Have you seen productivity dip while creating a positive atmosphere? There’s a likely reason, and a solution.
So much of this blog’s content is devoted to positive, encouraging, servant leadership. Every once in a while, a leader comes along who is so committed to positivity that they wonder why productivity might be down, not up. They’re usually missing something…
The work has to get done. The whole point of positive, encouraging servant leadership (in the context of WORK) is more about creating an environment of engagement to set the stage and right the relationships to ensure that work gets done.
Did you see that episode of The Office in which Michael starts his own paper company, and makes workspace with nerf balls and other goofy stuff? He’s emulating that stereotype of the Silicon Valley workplaces loaded with pingpong tables and beanbag chairs in order to promote creativity and innovation. He’s missing a big thing – and so can we – the work.
If you want to emulate those happy happy things, you’ve also got to emulate the 80-hour weeks those people put in. The passion for creation that makes everything else slip away. The Michael Scott Paper Company forgot that part.
Your examples are likely not as extreme; if you do encounter a slowdown, and “blame” it on a greater commitment to positivity, double-check yourself on these questions:
- Is at least 25% of your friendly, specific feedback corrective, rather than complimentary?
- When someone consistently falls short of expectations, do you have a habit of addressing it, rather than ignoring it?
- If you are asked “What is your performance management system?” do you have an answer?
Make sure you’re staying positive, but also communicating specifically and immediately when something needs to be done differently (or at all!).
Make sure no one is lulled into false complacency because you’re afraid to deal with consistent performance issues.
Even if it’s informal, make sure there’s a system – job descriptions, one-on-ones, daily or weekly “check-ins”, TPS reports; something to keep an eye on the work. Drucker says “What gets measured, gets done.”
Stay positive. Stay encouraging. Build real relationships. Meet needs.
Then make sure the work gets done.
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