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Leadership Today - Practical Tips For Leaders

Dec 1, 2023


Leadership is about achieving results through people. With the demands of managing people, it can be easy to lose sight of results we need to achieve and deliver. In this episode we explore how to drive for results.



Hello and welcome to episode 212 of the Leadership Today podcast where each week we share practical tips to improve your leadership. This week we explore how to drive for results.


Leadership is about achieving results through people. With the demands of managing people, it can be easy to lose sight of results we need to achieve and deliver. We can become distracted or even become unaware of the key outcomes expected, and therefore not provide the direction, feedback and support our people need to achieve the right results. We have all seen leaders that fail to deliver. People are left wondering what they’re spending their time on, given the shortfalls in performance for them and their team. But there are practical things we can do to help us and our teams to drive for results.

  1. Determine what results matter. There are many potential things you and your team could focus on, so it’s crucial to uncover the fewest most crucial results. This should involve consultation with your manager and other key stakeholders. Try to arrive at results that reflect a range of aspects of your work. For example, rather than just focusing on financial returns, you might also include customer satisfaction metrics. Otherwise we can risk chasing short-term results that lead to longer-term issues.
  2. Link results to purpose. Results by themselves don’t provide meaning. Take the time to link results to a broader purpose. This will likely include the vision and purpose of your organisation. It’s also worth helping individuals and teams link the results of their work to things that matter to them personally. Your team members might engage with their work for very different reasons to you and your manager.
  3. Communicate clear measures and targets. These should be shared and discussed with your team, but also with others within the organisation including your manager. You may need your manager to sign these targets off first so you should factor this additional time into your planning. It’s best to capture these in writing to ensure clarity and agreement.
  4. Talk about the “how” not just the “what”. There’s no point chasing after results and causing damage to others and the business along the way. How we achieve results is just as important as the results themselves. You should encourage people to reflect on the organisation’s values and team commitments that encourage people to work collectively towards shared outcomes.
  5. Undertake regular updates and check-ins. Research suggests that making results visible and freely available helps people to drive towards these metrics. A literal scoreboard can help, particularly where people can see the change in results from week to week. For dispersed teams, there are plenty of tools that allow you to share results through the collaboration platforms you already use.
  6. Focus on continuous improvement. If we use a driving analogy, a car has a number of forces operating on it including acceleration, momentum and friction. We want to find ways to gradually accelerate our performance, adding to our momentum and reducing the friction of things that hold us back. It can help to frame a discussion with your team in these terms - what’s taking us forward, what’s keeping us stable, and what’s holding us back.
  7. Celebrate efforts and outcomes. Some people prefer to be recognised for their efforts, while others prefer to be praised for their outcomes. It’s helpful to see both areas of recognition as important. Sometimes people do all the right things but the results just don’t come together for reasons outside of their control - we should celebrate this. Equally, we shouldn’t be shy about celebrating great outcomes when people have reached or exceed the targets that we have set.

Achievement drive is a common feature of effective teams and individuals. We can help our teams to establish and chase after purpose-filled results, providing feedback, support and encouragement along the way.



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