Demanding but not Demeaning

Individuals and organizations that want to excel must always do their very best.  Everyone within the team must perform to his or her maximum potential everyday.  This includes all aspects of our society: Family, churches, corporations, government, etc.

 

To get folks to work up to their maximum potential, leaders must be demanding.   They must set high standards for both themselves and their partners / employees, and then demand that folks work to achieve those standards.  And…once those standards are achieved they should “raise the high bar” and demand that folks attain those results as well.  That is the essence of high performing organizations, always doing better.  As Robert Browning once said “ A man’s reach should exceed his grasp”.

 

To do that, leaders must carefully communicate what the standards are, and what the expectations are for employees to achieve those standards.  To be an effective leader, constant communication is critical.  There must be a continuos conversation that reflects on how are we doing compared to what we said we were going to do.  Employees should be counseled routinely in a formal setting.  The focus should be on strengths, areas for improvement, and mutually agreed upon objectives for the next evaluation period.

 

They must also give the members of their team the resources necessary to accomplish the assigned goals.  These resources come generally is three categories: People, Time, and Money. It has been said that “vision without resources is hallucination.”

 

In addition, leaders must allow their employees the opportunity to better themselves.  They must send them to school and give them some on the job training.  They must teach and coach them as well.  They must make recommendations for things the employee can do to self improve, like what books to read, what websites to review, etc.

 

There is a concern, however.  In some cases, I see leaders, in an attempt to extract better performance from their subordinates, be demeaning.  Leaders don’t have to be demeaning.  They don’t have to yell and scream.  They don’t have to use profanity, or belittle their employees in front of others.  This creates a toxic work environment that no one enjoys.  No one likes working where they are being abused.  In general, in those environments employees will do just enough to avoid the wrath of their boss, but no more.  Why should they give 110% to an effort that really doesn’t appreciate what they do?

 

I would highly recommend each of us take time to assess how we are doing in this regard.  Ask yourself, your employees, and your bosses whether they consider you do be demanding, or demeaning.  Always be conscious of how you are dealing with people.  Follow the golden rule: do onto others, as you would have them do onto you.

 

 

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