Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Great leaders do not tolerate mediocrity

You go to work. You go home. Repeat.

Sound familiar?

This repetition can cause people to settle and stay in a comfort zone, which makes them feel safe and secured. They don’t take risks but they also won’t experience failure. The world passes them by as they stay stagnant.

In most cases, when people stay within their comfort zone they become mediocre employees – they are okay but never really that great. Their work eventually starts to slip and they produce lackluster performances. When mediocrity is tolerated in the workplace, it can erode the company’s culture of productivity and accountability.

These lackluster performances fall on the shoulders of the manager. If the manager is not getting the best out of the employees, it may not inspire the employees to perform at higher levels. Think about it - leaders that tolerate mediocrity, what does that say about their leadership style?

As a leader, you must be clear and consistent about performance expectations. You need to fight mediocrity before it becomes an epidemic in the workplace. Here are some development tips to remember.

· Make sure you are meeting your own performance expectations. When people see you working hard and meeting your expectations, they are more likely to use you as a role model.

· Use your organization's appraisal system more effectively to enforce the clear and specific goals you have established, but not just annually. You may need to review progress on a monthly basis.

· Identify the critical path to your desired results and then remove the obstacles that get in the way.

· Involve employees in setting the team’s goals and objectives. Track results. Recognize and reward employees for their contribution to the success of your team.

· Make sure you communicate the appropriate sense of urgency. If everything is urgent, people can’t prioritize. If nothing is urgent, deadlines are often not achieved.

Tell us, how do you set performance expectations in the workplace?

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