Peak Performance Strategist Understanding Performance
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Creating a successful mindset
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How can L&D help managers develop a success mindset?

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Managing people is a tough job but L&D leaders can help nurture and develop the right behaviours to set managers on the path to success.

8th Nov 2021
Peak Performance Strategist Understanding Performance
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Organisations often believe that technical proficiency is the most important factor when selecting candidates to move up the career ladder. At a surface level, this makes complete sense. Of course, the most technically adept individuals should progress, be rewarded for their skills and be responsible for managing others.

If managers are not self-aware or cognisant of how their approach influences others, it can be very hard to manage and motivate others

However, it is becoming increasingly evident that successfully managing people is about much more than how well they can do their own job. It’s about being able to bring out the best in a team, identify strengths, close skill gaps, and engage each person through the good and the bad times. 

Managing the manager

Underlying all of this is the manager. They cannot manage others until they can effectively manage themselves - and this starts with the mind. We know from cognitive behavioural therapy that thoughts impact feelings, and feelings impact behaviours, choices and decisions.

If managers are not self-aware or cognisant of how their approach influences others, it can be very hard to manage and motivate others.

Are you overlooking the obvious?

As humans, we need to recognise that human elements can help or hinder success in management. We often underestimate these elements as ‘common sense’ but there is usually a significant performance gap between what we think we know and what we actually do. 

Ironically, we do not direct enough attention to the most pressing factors that build thriving, high performing teams - such as motivation, engagement, clarity, purpose and a sense of feeling valued. In turn, this leads to confusion, fragmented teams, disengagement and disillusion.

Excellent managers take it upon themselves to gain extreme clarity on the vision and enthusiastically share this insight with their teams

Through my own research, I have observed that there are a few key traits of top performers regardless of field of work, and I interweave these elements into the peak performance methodology I share with my clients. Here, I introduce four success mindset factors that are highly relevant for managers needing to manage their people with more impact.

Keep your eyes on the vision

This is a no brainer. We’ve all been there, working away and not really being sure how the things we are working on truly tie into the wider organisational purpose or strategic objectives. Excellent managers take it upon themselves to gain extreme clarity on the vision and enthusiastically share this insight with their teams. 

It is very difficult to manage and lead others when we ourselves are uncertain of where we are going. It is even more difficult to communicate messages when we do not believe in them ourselves. The irony around ‘vision’ is that, whilst this word is so familiar and widely used, it is also one of the fundamental factors that very few managers (and organisations) truly get right.

Take action

In order to ‘do’ vision well, managers need time. They should take time out from reactive, busy, routine work and invest time to think, step back and really question what the vision is for the business unit, team, organisation and even themselves. What do they want to move towards with their team? 

Bring the vision to life - not with corporate buzzwords but with impactful words that evoke a vivid, colourful story that inspires and engages others. Then they can work with their team to determine how every single person plays a unique role in moving towards the vision.

Show up consistently

Interestingly, consistency is a consistent behaviour in the world of peak performance, regardless of sector, industry or profession. The world’s top performers are consistent. 

Whilst managers try to be consistent, a number of derailers can get in the way. These include meetings, competing demands and unexpected emergencies. They can be pulled away from managing effectively and get embroiled in ‘busy work’ that takes them away from focusing on their team. 

For example, a manager might shift a one-to-one meeting on various occasions (I see this happening all the time with clients), treat different people differently, or have a personality that fluctuates depending on stress levels, workload, time of day or quality of sleep.

Maintaining a strong mindset during challenging times is so powerful

To be effective, consistency is king. This relates to how they show up, manage others, and how reliable they are as a manager and human being. Consistency is also vital in building trust, which is a crucial cornerstone of high performing teams.

Take action

Reflect on how consistent a manager is in the way that they treat others, communicate and operate. What gets in the way of their ability to be consistent? What can they do to take more control of their actions and behaviours? The more consistent they are, the more they are role-modelling to others what they expect from them too.

Build their resilience

The best managers are equipped to acknowledge, approach, and respond to change in a healthy manner. They have a resilient mindset - the ability to adapt and continue in the face of adversity. Maintaining a strong mindset during challenging times is so powerful when managing others who look to the team leader for guidance and hope. If a manager is steering the ship decisively, this sparks confidence, engagement and trust from team members who also build their own resilience in the process.

Take action

We are all feeling the pressure these days, so it is important that managers look after themselves and their mind first and foremost. If feeling a bit low on resilience, take time to recharge and seek the support you need to strengthen this ‘muscle’, before putting pressure on yourself to tend to others’ needs. Resilience is an invisible strength and it is reflected in your energy and how you show up each day.

Nail the managers’ mindset and they will be able to think and act more purposefully in all aspects of their work and professional life

Focus on simplicity

We often associate seniority and hierarchy with complexity, assuming that those managing should be operating in an advanced way to warrant their status compared with those who are less experienced. However, the best managers keep it super simple in the way they manage, set up and lead their teams. Simplicity is a skill that most people overlook. 

Take action

Remember, keeping things simple is not necessarily easy. Review the processes within your organisation, the communication style, and the approach to making decisions. Are your managers making anything overly complicated that could otherwise be simplified? What can they take away, streamline, or re-create to boost productivity and clarity within their teams?

If you think you don’t have time for this ‘mindset stuff’, it is time to realise that everything else is secondary. Nail the managers’ mindset and they will be able to think and act more purposefully in all aspects of their work and professional life. They will make better choices and decisions that affect their teams, and this will positively impact job satisfaction, engagement, productivity, and results - and all of this starts with mastering their mindset. 

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