5 little things put a Leader in the top 10% of performance

I come more and more to the conclusion that excellent performance is not about complex innovations, but about small habits.

Excellent performance is about small habits

A small bird perching on a branch

I am reading Leading with Emotional Intelligence by Redlan Nadler.  He quotes from book The Extraordinary Leader by Zenger and Folkman.  They found that doing 5 specific things really well put a leader in the top 10% of performance.

Small efforts in these 5 areas make a major difference.

  1. Giving Feedback
  2. Building Human Relationships
  3. Dealing with Poor Performance
  4. Self Management
  5. Managing Upwards

The table below gives specific examples of the difference between average leader behavior and top 10% leader behavior. If it doesn’t display properly via rss, view it on the blog here.

Good Leader Great leader
Giving Feedback
“Mary, thanks for getting the report to me.” “Mary, great job on the report because it was well-written. I appreciate you checked-in with me on the process.  I like how you collaborated with others.”
Building Human Relationships
Works in office on a project and then takes a break.  On the way to get coffee, nods at a few people and walks past some without even looking.  Heads right back to the computer. Takes a break and stops at several people’s desks to check on how they are doing.  Asks about projects and inquires about issues or challenges.  Asks about family or hobbies.
Dealing with Poor Performance
John is not performing as I would like him to. “John, let’s make sure you do everything to get this right.” “John, let’s spend time going over the next assignment together. You haven’t been performing like I know you can and I want to help. When can we meet?”
Self Management
“I’d better work through lunch because I am behind and can catch up if I eat at my computer.” “I am feeling tired and need to recharge. Going to lunch will help keep things in perspective and I will come back refreshed and better able to deal with these next challenges.”
Managing Upwards
“I don’t know what my boss thinks of me and how I am doing. I know she is busy and probably doesn’t need another interruption. “ “I am not sure what my boss thinks of me or how I am doing.  I will schedule some time with her and clarify expectations and make sure I am doing what she wants. It will also give her visibility on my projects.”
It does not take that much longer.  How do you approach these 5 areas?  Do you manage upwards well?  Are you clear on what is high performance in your role?  Do you deal directly with poor performance… or do you cross your fingers and hope?
Have a great day.

One response to “5 little things put a Leader in the top 10% of performance”

  1. Excellent post Conor. Thanks for sharing.

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