Geeta Varma

Freelance HR Professional



In the corporate parlance performance is considered very important for both the employee and the employer. How successful you are at work is largely determined by your attitude and how you spend your time. Every individual believes that they perform well on the job provided they are led, governed,nurtured and guided by a good leader. It is human tendency to affiliate with others in order to perform on the job either as an individual or as in a group depending on the tasks. Nonetheless, none of us can possibly disagree that we are influenced by our peers, colleagues and our leaders; depending on the strokes received by them our performances are heavily predisposed. Hence, reluctantly we need to accept the fact that leader and his style greatly impacts the performance of the individuals, especially in a country like India where relationships, affiliations matter tremendously.

As an individual, we are well aware that we should be able to manage our work, set priorities, possess a sense of urgency and have the ability to get the job done fast. It is an established statement that the management places an extraordinarily high value on a person who can set priorities and move quickly as speed and dependability in job completion is one of the most valued traits in the workforce. While an individual strives to better their skills by constantly up scaling their knowledge, individual personality matters as well. Probably 85% of success in the world of work is directly attributed to personality and communication ability. How much respect and acceptability that the person receives determines the popularity and results. As Jim Collins the famous author of “Good to Great” has written that one thing that separates the greatest most successful leaders from the rest is the ability to deliver sustained excellence. It’s the mark of a level 5 leader, that which is not easy to attain. Such managers turn in a consistent high performance no matter what happens. The question then is how?

As a great leader what should you be doing different to get the best out of your team, how do you set yourself apart, beat the rest, be at the top? Questions can be endless and seeking answers a thirsty road. To begin with as an exemplary leader the individual himself has to chalk a clear path of victory by taking victorious steps like being physically and mentally fresh having a well-balanced life style. Richard Branson the undeniably successful founder of the Virgin Group once said “My family means the world to me, much more than business”. Peep into the personal life of any great leader and you will find that they lead a robust life style outside of work, where they are socially active, physical exercise, a sport, a hobby, listening to music, avid reader or any other activity other than work related relaxes and frees your mind from stress. There is purpose in doing all of this because life full of other things leads to creative solutions to business issues. Has an individual ever given the best to a tired, stressed out leader?

A good leader who infuses energy to his team is an alert mind, very productive by nature, plans for successful actions methodically, is motivated without much of external stimuli, committed to see success are never resting on achievements and last but not the least is not a person to settle. Great leaders are by nature restless and demanding on their own capabilities. ”If you accept that something is good enough, you will never be great”, so rightly said by Jim Collins. Logic is simple: High performing leaders create better organizational climates, which results in more productive employees and greater company performance.Since a leader can dictate up to 70% of positive organizational climate, it should be ensured that they are adept at using a variety of leadership styles depending upon the situations faced. As indicated earlier in the article, performance of the team greatly depends upon the leader, then what should be the fit recipe for a great leader and how can we achieve high performance? No one solution will fit all but an attempt should be made to keep adapting to situations for better results, remember humans are dealing with other humans and do we feel good with one behavior at all times? I think not, so then what to do?

Whether you are born a leader or learn to be a good leader you would certainly need to be a positive role model – walk the talk, exhibit actions that you want your team to emulate; be humble – give credit to your team for successful stories, admit mistakes, show willingness to seek answers from other sources, team members; surely no blame game here?; develop effective communication – be open, approachable, build individual relations with team, be confidential; mentor your team; be sensitive to emotions yet be objective; encourage transparency, individual creativity; show individual and respect creativity; passionate about work, team members and know them well; be natural and positive as much as possible; keep challenging the team to strive higher and harder; stay connected with your people, be direct and honest; encourage feedback and feed forward. All of this habits or traits requires skill, patience and creativity.

How can it lead to better performance? Leaders have followed several ways to get the best out of their employees such as maintaining records by listing differences and similarities among their team members, using these notes to plan techniques to identify goals for them in accordance to their skills, aptitude and capabilities. Such leaders do ensurevery effective interpersonal communication skills accepting and adjusting to work styles, culture and individual needs. Become the role model for the team where they see the leader as a normal person, accepting mistakes, seeking options to problems, being transparent in actions, not being prejudiced or bias towards team members, praising the team on accomplishing jobs as employees are likely to exceed job expectations when they have a sense of pride and are praised for their efforts, providing regular feedback. In case of sluggish employees encourage them to perform, draw improvement plans to reduce poor performance, train them for higher responsibilities, bridge the gap between expected and having skills through training, and invest personal time with each member for better skills, performance. Keep the team well informed on every management decision as an engaged employee can also contribute positively towards decision making indirectly.

It may not be incorrect to say that a great leader follows the team members by accepting their views unhesitatingly, implementing them and giving the credit to them. Such open support of the team can only vertically grow both the interpersonal relationships, tighter bonds between teams and achieving better performance and results.

As with the ideal parent so with the leader, one who acts on what he says gets the best result, hence in conclusion if the leader is an achiever and performer, he will have a team which also wants to be the same and work towards the goal.

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