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6 October, 2015

How to Improve Employee Performance at Work – The Importance of Leadership Process

This week we’re going to take a look at the importance of Leadership Process.

I’ve been lucky enough to observe and interview hundreds of high performing first-line and middle managers over the last 19 years.

I’ve noticed some commonalities across this group. I call these commonalities ‘The 7 Disciplines of Effective Leaders’.

These disciplines are:

1. Drive for results.
2. Focus on critical work behaviour.
3. Providing positive feedback to reinforce behaviour.
4. Willingness to confront poor performance.
5. Having a system for noticing what people are doing.
6. Supporting others.
7. Linking work to its organisational impact.

If you think about those disciplines in a little more depth, you’ll realise that some of them have to do with mindset, some of them have to do with skill, and some with process.

When it comes to recruiting managers, we often select on mindset, and we can train for skill. But here’s the question – what do you do about process?

Many businesses in many industries use process to optimise performance.

Prior to World War 2, aircraft became so complex to fly that even highly skilled pilots couldn’t fly them safely. The solution was to create documented processes for them to follow; step-by-step checklists to follow pre-flight, during taxiing and take-off, in-flight and for landing.

Actually, if you think wider, you’ll notice that processes are used a great deal; engineers use blueprints, builders use plans, chefs use recipes. Their employers don’t leave it to chance that performance will be optimal. They make sure they have processes in place; even for highly skilled professionals.

I’m going to suggest that you consider doing the same for your people managers, if you haven’t done so already.

Document the step-by-step activities you require of your managers to optimise the performance of their teams. In particular, focus on the day-to-day and week-to-week activities of your first-line and middle managers.

Next week I’ll explain why you might want to focus on those day-to-day leadership activities.

Until then, have a superb week!


To get our report “The #1 Most Costly Leadership Development Mistake Businesses Make, and What to do About It”, which shows how to make sure you get the increases in employee performance and engagement you’re wanting from your leadership development program, for more profit, click here.


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