The trifecta of success: skills, attitude and knowledge

Responsibility for your people's performance and accountability is an important part of your leadership role, however it's just as important to be clear to your team about what actions and behaviours are expected.

Taking ownership is about both carrying out the work task itself, but also being responsible for the outcome of the task and the delivery of consistent results.

As a manager, you'll be mentoring and guiding your people to ensure that the desired outcome is delivered, however before you get to this stage, you need to first assess your team member. This is a matter of looking at whether they have the knowledge, skills and attitude to carry out their role.

  1. Ask yourself whether they are able to complete tasks on their own. If you need to frequently step in, then they are lacking in knowledge.

  2. If a person appears to have low motivation or unwillingness to carry out tasks, then you're dealing with an issue of attitude.

  3. And if their tasks aren't carried out in an efficient and accurate way, you may find there is a lack of skill in the area required.

Enhancing your team's knowledge

Your goal is to increase the confidence of your team member by encouraging them to become more independent. Key tactics include upskilling people on where the processes and information sits so they can find the answers to questions on their own. This could include setting up training sessions, taking them through processes and protocols in person or with a subject matter expert, or pointing them to an intranet where key information is stored.

Facilitating collaboration and teamwork is a great way for people to gain confidence. Partner them up with someone who is more experienced in the industry or workplace. Facilitate channels of communication where they can ask their peers for help and support. This could be by instant messaging applications or regular short meetings.

Crucial to taking ownership is a recognition by your team that it’s not the task itself, but the outcome of the task that carries the measure of success, so asking the question: 'what is the outcome required?' is a good way to start cementing outcome-driven deliverables.

The right attitude

Encouraging team members to have the right approach can be the easiest or the hardest aspect to address. Some people have the right attitude and really want to thrive, but knowledge and skills let them down. For others, a lack of desire or willingness to achieve what they are asked to do is their downfall.

Motivating your people is the key to success here. This may consist of implementing consequences if a task or outcome is not achieved. Clearly communicating this to the whole team and carrying it out when needed is a strong indication that you are serious.

Communication is also important when helping your team understand why a certain approach is required or a new process is being implemented. Taking the time to give them the background and reasons goes a long way to getting buy in – and the desire to change.

Clarity on deadlines is one of the most important aspects of being a leader. Many employees struggle to prioritise their tasks, so making this easy for them with guidance about what needs to be done first and by when is crucial. Giving them the ability to ask for a longer deadline or help is all part of the prioritisation process.

Gaining Proficiency

The answer to enhancing the right skills and expertise is learning and education. There are many ways to give your people the chance to upskill, including finding a course or trainer that can help with the knowledge required or encouraging people to work towards a particular certification or complete certain courses.

Of course theory is one part of learning, but also providing people with the opportunity to practice those skills should also be built into their development plan.

In summary, giving your people the right knowledge, skills and understanding to encourage the correct attitude, are three effective and essential methods of getting the best out of your team member, while achieving the best outcomes for both the individual, your team and the organisation.

Author: Peter Robinson
Team Management Services