The Goldilocks Manager

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Some managers are too tough – they demand results and don’t care how employees feel. Initially, the tough manager sees results rise, however as time goes on, employees get demotivated and leave the organization. Results then start to decline and the tough boss gets even more demanding and a spiral begins that either costs the boss his or her job or the company goes under.

On the other side is the easy manager. They make sure every one feels good and nobody’s feelings are hurt. They set low goals and expect very little in terms of results. They think these low expectations will keep employees happy. The strange thing about trying to keep everyone happy is that no one ends up happy. Employees lose motivation because there is not enough challenge. Usually the organization underperforms versus its potential. Good employees leave.

Like in the story of goldilocks and the three bears, we are looking for the manager that is neither too tough or too easy. Being a manager means challenging employees to achieve more and holding people accountable for the results they are expected to generate. The goldilocks manager also treats employees with respect and kindness. He or she doesn’t have to yell at people in order for them to be committed to generating results.

I recently met a successful executive who I have known for the past ten years. He had to confront an employee who was not achieving the desired results. He said, “Please don’t mistake my calm demeanor to mean that I do not expect you to generate the results we discussed. There are consequences for not achieving the results.”

If you are a manager – be sure to set high standards of performance and hold people to their commitments. Be there to support and encourage and then apply positive and negative consequences based on the results.

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