In one way or another many executives I am coaching ask me this question “How do I motivate and inspire excellence in my team?”
As with all leadership skills this takes time, individual understanding and respect.
Here are six tips for inspiring excellence:
1. Select excellent team members
No matter how effective a leader you are, you cannot inspire excellence in someone who doesn’t have the essential capabilities.
As discussed elsewhere such excellence requires technical competence but more importantly emotional competence.
2. Create a culture of respect
This starts with you. Respect yourself, value yourself, base your leadership on sound principles and integrity. Have a zero tolerance for disrespectful culture and behaviour in your workplace. With workplace conflict any lack of respect becomes most obvious. It displays itself in two ways: avoidance of difficult conversations and rudely handled conversations.
- The first is the more common and the most serious. It is disrespectful to allow poor behaviour to go unadressed. Politely, persistently pursue all breaches of the agreed code of conduct in your team. (This assumes you have a code of conduct)
- Second, ensure that when difficult conversations occur they are managed politely and respectfully with the aim of learning and increasing understanding and effective performance.
3. Know your team individually
This takes time, but not a lot of time. You don’t have to have someone over for a meal every week in order to understand something that’s their interest outside of work, their passions, their sports, their reading, their holidays and so on. Genuine interest (note the word genuine) takes only a few sentences to share and build a friendly and open connection with your team member. This tip doesn’t just increase friendliness and connection but also expands your understanding of what motivates them.
4. Be transparently fair
Treating your team with fairness requires you to maintain a high level of awareness about your own biases and hidden preferences.
Conduct your own internal fairness audit on a regular basis. Is one person getting away with being late for meetings on a regular basis? Does a team member have more professional development opportunities than others? Do you interrupt someone more often than other team members? Are you accessable to all the team in the same way?
Like with parenting being fair doesn’t mean treating everyone with exact equality. It means giving everyone the same opportunities to achieve good things for the team.
5. Take every opportunity to be a coach
Micahel Bungay Stanier has an exquisite process for coaching for inspiring excellence.
THE BEST 7 COACHING QUESTIONS
- The Kickstart Question: “What’s on Your Mind?”
- The Awe Question: “And What Else?”
- The Focus Question: What’s the Real Challenge Here for You?
- The Foundation Question: “What Do You Want?”
- The Lazy Question: How Can I Help?
- The Strategic Question: If You’re Saying Yes to This, What Are You Saying No To?
- The Learning Question: “What Was Most Useful for You?”
From The Coaching Habit. Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever, by Michael Bungay Stanier
6. Have a sense of humour.
Laugh at yourself occasionally. Don’t take things too seriously and enjoy the absurd as much as you focus on excellent performance.
If you would like to discuss inspiring excellence in your team please give me a call