Learning how to bring out the best in others is one of the most important things you will ever do as a leader.

The value of bringing out the best in your team is clear: colleagues who have good leaders are naturally motivated to do their best, while the opposite is true for those with ineffective managers.

“Project Oxygen”, a study undertaken by Google confirmed that managers who scored high semi-annual performance evaluations had subordinates who also scored highly on performance and retention. To consolidate this a study by  Lazear, E., Shaw, K., Stanton, C. “The value of bosses” Journal of Labor Economics noted that “moving a worker from an average quality boss to one in the 90th percentile raised worker productivity by six units per hour, on a mean productivity of ten units per hour. Thus, when workers move from an average boss to a high-quality boss, productivity could rise by 50%.”

Traits of a good leader:

Self-aware; curious; courageous; culturally fluent; collaborative; passionate about developing others; employee-centred approach; engages team; results-oriented; shares organisational insights effectively; is present; listens deeply; encourages the movement of talent; communicates the vision for the team;

These findings give us an appreciation of the need to have leaders in your organisation that focus on bringing out the best in the people in their employ. In this article, we look at the traits such a leader should possess.

Leads by example

In the world of sports, the best coaches were star players first. In order to bring out the best in your team, your behaviour needs to match your expectations. By modelling the attitude, work ethic and standards you expect from the team you inspire them to reach their own potential. Furthermore, being an expert in your field and understanding what is required to be a top performer before taking on a leadership role means you are in a position to impart valuable knowledge and skills gained over time to others because ultimately the best bosses are good teachers.

Identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses

Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each individual team member. Once you’ve identified their strengths, you need to give your employees the opportunities to use them. Work with them to map out their career paths, and provide the coaching and mentoring needed to become their best selves. People genuinely want to succeed, and it’s your job as a leader to equip them with what they need in order to develop and accomplish their objectives.  Josh Bersin notes in his article, HR Technology in 2018 “Continuous performance management is possible, it works, and it can transform your company. We’re not talking about doing away with ratings, rather we are talking about building a new, ongoing process for goal setting, coaching, evaluation, and feedback.” Appeal to your team’s strengths and give them responsibility, as they earn small wins, their confidence grows.

Create a psychologically safe environment

The human brain is hardwired to detect threats to physical or emotional safety. Negative criticism generally shuts down the parts of the brain responsible for creativity and problem solving, which is why giving people permission to think, speak, and act with reason generates an environment conducive for high-level work and breeds loyalty. Taking time to remain connected with one’s team means you have insight into their needs and are in a position to detect problems as and when they come up.

Give recognition where it’s due

Fair, clear, and consistent praise is about making employees feel good about themselves – this gives them confidence in their contribution to the company when they feel challenged as well as when things are going well. Giving recognition when it’s due and taking time to let your employees know the positive impact their work has on the business makes them feel valued for their output. Valued employees also trust the organisation they work for and are more likely to remain loyal.

The importance of equipping leaders in your organisation with the necessary skills to bring out the best in others cannot be downplayed. With one boss overseeing at times large teams, the impact of a bad manager is far-reaching with great effect on worker productivity.  It is therefore vital to employ supervisors with serious consideration.

At Factor10 we understand the demand for peak performance leadership and the value leaders impart to an organisation. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you develop leaders who inspire leadership in others.