This blog post comes from Matthew Scott, one of our PlanetK2 Hall of Fame performers. We love Matthew’s piece because it reflects something he’s very, very good at and is written by someone who’s “been there and done it”. Let us, and Matthew, know what you think.

Leadership: Helping Individuals & Teams find out how good they can be
by Matthew Scott

I still meet a surprising number of people who seem to believe that being a leader means “telling people what to do” or “making all the important decisions”.

What I learnt about human performance from working with PlanetK2 on my personal performance readiness has also transformed my thinking about how leaders can best support the performance of their teams. For me it’s about unlocking the potential of the team(s) you lead so that they can perform at their very best, whatever the circumstances. If, like me, you are continually looking to raise your leadership capability then these thoughts from my own experience may help:

1 – Help your teams choose their Purpose
It’s your responsibility to help your teams see why they exist; the ways in which they contribute to the goals and aims of the wider business. Who wants to turn up to work every day without knowing the point or value of what they do? Your knowledge and understanding of the overall business context is the key to bringing your teams’ understanding of their purpose to life. Your duty to your teams is to share what you know and help them use that knowledge well.

2 – Encourage your team to choose Goals for themselves
Encourage your teams to choose their goals for themselves – don’t just “give out” goals. Leaders should help teams chose goals that will grow their capabilities and that are connected to the strategy of your business. Teams that choose their own, relevant, goals are much more motivated to perform well. They tend to take more responsibility for finding ways to improve things without waiting to be told what to do. Ask them what they’d like to be true in future about their contribution to the business? What should they choose to focus on to help fulfil their purpose?

3 – Behave in ways that maximise the Confidence of your teams
A key role for any leader is helping their teams sustain high confidence in their ability to perform. Help your teams recognise the great strengths they already have and encourage them to maximise the use of these in their performances. This is especially helpful if the goals they are aiming for feel challenging or uncomfortable. Always show, by your actions, words and behaviours, that you understand the difference between performance and results. Spend at least as much time being curious about how teams performed to get great results as you are about what needs to change about team performance if the results are not as expected.

4 – Never forget that you are just a member of the team
As a “Leader” you probably have more formal authority to agree things or spend money than others on your team. You might also have more experience or ‘technical’ knowledge. These things don’t make you more important! They are just the capabilities and strengths you have and that you need to use well for the good of the team. Show you understand this by your words and deeds. Be clear that you are just as invested in focussing on improving your performance for the team as you expect everyone else to be. This is what builds up a sense of true mutual responsibility and trust.

Good luck!