High Achievement Leadership Traits

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There is lots of talk about High Performing Teams but I prefer to refer to High Achieving teams.

As a HR/People and Productivity consultant, I quickly determine how high performing or achieving and effective an organisation is by asking team members five simple questions.

  1. Are you aware of the company vision and mission – why you do what you do?
  2. Are you aware of your values and non-values?
  3. What are the 3 most important things for your organisation to achieve right now?
  4. What are the 3 most important things that you are focusing on right now?
  5. What is at least one professional development area they are focusing on in the next 90 days?

If you AND team members can answer these five questions to start with, then I know that I’m probably walking into a high achieving organisation.

In the same light, we often hear leaders talk about position descriptions and responsibilities but much more rarely, do we hear leaders or team member’s talk about accountabilities.

So, here are 7 leadership activities that will assist you in working towards building high achieving teams.

1. Define team member accountabilities

This is harder than it sounds and requires leaders to be crystal clear on what is important. That is why if you can nail them, they are so beneficial. We find team member accountabilities far more useful than long winded position descriptions – which still of course have a place but don’t necessarily drive behaviour and focus.

 2. Build ‘thinking differently’ and innovation into your regular rhythms of review

Learning ways for you and your team to think outside the box and do things differently can help determine how your business responds to business frustrations, process reviews and crisis situations. Proactively reviewing your frustrations, conducting project reviews and/or pivoting or disrupting your business, products or services is a skill that needs to be learnt and is extremely powerful if you can teach your teams how to do it so you have more ‘heads on it’ than just yours.

 3. Goal Setting, managing your time and making decisions quickly.

Defining what you want and need to focus on has never been important. Understanding clearly what is critical and what will deliver results is fundamental to your overall success. While there may need to be some adjustments, it is critical to not lose the ability to focus on the medium and long term potential to maximise opportunities. Ensuring you have the right plan in place that suits your business or division is fundamental to getting everyone on the same page concerning what is important.

Crisis situations (COVID has provided us with a great example of this) have demonstrated very clearly those business leaders that are able to make quick decisions and those who are not. The inability to make a decision or overthinking may be the difference between a business succeeding or failing. Having clear decision charters or criteria to make decisions against are critical to reducing procrastination and being able to move forward with confidence.

 4. Keep your Vision, Mission and Values live in your organisation

Do your team know your vision, mission and values? Do they know why you do what you do? You will be surprised at how effective this is in building connectivity to your organisation and clients.

Often we go into organisations and business leaders are confident that team members are very aware of what this is and rarely when we ask team members if they know what it is, can they can answer our question.

 5. Establishing an open feedback culture.

Lets stop thinking that if someone wants to give you feedback that it will be negative. We need to get better and giving both positive and negative feedback properly.

Developing your company and team appetite and skill to both give and receive feedback in the right spirit is critical to setting an open feedback culture. As leaders, ensure you review how team members can provide feedback easily within your organisation.

 6. Professional Development

Properly understanding how to develop both yourself and your team is critical to continual improvement. High achievers do not need someone to tell them to do training, they are always interested in learning more and naturally looking towards growing themselves on an ongoing basis.

High achieving team members are generally working on at least learning one new thing every 90 days (some even every 30 days). We need to start opening up proactively areas that we can focus on that can provide the largest amount of benefit (rather than seeing this as a negative thing).

Tip – it is important to know how you learn best (ie read – visual, listen – auditory or do- kinaesthetic) and incorporate this into how you retain new information.

7. Motivating your team and yourself.

Keeping yourself motivated and finding consistent ways of rewarding and recognising your team around key success factors is critical to building connectivity, trust and a positive workplace environment.

Also critical to a positive workplace is understanding when you or your team are demotivated or flat and what you can do to turn this around. Self-Awareness and the ability to respond quickly is highly important.