Optimisation of People & Performance

In a series of six blogs, I’m going to explore 5 top tips under each of the GROWTH headings, with the purpose of generating ideas on how we can be the best version of our leadership selves.  Some of you may be pausing at this point to say you are not a leader, however, we are all leaders of our lives and make choices every day to enable great outcomes for our personal growth and learning.

Intrigued… please do read on.

Letter G as a jigsaw letter, for management and leadership training

Personal growth

letter R as a jigsaw letter, for management and leadership training

Resilience & agility

letter O as a jigsaw letter, for management and leadership training

Optimisation of people & performance

letter W as a jigsaw letter, for management and leadership training

Why: delivering results

letter T as a jigsaw letter, for management and leadership training

Transformational change

letter H as a jigsaw letter, for management and leadership training

Healthy teams


Today is the turn of Optimisation of People & Performance

  1. Your Leadership Style

We cannot hope to be great leaders if we don’t first take the time to understand ourselves.  Having great self-awareness, knowing our strengths and challenges, our purpose, values and how we perform at our best (and worst!) is a great starting point.

In the ‘G’ blog we briefly explored the benefits of using Insights Discovery, the global leader in profiling tools, toinsights discovery colour chart explore our preferences and differences.  Used on a one-to-one basis through coaching, with leadership groups or in teams, finding out more about our work-based preferences provides great learning around our leadership behaviours.  We all have preferences and will tend to do more or less of each of the four colour energies but it is in the application of these which makes the difference to our leadership style.

Leadership and communication will tend to need to be on the recipient’s terms so taking the approach ‘that’s just the way I am’ will not be beneficial if you’re working as a leader to inspire everyone.  We cannot just be inspiring those who are like us so therefore we need to learn to adapt and flex across all four colour preferences as necessary.

The principles of Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ) are also helpful:

  • Self-awareness
  • Managing emotions
  • Motivating oneself
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

His five levels begin with self-awareness for a reason.  You need to start here prior to working on the other four areas.

  1. Valuing and Respecting Others

We all have biases, most of which are unconscious so therefore, once having understood our own work-based preferences, this will enable us to actively and consciously seek out people who have different preferences, to go and work with them.  The value of doing this is hugely beneficial – for example, my work-based preferences are as follows:

Extraversion – love sharing ideas out loud and connecting with people

Feeling – use gut feeling for decision making, connect with emotions and feelings

Intuition – perceive the world through concepts and ideas, creative and imaginative

Now imagine the benefits of me seeking to work with someone with completely the opposite preferences:

Introversion – good at reflection, inward and silent considerations

Thinking – love facts, figures, logic and objective task-based decision making

Sensation – perceive the world using evidence, step by step and practical approaches

I notice the benefits through the sharing of quiet, reflective and process-driven ideas.  The people who I engage to provide administrative and bookkeeping support are fabulous examples of this and ground my great ideas into workable, task-orientated and practical solutions.

I practice pretty much every day when I’m coaching, training, communicating with others, delegating work and explaining things in the training room.  When things don’t land, it is typically because I haven’t adapted the way I value and respect difference.

  1. Coaching Skills

These are the single and most easiest way you can optimise performance with people – enabling (and not telling!) them to be the best version of themselves.  Quite simply through the utilisation of open questions and great coaching techniques, you can revolutionise the connections you have with others.

For example, you want to tell someone to start a project and you’re going to say exactly how you want it done.  How do you respond when people ‘tell’ you things?  I suggest it isn’t always positively!  So therefore, using your open questions will achieve the same end, however, it will be more enabling, empowering, people will own the solutions and they may even come up with some better ideas!

For example:

How are you planning on starting the project?

What ideas do you have?

Who do you need to consult with?

Where are you going to hold the project meetings?

Which team members do you need to work with most closely?

(Why are you going to do it that way? – I wouldn’t suggest this one!  Why can be too confrontational and personal – use any of the above instead)

Other ways to keep things open are:

Tell me



You can use closed questions only at the end, or when simply requiring clarification – for example:

Do you think you can get that project completed by the end of the month? – yes/no

Used inappropriately, closed and leading questions are controlling, disempowering and back people into a corner where they have no alternative to saying ‘yes’ and that maybe against their will.

  1. Positive and Inspiring Language

We can empower or disempower people just through single words – using the wrong words can trigger bad reactions in others, provoke reinforcements of their own limiting beliefs (for example, ‘I’m not good enough’) or simply reinforce your lack of emotional intelligence, respect for others or curiosity in situations.

Some easy language techniques are as follows:

Remove ‘but/however’ from your vocabulary and replace it with ‘and’ followed by an open question.  For example:

You made a great effort on that project but it didn’t really achieve what it was meant to

You made a great effort on that project and what did you learn from the experience?  What might you do differently?  Who could you have supporting you next time?

The language is also full of possibility… ie. learn, might, could


It is future orientated – not digging into the depths of failure and blame…


  1. Outcomes & Purpose

Having a clear purpose (link to Find your Why blog) is hugely beneficial on many levels:

  • People are aligned to their own purpose so they will be achieving fulfillment every day
  • Teams will be aligned to a purpose which connects them. It will attract people to want to work in your team and conversely, it will enable people to move teams if they are not
  • Organisations will be able to pull together collectively for an overall purpose, regardless of where they work
  • In change, having a clear purpose enables people to establish the reasons ‘why’ the change is happening so they can align to it, play their part or make other choices for themselves if they don’t like the direction.

Alignment is the key here as simply having alignment all around produces great performance and conversely without it does not.  If you’re leading a team which doesn’t have a clear purpose aligned to the organisation, you may wonder why people are going off, doing their own thing, sabotaging the team or getting bored.

In conclusion, people perform at their very best when they are being ‘the best version of themselves’.  Hopefully, some of these hints and tips will enable you optimise both your people and their performance.

If you have found this helpful, please do have a read of my other news posts and watch this space for my upcoming blogs in this series.