“You don’t manage people, you correct their behavior and inspire their performance”
“A leader who does not correct people is squandering a precious resource. I think one of the things leaders forget is that people look to us to tell them the truth in terms of how they are doing.”
People don’t want to be managed, but they do want you to help them perform their job better. There are at least three ways you can help them improve their performance:
First, help them set ambitious yet realistic goals. Second, be a constant source of encouragement. Be a “Hope Dealer” and their biggest cheerleader. No one ever overdosed on encouragement. Third, constantly communicate the agreed upon expectations; before, during and after their performance.
Consequences are a fact. Every decision and action comes with its own consequences, positive or negative. If there is no consequence for poor behavior expect no change or improvement. Great leadership is about knowing how and when to issue the consequence. Does it require major surgery, or just a band-aid?
If there is no reward for outstanding performance you can expect productivity to slow back down to average. Everyone must be held accountable for his or her performance. Great leaders teach people how to hold themselves accountable and reward them appropriately.
Custom Research, a marketing company with 100 employees, exemplified the appropriate use of consequences. The owners, Jeff and Judy Pope, took a large chunk of their profits to reward the entire staff when they won the coveted Baldridge Award in 1996.
They took everyone to London for five days all expenses paid. Some may say it was extravagant and overkill for a small company. Jeff Pope said, “Not at all, it was money well spent, if you share the pie it gets larger.”
Great leaders are forgiving of honest mistakes made in the pursuit of above average performance goals. A bad performance does not make you a bad person. If you want a person’s performance to improve support them as a person and help them correct their own actions, never reverse the process.
The excessive use of “sticks and carrots” to correct behavior and increase performance is an overused tool of poor leaders.
Great leaders reach the hearts and minds before they ask for the production of the hands and feet. As a result they get above average performance without having to use a lot of sticks or carrots. You can manage hands and feet, but never hearts and minds.
“He who heeds discipline shows the way of life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”