Achieving high performance in the workplace

Impress your colleagues with these expert strategies

This is Part Two of a four-part series on workplace performance, read Part One, or Part Three

Some people appear effortlessly awesome at their job. They excel far above peers who often have similar skills and work just as hard. There seems to be no obvious quality that differentiates them, despite their visibly elite performance so they are labelled as visionaries, prodigies, over-achievers or even geniuses.

In reality, their high performance is usually driven by superior habits, strategies, knowledge and decision-making skills in just a few key areas. When employed regularly, these few traits add up to make the difference between average and exceptional performance.

There are very few jobs on this planet whose performance isn’t impacted by other people - even jobs that we typically identify as supremely individual: e.g. chefs, hairdressers, or postmen. The master chef relies on the wait staff to bring him accurate orders in the correct sequence; the hairdresser relies on her customers to explain what they want; the postman relies on you having an easy-to-get-to, functional letterbox.

As dedicated professionals, we all spend countless hours improving our Personal Effectiveness: we do courses, perform online research, build new personal habits, etc. But we often overlook the fact that Personal Effectiveness also relies upon other people. Here, collected, are some areas to work on that will help ensure that your personal effectiveness is increased by your interactions with others, not just protected from them.

None of us is as smart as all of us. Ken Blanchard

By managing what you need of others, you are able to ...

Integrity : Actually mean what you say & do

Integrity is having consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes.

Getting help is easier with a spotless track record of being genuine. Few people work hard to help the man who doesn't stick to his word.

Authentic people know their deepest values without hesitation and fulfill them in thought, word and deed. Integrity is their nature. They do not depend on their position for power.

People will only do what they must for others who lack integrity. They will do everything they can for those around them who display an unwavering commitment to their stated beliefs and actions.

Take responsibility for your own problems. Don't blame failure and errors on others; look inwardly for the cause and ways to improve next time. Even if it is someone else's fault, starting with what you can do better allows others to publically accept fault also.

Having integrity allows you to reveal yourself. You can feel free to open up and show more of yourself to others; this instils trust and in turn encourages others to open up to you.

You can get short-term results through manipulation and coercion of your colleagues, but over the long-term results will suffer as they start to see through your methods. If people feel manipulated, they will put up strong resistance to your future plans.

There are many things you can lack and still steer clear of danger. Integrity isn’t one of them. Establish a set of sound ethics policies, integrate them into all business processes, communicate them broadly to all employees, and make clear that you will not tolerate any deviation from any of them. Then live by them. Enrique Fiallo

Humility : Lead with (authentic) questions

Humility means having only a modest view of your own importance; it means accepting that others often have more value to provide in a given situation.

In a global marketplace where problems are increasingly complex, no one person will ever have all the answers.

Humility shows respect for others. Not believing you have all the answers displays to others

Without humility, you are unable to learn. It allows you to admit mistakes, reflect on what you could have done better, and learn from others.

Humility increases your perceived intelligence. By not being seen to make quick (wrong) judgements, others will elevate their opinion of you

Accept there are others who are experts in things you think know well. You cannot get the best out of them if you focus on how well you know the topic and don't seek the wisdom and experience that others can provide.

Humility is to make a right estimate of oneself. Charles H. Spurgeon

Communicate Expectations : Give clear guidance

Effective communication is about having a conversation in which you receive confirmation that the other party understands you. It is not finished once you've said what you needed to say.

Communicate your expectations clearly. The task of communication is not complete until understanding has been reached.

Make sure expectations fit their recipients.

Communicate your expectations at every level - Personal and public settings, formally and informally, inside and outside the organization.

Reconfirm your expectations regularly. Do not be discouraged when someone doesn’t immediately grow to fit your expectations. Rather, continue to encourage by being clear that those expectations persist. Use a reliable personal task manager to keep track of what you need from others.

Set motivating goals. Communicating your expectations is a great opportunity to motivate your colleagues. Give them a vivid understanding of the impact achieving the expectation will have - even if only to make you beam with pride in them.

Effective communication can give the workplace a friendly atmosphere where employees are comfortable and can focus on doing what they do best. To get there, executive coaches advise a grounded communication approach that's equal parts clarity, empathy, and honesty.

Give regular feedback. Don't assume your expectations will be remembered and adhered-to based on one conversation. It is critical that you recommunicate them regularly. This has the added benefit that the other party perceives higher importance on the task.

People don't like conflict or giving what seems like negative feedback, so it either comes out sharply in a moment or it becomes vague and not clear enough for the person to act on. Jamie Walters

Continued in Part Three...

This article provided by Task Manager Pro™, personal efficiency software for high-achievers.

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This is Part Two of a four-part series on workplace performance, read Part One, or Part Three

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