3 ways of getting your team to perform their best


When you are a new manager, sometimes it feels like you get thrown in the deep end when it comes to managing people. Some organisations skill up managers really well, and others expect them to absorb the knowledge through some kind of corporate osmosis. One of the questions I often hear from new managers is “how do I get people to do their best work for me”?

Getting your team to perform at its best requires managers need to identify the things that drive or influence performance. These can be classified into three broad areas:

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Role Clarity

Role clarity is an employee having a clear understanding of what their role is about and what they are expected to achieve. This goes beyond the formal definition of accountability often found in a job description, although this helps. It also means understanding how they are expected to behave on the job, what they are expected to achieve in terms of outcomes, and how they are expected to achieve it. The manager plays a key role in ‘setting expectations’ around behaviour and outcomes and it is important they are using appropriate management style for the right employee.


People need to have the capabilities to actually perform the work that is required of them. Capability is dependent on a range of factors that differ from role to role. However, there are broadly four capability factors.

1. Competencies – what the person needs to be capable of. These are skills and behaviours that are related to success in a given role.

2. Enablers – the personality traits, values and motives that might help success.

3. Key Knowledge – what the person needs to know to be effective in the role, e.g. technical/professional knowledge, product knowledge, industry knowledge, etc.

4. Key Experiences – what the person needs to have done. These describe the kinds of situations that someone entering a role or progressing to a more challenging role should have experienced or at least have had some exposure to.

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Motivated people are crucial to getting good outcomes in the workplace. Motivating people is a big topic and worthy of a separate post, but here are some general principles:

    • Ensure that the individual’s motives and values are aligned to their roles
    • Try to make jobs attractive, interesting and satisfying
    • Set clear, challenging, attainable and attractive work goals
    • Provide needed resources to do the job and eliminate constraints to performance
    • Be clear about the outcomes or rewards that will be achieved if their efforts result in good performance
    • Treat people fairly, provide balanced and objective feedback
    • Encourage your direct reports to get involved in setting their goals and make sure there is adequate buy-in to each goal
    • Be an inspiring leader – your motivation (or lack of) rubs off on others
    • Give people responsibility, autonomy and empowerment
    • Provide opportunities for growth
    • Make a clear link between the job and the company purpose – people usually want to do something that makes a difference!

Think about your own team. Do they have the clarity, capabilities and motivation to be successful?

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Rosalind Cardinal

Rosalind is the Principal Consultant of Shaping Change, an Australian consultancy, specialising in improving business outcomes by developing individuals, teams and organisations.

Ros is a solutions and results oriented facilitator and coach, with a career in the Human Resources and Organisational Development field spanning more than 20 years. Ros brings an energetic and proactive approach combined with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Her expertise spans leadership development, organisational culture, team building, change and transition management, organisational behaviour, employee engagement and motivation, strategic direction and management.