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4 steps to help employees reach their peak performance

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Use in HR Weekly e-letter -- Aug. 7, 2007 (and posted on home page for that week)

It sounds so easy: Expect high performance and you won’t be disappointed. Expect so-so performance and that’s what you’ll get.  But reality is more difficult.

To help your employees maximize their productivity, use these four practices to define what you mean by high performance and lay out how you expect your people to attain it:

1. Involve them in setting goals. Never assume you’ve got buy-in. Rather than blindly dropping project goals, individual goals or company goals onto workers, approach them with the thought, “What do you think you can achieve?” Then negotiate your expectations.

2. Keep the goals realistic. Any goal—whether it’s at work, at home or on the athletic field—needs to be difficult, desirable and doable. Setting goals too high will only deflate the worker; setting them too low will erase the challenge of work, which will turn off the person in its own way.

3. Hit their buttons. People have their own motivations; find out what they are. Examples: the will to win, enjoyment of teamwork or a higher mission, such as helping clients succeed.  Express the overarching vision, and then let your people figure out how to make it happen.

4. Avoid micromanaging. You may want to lay out every detail of how employees should achieve those goals, but resist the temptation.

If you spend most of your managing time telling employees how to do their work, rather than trusting them to reach the clear goals you’ve set, you’re treading into micromanagement waters.

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