How can busy managers bring out the best in people? Nothing is as difficult as managing people in uncertain times. With the rapidly changing competitive environment and new technologies, it’s hard to keep up.

Dr. Edward Hallowell, in his book, Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People suggests five steps to help people to achieve peak performance.

  1. Select: Put the right people in the right job, and give them responsibilities that “light up” their brains.
  2. Connect: Strengthen interpersonal bonds among team members.
  3. Play: Help people unleash their imaginations at work.
  4. Grapple and Grow: When the pressure’s on, enable employees to achieve mastery of their work.
  5. Shine: Use the right rewards to promote loyalty and stoke your people’s desire to excel.

Managing people well is even more challenging when you’re constantly putting out fires. You can’t sacrifice performance in the name of speed, cost cutting, efficiency, and what can be mislabeled as necessity. When you ignore connections, deep thought disappears in favor of decisions based on fear.

These five areas of focus can help you avoid fear-based management practices. Use these five steps to identify problem areas and decide on a plan of action. In this way you creatively manage for growth not just survival.

Bring Out Personal Best

Lastly, in order for one to achieve peak performance, one needs to be in top shape, physically and mentally. Psychologist Sherrie Campbell, in an article on Entrepreneur Magazine, lists five habits worth cultivating that managers can suggest to help people achieve peak performance:

  1. Get enough sleep: Sleep deprivation can leave one feeling scatterbrained, foggy and unfocused. Good sleep improves our ability to be patient, retain information, think clearly, make good decisions and be present and alert in all our daily interactions.
  2. Get daily exercise: Exercise is the best way to reduce the stress that impairs performance stamina. Exercise increases our “happy” mood chemicals through the release of endorphins, which help rid our mind and body of tension.
  3. Connect for emotional support: Having healthy, loving relationships increases our happiness, success and longevity by promoting the capacity to function in life as our best self.
  4. Be unapologetically optimistic: Look for the best in every situation. Optimism is the commitment to believe, expect and trust that things in life are rigged in our favor. Even when something bad happens, find the silver lining.
  5. Create alone time: Time spent alone for reflection refuels our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self. This is time to recharge, focus on values and purpose, and cultivate self love and respect.

“Put simply, the best managers bring out the best from their people. This is true of football coaches, orchestra conductors, big-company executives, and small-business owners. They are like alchemists who turn lead into gold. Put more accurately, they find and mine the gold that resides in everyone.” ~ Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People (Harvard Business Press, 2011

What do you think about these ideas? As always, I’d love to hear from you. I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.