7 habits for high-performance leadership

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According to the seminal book Why Businesses Fail by Tuck Business School professor Sydney Finkelstein, ineffective management can be traced to bad habits shared by corporate executives.
 
In order to create a high-performance organization, however, HR executives can adopt seven habits that will help them breathe new life into their companies. These include:
 
  • Holding a vision that not only guides a company in direction, but also provides a purpose for employees to follow the outlined path. Leaders should paint a picture of the future they want for an organization, and consistently reinforce this compelling image to their workers.
  • Communicating goals clearly and explicitly. 24% of employees in low-performance organizations cannot easily reference their company’s goals, as opposed to 54% of employees in high-performance counterparts. HR executives should ensure that company objectives are clearly expressed and cascaded down to every level of worker.
  • Investing in people development. HR leaders should continuously strive to bring out the best in their workforce, and settle for nothing less. It is also their responsibility to emphasize this priority to CEOs and other members of the executive team.
  • Creating a culture of recognition. Many workers become burned out or disengaged when their work goes unnoticed, so it’s beneficial for executives to express gratitude for achievements.
  • Caring about workers, and meaning it. Employees know when their managers have their best interests at heart, and will respond accordingly with respect and high performance.
  • Listening to customer needs, and being receptive to their concerns. Many executives assume they know what the preferences of their consumer base, but good leaders will be open to suggestions and feedback.
  • Striving for continuous improvement. While it’s easy to fall into routines, systems and processes quickly become outdated and costly to maintain. High-performing leaders are always on the lookout for cheaper and easier ways of conducting business.
 
It’s worthwhile to note that these seven habits need to be adopted comprehensively, and executed on a regular, daily basis.
 
“Your ultimate aim is to embed them so deeply into your company’s culture and DNA that they become its way of life,” said Nicholas S Barnett, CEO of Insync surveys. “The research shows that all the habits are indispensable to the achievement of high performance.”
 
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