Your leadership style has a direct impact on your employees. Unknowingly, your actions may demoralize your staff. Your best intentions can backfire if you push so hard that you leave everyone in the dust. Alternatively, if you don’t challenge them enough they may only do the minimum work just to get a paycheck.
I have clients whose philosophy spans the spectrum from “good is good enough” to “we expect nothing less than perfect”. Not surprisingly, both ends of this continuum are weak positions.
When you have a B-/C+ team (“good enough”), they don’t feel the drive from you to achieve more. This can become demoralizing because intrinsically, people want to do a good job and will tend to do better if you cheer them on.
Instead, a lackadaisical work place sets the stage for laziness and complacency. Even the most impressive self-starters will slowly sink to the level of low expectations if there isn’t a quest for excellence.
On the other hand, the demand for perfection is exhausting. When your employees consistently deliver great results (note: great, not perfect) and you regularly chide them about the one thing that they missed, they will be demoralized.
They feel crushed about how much effort they put into going above and beyond, and instead of praise, they receive criticism. They start to question their performance, and wonder why they they’re working in a place where criticism is more prevalent than encouragement or praise.
Leaders who have either style are sorely missing the fundamentals of people management. In the first example, you may not have the bench strength to raise their work product to that of an A team, but with the right effort, you can raise it to a B level. Good people won’t quit out of frustration in the second example if they are reinforced rather than regaled.
Granted, these examples are extremes, but it’s worth taking a little personal inventory to see if either tendency shows up in your leadership style. Lead with intention, not lethargy.
Have a great day!