This is the second article in our series of articles that looks at Building a High Performance Work Environment. The full series will be available for download as a white paper once it is completed.

In our last article, we discussed four leadership behaviors that build a high performance work environment. Now let’s discuss some of the key ways to maintain a high level of performance and support for the team.

Consistently challenging your team and setting the bar high is only effective if you have the proper support in place. Failure to have a level of support that matches your expectations will not only make it difficult for individuals to meet their targets, it will also create an unnecessary source of stress internally.

Three key ways to support performance

People thrive when they have the resources to do their job. There are three key areas of support all individuals require to perform consistently at a high level:

1. The right information

You need to provide your team with the right information to meet the expectations set for them. This starts with providing a clear and consistent message about the vision and setting expectations that each individual is required to accomplish to contribute to the vision — then providing any information useful in executing their role. Openness and transparency are key.

2. The right tools and training

Once clear expectations are set and communicated internally, you must provide the tools to execute. The tools will vary from department to department and from team to team, but it is important to make sure everyone receives the tools they need when they need them.

Required tools might include:

  • The right technology and supplies
  • Effective internal processes
  • Guidance and coaching
  • Access to internal and external resources
  • An effective channel for performance reviews/feedback/recognition

3. The right inspiration

A significant element of your role as a leader is to inspire your team. It’s no secret that highly engaged individuals will produce better results and better contribute to the company.

How you engage and inspire individuals will depend on the culture of your organization and your understanding of what incentives will produce the best results for each individual. While many companies still use money as a motivator, it is only a temporary fix and not a long term solution to keep your team engaged. Other more emotional founded activities are more effective to inspire your team.

Some examples include:

  • Building strong relationships with individuals
  • Modelling behaviours that re-enforce your personal dedication and alignment with the company’s vision and values
  • Regularly communicating how every person in the company has an important role in achieving the companies vision
  • Providing opportunities for career development and growth internally
  • Giving people the chance to have their concerns heard
  • Recognizing exceptional performance

For a more detailed discussion of effective motivational tactics, please see 8 Ways to Inspire Employee Behaviour That You Can Implement Today

Searching for gold

The necessary information, tools, and inspiration are important no matter what type of company you are leading. These points hold true regardless of the situation.

Let’s say that you are leading an expedition to find gold. If you want to be successful then you need to provide your team with:

  • The right information: You need to outline what you want to achieve (vision) and explain how you are going to find the gold and extract if from the ground.
  • The right tools and training: You need to train your team how to mine for gold and then provide maps, transportation and other mining equipment/tools to get the job done most effectively. You wouldn’t expect someone to find gold without a map and without the tools to extract the gold.
  • The right inspiration: You would seek to inspire your team by reinforcing how finding gold will impact their lives and regularly communicating progress will help keep them focused on the goal. You can’t expect your team to go above and beyond and work long hours if you cannot find the right source of inspiration.

High performance work environments are established only if you communicate a clear vision, set high expectations and provide support in the form of the right information, tools, and inspiration.