Kevin Gaskell PhotoLeaders who excel know how to help people to grow and achieve.  These are five tips that I believe are the foundation for success.

1. High performance begins and ends with engagement.  The leader’s role is to lead improvement and change and to make sure the team fully understands the vision of success.  What will that success look like, what will it sound like, what will it feel like when we get there? Share the vision and excitement with the team and describe it carefully and you’ll find they will get excited, motivated and engaged.

2. Challenges are opportunities for growth.  Address the fear of change by openly discussing the future of the company and the results you are striving to achieve.  Examine the opportunities and the marketplace and use these to excite the team.  Encourage enthusiasm about the opportunity and talk about their role in driving real and substantial change.

3. Make it easy for the team to contribute.  Build a clear, but simple, plan and share it. Excite the high performers who will become leaders at every level in the organisation and invite participation. Be totally inclusive of talent and ideas – let people dream!  Focus on driving positive change and quietly identify low performers and address the issues that are preventing them succeeding.  Provide support once, then twice, but don’t carry passengers.

4. Praise first, challenge later.  Provide regular feedback and a positive approach. Make heroes of the high performing teams by praising their approach to a challenge.  Leadership is not always about being at the front, but about creating a positive culture of ideas and making room for future leaders to step up to the challenge.  If it goes wrong, it is not the end of the world – focus on what has worked and lessons learned rather than what went wrong.

5. Recognise that people are amazing. Leading teams to high performance is about creating an environment where people thrive.  Set a positive example, be approachable, consistent, and make champions visible. Positive belief is an energy which transfers to others. Given the opportunity and a supportive culture an inspired team will surprise themselves and other with how much they can achieve.