How often have you heard a fellow leader say something like: “I have had enough! I am gonna kick some butt this time!”
This mindset is in direct conflict with one of the most important principles of leadership. In leading people, we always need to keep in mind the balance between building our relationships with the people we lead and ensuring top performance from them. “Kicking butt” or bluntly trying to impose our will might be a way to make a quick short-term gain and get some work done or some rules followed for a while, but it comes at the expense of the employee’s long-term productivity and interest. Each time we get too authoritarian – forcing someone to act with their hands and ignoring their heart – we take the relationship down another notch. We are ensuring they will stop caring about their work with us, or just quit and stop working with us permanently.
The principle is to treat your employees exactly as you need them to treat your best customers. Ultimately our staff may stick around for the paycheque, but when it comes to putting their hearts and minds into the work – that part is voluntary.
It is never time to kick some butt.