Leading and running a business can be a daunting endeavor no matter the size. Even running a department or team, for that matter, can seem like a formidable challenge. The pressure is ever present to deliver results; and, for some, knowing how to improve results is the ultimate leadership test.
If you have not been getting the outcomes you want, or wish to improve what's already a decent operation, there might be some "human elements" to consider that are undermining your business performance. The human element or human performance is commonly overlooked in considering profitable improvements.
It's not the first place many leaders and business owners consider; and yet it's a key component to quickly impact improved results. What's initially considered in the quest to enhance results is other resources and processes (sales and marketing, strategy and planning, for example), rather than the "human resource".
This is not to say those areas should not be reviewed. It's just common that human performance is not in the mix or weighted as a critical piece. Performance management (talent management) is business management – successful business management must include talent/performance management.
And, it should start with the leader and or leadership team. Even if human performance is considered, leaders don't typically look at themselves first and ask questions such as, "What about me and my leadership has allowed this to be or has led us to where we are now, or not?"
So even if you just need to fine tune your results, here is a list of common human elements to look for that impact performance. You can apply this list to both you and your teams.
Qualities or conditions that adversely impact human performance, undermine effectiveness and productivity, and ultimately could be holding back your business (starter list):
- lack of clarity of what to do, or what is wanted
- saying yes too much
- not saying no enough
- lack of process (the tangible, executable road map)
- lack of courage
- not communicating frequently enough
- lack of trust
- broken rapport with team members
- not communicating clearly
- keeping and or not addressing toxic employees
- inability to prioritize
- pushing too hard
- pushing too little
- leadership vacuum
- lack of boundaries
- lack of relevant knowledge
- unresolved hurts
- minimal appreciation
- lack of focus
- absence of accountability
I'm confident in saying that if someone asked a leader, "What's holding back your business?", the items on this list would probably not be mentioned or at top of mind; and yet one of these effectively addressed could unlock better outcomes and profits.
Here's an important question in closing this post, "Do you truly believe addressing any of these will impact your profits?" I ask that because, though many leaders say yes to that question, they don't act or make decisions in a way that reflects that. This is a sure indicator they really don't believe it. Actions reflect beliefs, and inaction reflects beliefs.
For example, if you as a leader have struggled with any of these for an extended period of time and have not gotten help, that suggests there is a belief (probably subconscious) that it's not important, it doesn't matter and it's really not relevant to the bigger picture – that it's not impacting the business outcomes you value and desire.
Many leaders function with a perilous insensitivity to how the human experience in their company environments impacts business outcomes. This is a leadership hazard that must be remedied. Without doing so, the human resource of a company will be perpetually mis-used and under-utilized. (Side note: some would classify this sensitivity under the umbrella of emotional and social intelligence.)
In my experience, getting help and effectively addressing these don't have to be a full blown science experiment. Perhaps seeing it as such is what holds decision-makers back from seeking assistance.
Coaching tip: Develop an awareness and understanding of how the human element impacts business outcomes, and specifically your business. If there are certain areas you believe need improvement, ask the team members in that area what's going on and what would be required to achieve new goals. You may very well discover that what's needed is related to some or many of the conditions listed above.
Originally posted on JoAnn Corley's Talent Talk Blog.