Execution, the ability to achieve individual goals and objectives, is critical to success. According to Harvard Business Review, most people recognize this, but they may underestimate how important this skill is to their career advancement, or may not realize they can improve their execution without adding hours to their work week. HBR studied thousands of leaders who were rated as being highly effective at execution, identified the coinciding behaviors that enabled this skill, then developed a set of behaviors that improve execution. Here are the four behaviors that stood out:
Be Clear and Methodical
When someone gets excited about a project, it’s easy to jump into action before really getting organized and making a plan. Instead, slow down and take time to prepare. Organize your team, assemble resources, and generate a plan that everyone can commit to. When you make clear who is responsible for what tasks, it increases responsibility and improves connection to the overall mission.
Set Stretch Goals and Deadlines
Setting goals helps people meet objectives and generates both engagement and greater satisfaction. However, it’s important to include deadlines with those goals. HBR says that by challenging your team, then supporting them in completing the challenge, team members feel more engaged and satisfied with their jobs. However, don’t go overboard. If you set too many deadlines, it can negatively impact their attitude towards you and the project.
Give Positive Feedback
In addition to providing goals and deadlines, improve intrinsic morale through positive feedback. When delivering feedback, take the time to listen and understand your employees’ perspectives, instead of simply delivering negative news and ending the conversation as quickly as possible. HBR found that being above the 65th percentile on positive feedback had a major impact on leader ratings.
Resolve Conflict and Build Unity
When team members work well together and motivate each other, they enjoy coming to work and accomplishing goals. As a leader, you should work to build a sense of unity among your team. HBR says they have found that resolving conflict is the most important aspect of building a high-performing team. When you address conflict quickly, team members learn to trust each other and find that conflict is constructive, not destructive or personal.