Consistent Performance Is Key
How many of us have to get out of bed every day and go to work? In many cases, we have to wear a uniform for work. Whether it is business clothes, sports clothes or actual uniforms, we wear our jerseys proudly. After a long day at the office, do you judge your performance for the day? Do the majority of us give 100 percent daily effort in our jobs? How many of us don't care about how we perform?
As we are all human, no one can get a stellar performance every hour of each day. But each of us can give our best effort. To do this we must learn from role models and ask for feedback from others. We also need to look at successful executives and emulate their performance. Pride and motivation are the building blocks to consistent performance. You must have pride and confidence in yourself and desire to exceed expectations.
Why am I concerned with this topic? I mentor and consult with others all the time. I am amazed at the stories I receive, but I am not surprised. The majority of comments to me about performance deal with simple and basic common sense interactions between staff members, and between staff and their customers.
Some examples of what I am talking about are as follows:
- Donors calling the office staff for a simple request who either cannot reach the intended party or, when they do, the person pushes the request to someone else and it is never completed.
- A donor calling, emailing or personally visiting an individual staff member with absolutely no response to a simple request. In effect, someone is there but nobody is home.
- A staff member refusing to listen to a volunteer board member's advice regarding best use of a "famous" person who lives in the volunteer's area and who the volunteer knows personally.
- A supervisor making a request to staff with a deadline and no regard is given to attaining that goal.
- A staffer who learns her supervisor's style of management but doesn't use that intelligence wisely.
- Board members who sit on boards and do not provide any time, talent or treasure, and staff that allow that process to continue indefinitely.
- A staff leader not being available to his staff when they need advice and direction.
- A staff leader not providing the correct orientation, training and expectations for new hires.
- Staff who are reactive rather than proactive.
I can go on forever, but I hope you get the point. Being a leader is hard and requires consistent performance. You must lead by example and be a role model. You also need to be a good subordinate to your direct report so in turn you can be the best leader to your subordinates.
I was blessed to have watched both of my late parents at work. My father was a supervisor of several hundred postal service workers in Charleston, W.Va. His common sense and fairness to others was amazing. I was told he could dress you up and down without you even realizing it. He was goal oriented but also knew how to work with individuals to make an organization function smoothly.
My mother worked during an era when women stayed home. She was a director of workmen's compensation for the state of West Virginia. She managed a staff during the day, and managed four children and a husband at night. My blessed parents were management role models. Without directly discussing the subject with me, they taught me how to manage others.
In summary, I arrive to work each day ready to give a consistent performance. Think about your work performance, and strive to give it your best each day. You will drive home with a good feeling knowing you gave it your best and, trust me, others will notice.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at email@example.com or 317-224-1029.