As leaders, we all have high expectations for our teams. We envision them operating like well-oiled machines, delivering outstanding results, and exceeding targets. However, sometimes reality doesn’t quite align with our lofty aspirations.
When your team consistently falls short, it’s time to step back, reassess, and find ways to cultivate their excellence. And every team has the potential to be excellent.
Ask yourself why your team may not be living up to your expectations. It’s likely one of these 5 common reasons:
Unclear Expectations: One of the primary reasons for underperformance is often a lack of clarity in expectations. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to communicate objectives and goals with precision. Vague instructions or ambiguous targets can lead to confusion and frustration among team members. It’s very important to take the time to clearly articulate expectations, provide context, and ensure everyone is on the same page. Encourage open dialogue to address any uncertainties or concerns. A shared understanding empowers your team to excel and work together.
Insufficient Resources: Even the most skilled team will struggle to deliver their best if they lack the necessary resources. As a leader, it’s vital to assess whether your team has the tools, equipment, technology, and support they need to thrive. Regularly evaluate their needs. Ask, “What do you need from me?” or “What is the biggest challenge to completing your tasks?” And then make it a priority to give your team members what they need as quickly as possible. Providing adequate resources not only enhances performance but also signals your commitment to their success, fostering a motivated and engaged team.
Absence of Autonomy: Micromanagement can be detrimental to both morale and performance. If you find yourself constantly checking in on your team members or scrutinizing every step they take, it’s time to reassess your leadership approach. Trusting your team members to make decisions and take ownership of their work can be incredibly empowering. Delegate responsibilities, encourage autonomy, and then step back and let them demonstrate their skills and expertise. Not only will this decrease your own workload, but you’ll be amazed at the innovation and commitment that emerges when individuals are given the freedom to excel.
Lack of Recognition and Feedback: Everyone thrives on recognition and feedback. If your team members consistently feel undervalued or overlooked, it can dampen their motivation and hinder their performance. Make it a priority to provide regular feedback, acknowledge their efforts, and celebrate their successes. Be specific in your praise and constructive in your criticism, offering guidance for improvement. Encourage a culture of recognition where team members appreciate each other’s contributions. The easiest way to get this started is by modeling it yourself.
Limited Opportunities for Growth: Professional development is a powerful motivator, but if your team sees little room for growth, they may become stagnant. Invest in your team’s growth by providing training opportunities, workshops, and mentorship programs. Empower them to acquire new skills, take on challenging projects, or explore lateral movements within the organization. Demonstrating a genuine interest in their professional advancement not only boosts their morale but also enhances their capabilities, benefiting the team as a whole.
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to cultivate an environment that enables your teams to excel. Learn more about getting the most from your team with clear communication in our program, “Setting Expectations that Get More from Your Team.” Learn proven ways to gain buy-in from your team when setting expectations, so they follow through and ways to manage expectations and build accountability even while working remotely.