Altitude Advisory director Andrew Mattner has spent his career fascinated by the challenges of team performance, both as an employee and an employer. Here are his top tips for getting the best out of your team.
Getting the best performance out of employees is one of the biggest challenges facing employers in business, but you can help to improve standards by asking one simple question.
The standard of performance of a team, or lack of it, is one of the biggest stresses of an employer.
I often hear the frustration from business owners and managers about the quality of performance from their team. “They don’t do this, they don’t do that. If only they could achieve this, why don’t they get this result?”
How can you improve your team’s performance?
There have been countless books, articles, videos and general opinion about how to get employees to perform better. These include things such as the culture of the business, clarity on purpose, leadership of senior people, performance targets and performance management. One thing that has always stood out for me is someone’s underlying desire to do a good job.
I know as a young advisor I was consistently challenged by my supervisors to push the boundaries of my capability to improve. I was constantly tested and, as a result, my level of effort increased as I worked to impress my employers and to improve.
In the same way I have also pushed the team members I have worked with by asking one simple question of them when they present a project for review or discussion. The simple question is, “Is that your best work?”.
Be grateful for best effort
One thing that is always critical to remember is that when you are presented with someone’s best work that you are grateful for their effort. This gratefulness must exist even if you are unhappy with the result or final product, no matter how difficult that seem to you. Someone can only ever provide their best effort and if they are admonished for the result, the potential benefit or learning is lost, potentially for good.
Asking someone bluntly if what they have done is their best may seem a bit confronting but it provides numerous benefits and insights to both the employee and the employer.
Some of the benefits include:
- Ensuring that the team member has clearly considered their work as being complete before presentation
- Improving efficiency and profitability by reducing rework
- Giving the team member increased opportunities for improvement as they push the boundaries of their skills
- Providing you with a clear understanding of their capabilities meaning that you can establish suitable training and mentoring programs to gain improvement