How to Improve Performance

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Could you show your team more attention as a leader?

About 100 years ago in the suburbs of Chicago, Hawthorne, Illinois, there was research being done at the Western Electric Company.

That research has become known as the “Hawthorne Effect” and has since been quoted in many management texts. It explored the effect of increasing the lighting in a department on the productivity of the employees.

As you can imagine, because it was done by an electric company, they wanted to see a positive correlation when they raised the lighting.

Did the productivity go up? It did.

However, when they then lowered the intensity of the lighting, productivity also went up. Why? Hawthorne studies showed that the biggest factor on productivity in the work group was simply the attention that was being paid to the workers as the engineers increased or decreased the lighting.

The workers were asked for their feedback and advice while they were being watched in a positive way—and that increased their productivity.

Do you know what you can do as a leader to show your team that kind of attention that could result in an improvement in performance? Use these three tips to improve performance:

  1. Interact with your team.

Show that you are interested in your team and how to help them be more successful. It is not just asking how the job is running, although that is important. It is also asking them, “Hey, what can I do to help you? What support can I bring?”

  1. Ask for your team’s input.

Get input from your team on changes and improvements. Nobody knows the job better than the people who are performing it. Your job as the leader, is to ask them whether they see anything that could be improved upon.

Is there anything that would help improve the workflow? If you improve the flow of the work, you will improve the productivity in the department and reduce waste.

Even if you ask and they don’t have any suggestions, continue to ask in the future. Many supervisors will ask a couple of times, and then never ask again. Your people may have flashes of insight that occur only after doing the job for weeks or months or even years.

Their perspective can change.

  1. Show your team positive attention.

If there are things impeding on your team’s performance, go out of your way to remove those obstacles.

By doing this, team frustrations will decrease and they will perform better for you. When you eliminate obstacles and roadblocks, it makes your team feel more important. This will help raise team morale, attitude, and productivity.

Once you improve performance by paying the right kind of attention to your team, you will want to work on other leadership abilities. That is where we come in—learn more here.

We are committed to helping you achieve leadership excellence.