iStock_000012681387XSmallToday’s post is the third in my five-part series that examines the best practices of GREAT bosses.

Are you a great boss to your employees? A great boss is a person who creates and maintains a safe, inspiring work environment where talented, engaged employees THRIVE.

Great bosses create clear performance standards, clear values standards, and hold everyone (including themselves) accountable for both each day.

In these work environments, my research and experience shows that employees perform better (40% or more better), serve customers better (40% or more better), and produce higher profits (30% or more higher).

So far we’ve examined the first two elements in the GREAT acronym: Growth and Relationships. Today, I share how #GreatBosses inspire Excellence.

Great bosses set clear performance expectations and coach team members to exceed them, every time. High standards met consistently help differentiate the team’s contribution to the company and to their customers.

Great bosses know that the organization rightfully expects them to ensure goal standards are consistently met. Hitting or exceeding standards means the team has kept its delivery promises and commitments.

Great bosses must create a work environment that enables team members to apply their knowledge and skills in service to the team’s performance standards. They can’t demand performance – they must inspire it, every day.

Most organizations have metrics in place and carefully monitor progress towards performance standards with systems and dashboards. When teams meet or exceed targets or quotas, they earn trust and respect from the organization. That can mean they’ll “enjoy” higher targets or quotas the next time around – but team confidence and spirit is boosted when they know they’re contributing above standard.

Here are a few ways that great bosses I’ve observed and studied inspire excellence from their team members.

Create clear performance standards. Great bosses set observable, tangible, measurable performance standards for the team and each member. Both parties agree so that expectations are understood – and boss and follower know what a “good job looks like” for the upcoming performance period.

Set the context for performance. Team members deserve to understand the context of their efforts. Great bosses explain the strategy then link team goals to that strategy. Common concerns like “how does this target help our team meet its goals?” or “this project’s deadlines will be really tough to meet” are addressed.

Link performance to meaningful societal contributions. Most team members see their jobs as primarily “making money for the company.” Great bosses create avenues for the team to contribute to the community regularly. Charitable ventures like creating a neighborhood garden or doing a “cancer cure run” together can help team members deliver the broader benefit to their community.

Celebrate progress as well as accomplishment. Most bosses don’t praise or encourage team members enough. Great bosses see good things happening daily – and they celebrate them, in the moment. Goal traction is incredibly important; great bosses don’t miss the chance to validate effort and progress often.

Contribute your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below. In what ways have your great bosses inspired consistent high performance from you and your team mates? How do great bosses balance direction and delegation effectively to boost contribution?

What is it like to live in your organization’s culture? Share your experiences in my fast & free Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are described on my blog site’s research page.

This research can help you refine your organization’s corporate culture. Contact me to discuss conducting the Performance-Values Assessment in your company.

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S. Chris Edmonds

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of The Culture Engine and six other books.
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