Empowering Top Performers Through Effective Leadership
Leadership/ManagementDevelopment – By Pam Marinko
What would you say if I told you that to be 37 times better at something in one year, all you have to do is improve one percent every day? According to bestselling author James Clear in Atomic Habits, this is possible—and that one percent progress is well within the realm of possibility for all of us.
Now, translate this insight to your sales team: What if you encouraged your core and top sales professionals to aim for one percent improvement at something every week? How significant would that be to your team and overall organization?
By incorporating the below strategies into your daily coaching activities, you will notice the impact small changes have on everyday performance—and after one year, you will see remarkable advancement.
Create a positive, honest and transparent relationship
Research has shown that an ideal ratio of positive-to-negative reinforcement is at least three-to-one, with some studies indicating an even higher ratio. More than just verbal praise, positive reinforcement is providing meaningful, actionable feedback that increases the likelihood of a behavior occurring.
Cultivate an environment of self-direction, self-organizing and self-motivation
One effective method of creating collaborative coaching environments is to ask empowering questions to heighten a team member’s individual sense of ownership, critical thinking and performance investment. Resist the urge to provide a solution or give specific direction on how to introduce new behaviors. Instead, use open-ended questions focused on self-discovery to challenge team members.
- Create clarity: “Can you explain more about this situation?”
- Build better relationships: “How are you doing with progress toward your goal?”
- Increase analytical and critical thinking: “What obstacles do you envision by taking this approach?”
- Inspire creativity and introspection: “What made your conversation successful?”
- Challenge assumptions and established processes: “What are the benefits of maintaining your approach compared to looking for another one for this situation?”
- Create ownership: “Based on your experience, what do you suggest we do in this situation?”
Increase active participation in goal-setting and performance improvement
Encourage team members to discuss how they will incrementally develop their skills and achieve their goals. As a manager, you will assume the role of moderator/facilitator to spark discussion and introspection for incremental goals. To achieve desired results:
- Use empowering questions to discover new individual goals.
- Discuss and continually update lists of the top two or three identified goals to enable collaborative prioritization, and the top two or three impediments to achieving the goals.
Have frequent check-ins to show you care
Everyone likes to feel like they matter. By increasing your communication and check-ins, you will strengthen your relationships with employees. In Shawn Achor’s book Happiness Advantage, he cites multiple studies illustrating how sound employee-manager relationships enhance success individually, as a team and as a company.
As you implement the above strategies into your everyday, your employees will begin demonstrating small changes that will positively impact their own self-confidence and ultimately drive bottom-line performance.
Pam Marinko is chief executive officer of Proficient Learning. Email Pam at