By Sarah Watson
What’s the secret of those people who seem to get such incredible results despite the fact that they are working with basically the same pool of people as we are?
We live in a results based world. We’re judged by what we produce and what we contribute to our families and communities. In the last 20 or 30 years, there’s been a lot of focus on developing management skills because we’re told that good management skills result in good results. Although this is not untrue, it’s not the full story either. Certainly a strong set of management skills will ensure you get results (or worst case show you’re trying), but getting extraordinary results from ordinary people requires more than just a finely honed set of management skills.
When researchers look at those people who achieve extraordinary results, they certainly find good management skills, but they also find good management skills in those who get lack luster results too. Good management skills are vital to achieving success, but they aren’t enough.
The secret of those people who tend to get extraordinary results is people who work with and for them want to help them get results. They are distinguished by the fact that they are not just managers, but leaders. Those who get extraordinary results tend to be extraordinary leaders. Here are the attitudes and habits research shows makes the difference between ordinary managers and extraordinary leaders. Understand and assimilate them and you’ll see your own results improve dramatically.
There are no ordinary people
Extraordinary leaders recognize every one of their people, given the right circumstances and challenges, have the potential to produce extraordinary results. They know there are no ‘ordinary people,’ just ordinary leaders who get ordinary results from people with the potential to do much more. It is this recognition that, a ‘weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place,’ that describes the way they treat their people and, in turn, the way their people choose to give their all to help them achieve the results they crave. Look for strengths in your people.
Set the tone
Great leaders lead by example. The company becomes the boss. If you are positive, dedicated, persistent, and goal-oriented then you’ll develop this sort of atmosphere in your department or organization. If you are negative about your people, depressed about the future, and disinclined to go the extra mile then don’t be surprised when you’re employees begin to mirror your attitude. Model the attitude and behaviors you want from your people.
Give your people a great reputation
Dale Carnegie outlined ten timeless principles for perfect human relationships, one of which is “Give people a high reputation to live up to.” Tell your people what you are trying to achieve, explain the importance of their contributions to these goals, train and skill them to be effective, and then invest confidence and belief in them. Tell them how certain you are they will excel. People will go to the ends of the earth to preserve a good reputation, so give them one!
Use your coaching time well
In his book ‘How to become a better boss,’ Jeffrey Fox suggests that you spend 90 percent of your one on one coaching and management time with your top performers. So, if you spend ten hours of your week working with your people, you should spend six of those hours with those people who are delivering 70 percent of your results (the time tested 80-20 rule applies everywhere); spend three of those hours with your emerging ‘stars’ (those who have the potential to make the top performer group) and spend just 10 percent of your time with those who are not contributing and never will. Effective investment of your coaching time will pay big dividends. Don’t assume that your top performers need no time just because they are getting results; these people are your gold, treasure them.
Give lots and lot of recognition
Every study on why people leave jobs, or stay in jobs, excel in jobs, or ‘die’ in jobs, highlights the key role of recognition. Institutionalize as many initiatives as you can to catch people doing something right. When you do, thank them privately, but praise them publicly. Not even money has the motivating power of public recognition for a job well done. The great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said ‘the easiest way to knock a chip off someone’s shoulder is to let them take a bow.’ Catch even your worst people doing something right and praise them publicly and you’ll see their attitudes change.
Evolving from a good manager to an extraordinary leader requires nothing more than additional focus. Doing all of those things that make the people who work for you look and feel good about what they are doing will result in the best possible results.
How do you get exceptional results from your people?