Do you consider yourself a great leader? Have you developed an inspiring, creative and collaborative environment in which your talented team members can thrive? Great leaders demonstrate strong values, create clear performance standards and, most importantly, inspire excellence.  A healthy working environment has a positive impact on employee performance and service delivery to customers. Great leaders set out clear performance expectations for their team members and then inspire and coach them to meet and exceed these expectations.  If you want to be truly successful as a leader, you need to create a space in which your team members feel encouraged to apply and develop their skills and expertise.

Here are some tactics for inspiring excellence in your team:

  1. Select excellent team members

Inspiring excellence starts with selecting the right team members.  Those you choose to join your team will play a vital role in helping you to bring your vision to fruition. It’s essential that they display the necessary commitment from the outset. Remember that the ability to achieve excellence requires technical, creative, business and emotional competence.  Prior to embarking on the talent acquisition process, ensure you’ve created a clear role and candidate specification and a list of non-negotiables to ensure you build a team capable of being inspired.

  1. See and treat your team members as investors

Don’t risk focusing all your efforts on the needs of your clients and neglect those who have dedicated themselves to living and breathing your vision. The levels of success possible for you and the organisation depend largely on the degree to which your team find meaning in their work and hence the degree to which they align themselves with the performance standards you’ve laid out. By showing appreciation and recognition of the contributions made by each individual, you are setting a stage for excellent outcomes.

  1. Foster confidence and creativity

While pay and perks might contribute to employee retention, the opportunity for professional growth plays a much bigger role. It is your responsibility as a leader to create a productive, learning centered environment in which team members receive continuous opportunities to improve their skills and boost their potential.  Leaders have an obligation to identify talent and put it to best use. They need to ensure that the right people play an active role in ongoing projects from the brainstorming process all the way through to implementation.

  1. Mentor your team, don’t terrorise them

Often leaders give extra responsibilities to their team members to push them out of their comfort zone. Indeed, challenges are an effective way of sharpening and stretching your team members’ abilities, however, be mindful of pushing people to their limits and seeing a decrease in engagement and motivation levels as a result. Be careful not to pressure people to the point of burnout.  An essential ingredient of leadership is mentorship, offering support to ensure that the path to excellence is smooth and beneficial for all involved. Do you want to be a leader who is feared, or do you want to be a leader that people look up to and respect? To inspire excellence, you need to care enough to help others progress professionally.

The journey to excellence can be achieved by selecting the right people, developing an in depth understanding of the skills, strengths, talents and qualities of those you’ve brought on board and how to use these to best effect, fostering confidence and creativity, and mentoring your team to achieve successful outcomes. Remember to lead by example, avoid micromanaging, provide regular feedback, both positive and constructive, be mindful of your own emotional intelligence, listen and stay attuned to what’s going on around you, and recognise and celebrate achievement.

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