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Leadership | 4 Situations that Make or Break your Performance as a Manager

4 Situations that Make or Break your Performance as a Manager

Your promotion into a management position was probably the well-deserved conclusion of your exceptional performance as an individual contributor and your ability to get things done - in your own way.

As a manager, however, your success now relies on how effectively you can enable the performance of other people - but do you actually know how to enable your team to deliver high performance?

When striving for high performance, it’s easy to make the mistake of trying to control outcomes to such an extent that you don’t listen to your team. This is more common than you may think, as according to recent reports, 34% of employees worldwide don’t feel listened to. Unfortunately, when employees don’t feel heard they tend to become disengaged and contribute less, with devastating consequences for innovation, productivity and overall performance.

It can be scary letting go of control but these are the problems that will arise if you persist in thinking (or pretending) that you know best.

Is your management approach making or breaking performance?

Here are 4 situations where the approach you take can either make or break performance:

Problem Solving:

In command and control environments, decision making usually happens at the top of the hierarchy and actions are implemented without question. When problems strike, they are immediately escalated for a solution.

When you cling to the notion that you are the only one who holds the answers, problem-solving becomes painfully slow and solutions are limited to the imaginations of those at the top.

This will leave your team feeling frustrated and overlooked and having to implement solutions on the frontline that simply don’t work.

Problem Solving:

When you use an ‘Enquiry-Led Approach’ you’ll soon realise that it’s the people on the frontline that are the most instrumental in solving problems that affect them.

Resisting the urge to always provide a solution will help to facilitate shared problem-solving at a local level.

Instead, ask powerful questions. When you see that this generates answers even better than your own, you will feel more confident to relinquish control and listen more closely to what people in your team have to say.

Getting Things Done:

In adopting a controlling leadership style, you unwittingly create an environment of helplessness and end up spending most of your time firefighting and answering questions about the minutiae of day-to-day life.

This prevents things from getting done and hampers the overall productiveness of you and your team.

Getting Things Done:

If you learn how to tap into the knowledge of people in your team, you’ll get things done better and faster.

Moving from ‘doing’ to ‘leading’ requires a change in mindset and a new set of skills that includes asking powerful questions and listening more effectively.

Empowering and enabling people by taking more of an ‘Enquiry-Led Approach’ to leadership will help your team to take ownership and accountability for their decisions and actions.


When you over-rely on your own knowledge you tend to ‘tell’ a lot. Information only flows in one direction and you end up spending far too much time imparting information rather than communicating. That’s why lots of managers who think they communicate brilliantly feel confused when they get low engagement scores.


You are much more likely to ask questions and listen to your team if you assume that you don’t have all the answers, all of the time.

Powerful questions and attentive listening will help you to learn from your team and engage with them in a way that improves relationships and increases their ability and willingness to contribute.

Being Creative:

If you are overly keen to assert your knowledge you may hinder creativity. Creativity requires a level of curiosity that grows from ‘not knowing’.

Having lots of experience and know-how about a subject is helpful but it can also prevent your team from coming up with ideas that don’t fit with the accepted narrative.

Being Creative:

Being willing to challenge the status quo and look at things from a completely new angle can reveal creative solutions that you haven’t yet explored.

Where being creative is paramount, learn to question what you know and be prepared to put your ‘authority’ aside so that you can facilitate creativity in your team by asking questions and listening to ideas without judgement.

What can you do differently?

If you encourage your managers to drop the taskmaster act and invite them to take more of an ‘Enquiry-Led Approach’ (ELA®) to leadership, where they ask lots of powerful questions and listen much more effectively in everyday situations, you will change the manager-employee relationship in your organisation forever.

For almost two decades, we have been working with clients, most of whom are household names and feature in the FTSE 500, proving how taking our proprietary ‘Enquiry-Led Approach’ can transform commercial results and massively improve social capital in organisations. Our programmes revolutionise organisations by transforming leader and manager behaviour in a way that helps to increase employee engagement, creativity and productivity.

We can now deliver these results faster and more flexibly than ever before with our revolutionary, 100% virtual, fully blended management development programme STAR® Manager.

Organisations that have launched STAR® Manager are seeing a 63% increase in better questions being asked more frequently and a 73% improvement in the way people listen within just a few months.

STAR® Manager is a game changer and has already proven that managers can achieve massive uplifts in employee engagement, innovation and productivity when they take an ‘Enquiry-Led Approach’.

STAR® is already making a difference in the financial and professional services sector, in retail, hospitality, logistics and in academia.

What would happen if you took more of an ‘Enquiry-Led Approach?

Notion is a global expert in behaviour change and coaching. To learn more about how STAR® Manager can transform manager behaviour and help improve employee engagement, innovation and productivity in your organisation, call us now to book a complimentary consultation on +44 (0) 1926 889 885 or simply click here for more information.

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