“Don’t manage people, correct 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 them to tell them the truth in terms of how they are doing.” Charles Wang

People don’t want to be managed. However, they do want you to help them perform their job better. There are at least three ways you can help your team improve their performance.

First, help them set ambitious yet realistic goals. A goal is not legitimate until it has an actionable strategy. Second, be a constant source of encouragement. Be a “Hope Dealer” and their Number One fan. No one ever overdosed on encouragement. Third, constantly communicate the agreed upon expectations—before, during and after their performance.

Consequences are a fact. Every discussion, decision and action comes with its own consequences, positive or negative. Not one escapes. If there is no consequence for poor behavior expect very little change or improvement. Great leadership is knowing when to issue the consequence, major surgery, a band aid, or a pat on the back.

If there is no reward for outstanding performance, expect productivity to slow back to average. Everyone must be held accountable for his or her performance. Great leaders teach people how to hold themselves accountable and reward results, not just effort.

Learn to use rewards appropriately. Custom Research is a marketing company with about 100 employees. Owners, Jeff and Judy Pope, took a large chuck 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 challenging performance goals. They know how to separate people from “who” they are from their performance.

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.

In your organization who needs challenged, corrected, or encouraged? Knowing the difference is what separates great leaders from all the rest.