tool. By providing more development opportunities you can provide motivation to the team. It also means you can focus on getting more of your other tasks done if the team are taking responsibility for the others.
Don't use the excuse of not having time to delegate. Invest the time now in developing someone to carry out a task means you reap the rewards a bit later.
Do you need some help with any of the above? Our leadership skills training courses provide lots of help, advice, guidance, tips and tools on all of the above points. Take a look at our Leadership Skills Training Courses page here for more details.