Focusing on the small fixes will not put out the fire. Instead, this approach only takes up your time and leads to your company losing sight of larger, more important issues.
Successful companies understand that achieving success is about addressing larger culture issues within the organization. Getting your organizational culture right is what leads to building a high performance work environment. This starts with leadership.
A high performance work environment starts with leadership
The most important component of a high performance work environment is people. Engaged and motivated people, when supported by appropriate tools, resources, and leadership will help your company achieve the desired results.
The reality is the drive and motivation you expect from your employees is not always there. Without the proper guidance, support, and a clear vision of what is expected of them, employees are not going to create the results you want. And, how can you expect them to? They are often unclear on where you want to go. They are looking for leaders to guide them. This is why high performance work environments start with leadership.
Your primary role as a leader is to create an environment where your employees can be successful. If you want them to thrive in their role, not only do you need to understand what they require to be successful; you need to give it to them.
To set the example there are four vital leadership behaviors that communicate performance expectation.
Leadership behaviors that create a high performance environment
As a leader it is your role to shape organizational culture and create a high performance environment. This is accomplished through four vital behaviors:
- Develop a clear inspiring vision: The first step in any journey is deciding where you want to go. Without the end in mind, you are just wandering around and could end up anywhere. Having clarity in your own mind of where you want to end up is essential to developing a plan to achieve your goal.
Your vision should be something you have a personal passion for achieving. After all, it will be hard work and not easily achieved—so if you are not inspired you will soon lose your motivation and those around you will quickly lose theirs as well.
- Communicate an inspiring vision: Communicating an inspiring vision is more than simply talking about it or putting up posters on the walls. It is living the vision. As a leader you need to model the attitudes and behaviors you expect from your team. Importantly, you need to make the vision part of the everyday conversation, so it isn’t simply words on a wall—but an attitude that supports a clear picture of where you want the organization to go.
If you cannot clearly communicate your vision, your employees will lack direction and will adopt their own version of what they “think” your vision might be.
An inspiring vision needs to be articulated clearly and with passion if you want your employees to connect, adopt, and accept it. Your employees must understand two things about your vision for the company:
- How their role in the company contributes to your vision
- What is expected of them in their role within the company
If these points are not clear, their level of engagement and motivation will suffer. You as a leader need to take specific and intentional action to ensure employees understand their role in order to increase their level of engagement and strengthen their commitment to the company.
- Continuously challenging people to remain focused on the vision: Keeping your employees focused and engaged is challenging. It is critical they place the company vision and goals above their own personal motivations.
Don’t be afraid to hold your employees to a high standard. Make it clear that you expect quality results and challenge them to exceed expectations. Employees with easily achieved performance expectations can get lazy and lose their momentum and that leads to a dip in performance.
You need to set expectations that are aspirational but achievable, and then provide the support they need to achieve your vision and maintain a high level of performance. Offer coaching, training and challenge employees by offering performance incentives.
- Provide support to achieve your vision: Without proper support your vision will fall flat and your company’s performance will suffer as a result. Your company vision is not a “create it and forget it” exercise. It is something that strengthens over time as your company evolves.
Support comes from coaching and providing feedback to help employees do their job at a high level and to ensure their actions are aligned with the company’s vision. And, achievements that further the company vision need to be recognized to maintain employee engagement into the future.
While many companies are effective at creating a clear vision and communicating it to their employees, it is the support function that often gets overlooked. Revisit how you provide support to the employees in your organization.