Wimbledon is coming – will number one seed Serena Williams stay on top? As she prepares mentally and physically, we turn our attention to how people reach their peak at work. We’ve mined the latest scientific research on what really drives performance, and discovered the conditions necessary for people to perform at their best.
1. Find the purpose.
People are more motivated when they can see why their work matters. That doesn’t mean every job needs a ‘worthy’ cause; whether it’s contributing to the team’s success or seeing others grow, help them find a reason to be proud.
2. Make it difficult.
No pain, no gain so the saying goes – while people may think they’ll be happier cruising, research shows that we’re happiest, and perform best, when tasks stretch us to the edge of our capabilities. So set the bar high.
3. Pay attention.
Knowing that someone will notice – and care – how they’re performing pushes people to improve. Observe your team in action and offer regular, informal feedback on what they’re doing well and how they could get better.
4. Recognize growth.
Feeling appreciated for who you are and being fairly recognized for great performance makes it worth the effort. That doesn’t mean big financial rewards; a personally motivating token of thanks goes a long way.
5. Keep talking.
A recent study tracked the financial performance of 40 companies. 63% of high-growth businesses reviewed employee performance more than annually, compared to 22% of those whose growth was low. Regular conversations are key to driving performance.