Leadership builds people’s confidence; Management ruins initiative.
A bit harsh? Consider this. One of your people has done something you don’t like or agree with, or done it in a way that differs from established procedure. Their intention was honourable; the betterment of the business, and their effort laudable. But there’s this nagging thing about it all; they didn’t comply with the rules (aka the way it’s done around here), or with your perspective of how it should be done (based of course on your considerably greater experience and talent, and of course knowledge of them and what they do).
How dare they? After all you’re the manager, you earned that role and of course you know best. The desire to just plain tell them what they did wrong is overwhelming, and you launch into a litany of “you shouldn’t haves” and “you should haves”. OK there’s more than a touch of sarcasm here.
Ah the world of management… command, control and ensuring compliance. But the price of said command, control and ensuring compliance? Shattered initiative! Yup, you’ve just proved to your employee why it’s to their DIS-advantage to try things differently, work outside of your boundaries, or to think or act creatively. You really think any of your people want to sign up for more of that? Ah Management; well intentioned, overrated and destructive.
Don’t take my word for it. Have a look at this recent TED Talk, especially the speaker’s story about Regina about 5 minutes in. It strikes hard. It’s a poignant message for all of us in management who extinguish the light from someone’s eyes because of our desire for compliance and control. Then we wonder why the initiative in our people is missing?
What a missed opportunity for leadership in the form of Formidable Feedback. No; a bunch of “you should have” or “you shouldn’t have” isn’t feedback, that’s judgement and commands. I’m talking Formidable Feedback…
1) Feedback that’s helpful, valuable, and inspiring.
2) Feedback that’s objective and observational.
3) Feedback that recognizes the initiative, effort and results.
4) And offers suggestions (yes you read that correctly; suggestions not instructions) for improvement.
If you’re not sure how to actually do that, you would be among many millions of managers everywhere suffering from this leadership deficiency. And if you want to experience a practical example and learn to do this yourself in a way that will guarantee (I mean it) people with initiative, creativity, and fearlessness, leading to better outcomes. Just drop me a line.