How do you bring out the best in people? Managers want their people to achieve excellence at work. Leaders and management alike know that without people motivated for peak performance, companies will fail to succeed.
To achieve peak performance — a combination of excellence, consistency and ongoing improvement— one must find the right job, tasks and conditions that match an employee's talent. Therefore, facilitating the right fit becomes one of a manager’s most crucial responsibilities.
Disengaged Or Bored?
Disengaged employees often appear to lack commitment. In reality, we all crave engagement. No one enjoys working without passion or joy.
While many factors cause disengagement, the most prevalent is feeling overwhelmed — or, conversely, underwhelmed. Disconnection and overload pose obstacles to performance, yet they often go undetected or ignored because neither qualifies as a disciplinary issue.
Meanwhile, managers try to work around such problems, hoping for a miraculous turnaround or a spark that reignites energy and drive. They try incentives, empowerment programs or the management “fad du jour,” but with only temporary success.
While it’s impossible to create “flow” moments all day long, any manager can greatly improve on the ability to help people achieve peak performance.
Use Brain Science to Bring Out the Best
While no management guru has found the golden key to unlocking the full panoply of human potential at work, research sheds new light on possibilities.
As far back as a 2005 Harris poll, 33 percent of 7,718 employees surveyed believed they had reached a dead end in their jobs, and 21 percent were eager to change careers.
The situation isn't improving. In 2014, a survey revealed 52.3 percent of Americans were unhappy at work.
When so many people are moving from one job to the next, something is wrong. They clearly have not landed in the right outlets for their talents and strengths.
The better the fit with the job, the better the performance. People require clear roles that allow them to succeed, while also providing room to learn, grow and be challenged.
5 Steps to Boost Performance
Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, author of Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People (Harvard Business Press, 2011), synthesizes research into five steps managers can apply to maximize employees’ performance.
Cited as “The Cycle of Excellence,” it exploits the powerful interaction between an individual’s intrinsic capabilities and extrinsic environment:
- Select: Put the right people in the right job, and give them responsibilities that “light up” their brains.
- Connect: Strengthen interpersonal bonds among team members.
- Play: Help people unleash their imaginations at work.
- Grapple and Grow: When the pressure’s on, enable employees to achieve mastery of their work.
- Shine: Use the right rewards to promote loyalty and stoke your people’s desire to excel.
Step 1: Select
Examine how three key questions intersect:
- At what tasks or jobs does this person excel?
- What does he/she like to do?
- How does he/she add value to the organization?
Set the stage for your employees to do well with responsibilities they enjoy.
Step 2: Connect
Managers and employees require a mutual atmosphere of trust, optimism, openness, transparency, creativity and positive energy.
A positive working environment starts with how the boss handles negativity, failure and problems. They set the tone and model preferred behaviors and reactions. Employees take their cues from those who lead them.
To encourage connection:
- Look for the spark of brilliance within everyone.
- Encourage a learning mindset.
- Model and teach optimism.
- Learn about each person.
- Treat everyone with respect, especially those you dislike.
- Meet people where they are; most will do their best with what they have.
- Seek out the quiet ones, and try to bring them in.
When people are floundering, the last thing they need is to have their flaws and mistakes spotlighted. Instead, make sure you understand the real issues.
Step 3: Play
Play isn’t limited to break time. Activities that involve imagination light up our brains and produce creative thoughts and ideas. A playful attitude boost morale, reduce fatigue and bring joy to workdays.
Encourage imaginative thinking:
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Encourage everyone to produce three new ideas each month.
- Allow for irreverence or goofiness (without disrespect).
- Reward new ideas and innovations.
- Encourage people to question everything.
Step 4: Grapple and Grow
Help people engage imaginatively with tasks they like and at which they excel. Encourage them to stretch beyond their usual limits. If tasks are too easy, people fall into boredom and routine without making any progress or learning anything new.
The job of a manager is to be a catalyst when people get stuck, offering suggestions but letting them work out solutions.
Step 5: Shine
Every employee should feel recognized and valued for what he or she does. Recognition should not be reserved solely for a group’s stars.
When a person is underperforming, consider lack of recognition a cause. An employee usually won’t voice feeling undervalued, so you must look for subtle signs. In addition:
- Catch someone doing something right. It doesn’t have to be unusual or spectacular.
- Be generous with praise. People will pick up on your use of praise and start to perform for themselves and each other.
- Recognize attitudes, as well as achievements. Optimism and a growth mindset are two attitudes you can single out and encourage. Look for others.
When you’re in sync with your people, you create positive energy and opportunities for peak performance. Working together can be one of life’s greatest joys—and it’s what we’re wired to do.
Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put strengths-based leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.
One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.
Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-i 2.0, Hogan Lead, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture strengths-based conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.
Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching and leadership development firm helping innovative companies and law firms develop emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders. We help build coaching cultures of positive engagement.
...About Dr. Maynard Brusman
Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Emotional Intelligence & Mindful Leadership Workplace Expert
I coach leaders to cultivate clarity, creativity, focus, trust, and full engagement in a purpose-driven culture.
Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.
Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica.
“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching
The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded rare "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development. Alan Weiss, Ph.D., President, Summit Consulting Group
Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?
Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader.
Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company. Mindful leadership starts from within.
I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.
I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Forbes and Fast Company.
Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.
After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, and more stress resiliency helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.
You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible.
For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 415-546-1252.
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