It’s been said we need to ‘work smarter, not harder’ to drive results. But how?
A high-performing team is an essential component of a productive workplace and a profitable business. A positive, energetic and collaborative team environment needs to be carefully fostered by individuals in leadership positions to enable the best results for your employees and for the organisation as a whole.
Here are my top tips for building a high-performing team:
Reward results instead of face time
The way the workforce views productivity is changing, with the notion of being ‘busy’ starting to shift from a positive to a negative connotation. As a leader, you should be focused on rewarding results-driven behaviour that you would like other employees to replicate in the workplace.
Results are now measured on work and not face time; and the idea that sitting at a desk 9–5 to prove your productivity is null and void. If you only encourage face time, staff members are unlikely to put in the extra effort to drive real results.
The human brain will often need direction and goals in order to reach maximum performance levels. A good leader should outline clear KPIs and foster a culture that provides employees with opportunities to achieve these objectives in the most efficient way possible.
Know how to manage energy instead of time – and make sure your team can do the same
A task may only take fifteen minutes but if it drains your energy, it can deplete your productivity levels for many hours afterwards. High performers in the workplace are no longer trying to manage fixed time; rather they are now focused on maximising their energy levels.
Increased energy has been proven to heighten productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Today, businesses are better equipped to highlight employees’ strengths and manage their energy, which in turn will help eradicate the burnout epidemic.
At NEP we take a mental, neural and physical approach to energy and performance maximisation. This involves an integrated approach that we have developed for assessing the best way for people to improve their performance. We have found this is the best way to ensure that companies deliver results and meet their business objectives.
Hire people with a positive mindset and coach your team towards "success"
A positive mindset is a great asset within a business environment, leading to higher productivity, reduced stress levels and better cohesion within the workspace. Positive psychology studies have shown that the more positive your team is, the more successful and profitable it will be. While positivity is often viewed as an individual character trait, it is something that needs to be fostered within the workspace.
Leaders need to set the example and coach their team members towards success, offering frameworks, guidance and rewards for results-driven behaviour. They also need to provide positive encouragement and implement practices to boost team morale on a regular basis.
Encourage employees to eat and move well
We now know that there are both physical and mental health benefits associated with movement and healthy eating. Movement releases oxytocin that improves optimism and fights the stress hormone cortisol, which adversely impacts people's health and productivity when at elevated levels for too long. Processed and high sugar foods have also been linked to depression and other mental health issues, so it is important to encourage healthy eating practices in the workplace.
Both movement and nutrient-dense foods support brain function and help to fight disease and illness. That’s why at NEP we encourage businesses and employees to stay active and nourish their bodies and minds through healthy food choices.
Leafy greens, vegetables and some forms of protein have been proven to be great brain food, while high GI foods such as pasta and rice should be avoided as they can lead to fatigue. We also recommend that businesses encourage walking meetings and provide their staff with nutritious snack alternatives to fuel their productivity and help maximise energy levels.
Have a ‘work smarter, not harder’ attitude and coach your team to adopt the same philosophy
We often hear leaders tell their teams to “work smarter, not harder”, yet most bosses and supervisors are still not teaching their employees how to do this correctly. This approach requires an understanding of neuroscience to help structure days, weeks, months and years with managed recoveries. At NEP we recommend that people seek help with neuroscience application for high performance.
You must also know how to manage and prioritise tasks for energy maximisation and how to work with your attention span instead of against it. When you get this balance right, your team’s productivity and profitability will skyrocket. It will also create more energy when employees leave work at the end of each day.