Q. I can see my team are working hard but our results don’t support this. What should I do?
The wording of your question is a positive indicator towards the first part of my answer.
Own the problem: As you stated, these are “our results” and modelling accountability by reviewing your actions as a leader sets the example and becomes a catalyst for improved performance going forward. I can’t speak to the motivations and intent of your team, but many managers happily question these aspects as they look to distance themselves from the results. We win and lose together, so it’s best to view the situation in that way. It will also compel your team to search for solutions rather than scapegoats.
The following are a few easily repeatable steps you can take to ensure you don’t mistake motion for progress.
Share your success criteria:
Do your team have clarity in regard to what a great week’s work looks like in your eyes? Do they know what you are judged on and how their efforts can assist you to meet those measures?
Meetings, meetings, meetings:
While many of us view meetings as the bane of our existence, they are the forum where leaders flourish or flounder. A carefully choreographed agenda will help you identify what people are focussing on, how well they execute on their objectives, what they learn from their experiences and how well they collaborate to overcome obstacles and maximise opportunities. Done correctly, this can be the 30 minutes with the highest ROI in your entire work week. For the best results even consider doubling down on the process – Meet on a Monday to
Focus on the process not the outcome:
It’s important to select measures that monitor aspects that are within the control of the individual.
Easy to track and extract:
It’s counterintuitive (but very common) to spend long periods of time, documenting actions or running reports to justify peoples use of time. Create measures that aren’t onerous for you or your direct reports to.
Recognise the right behaviours:
Tied to your achievement: