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No. 75 / Excellence through empowerment

There is a misguided notion out there that if you can just yell louder, nag more, micromanage closer, and criticize wrongdoing, then excellence will magically emerge. The bosses, coaches, parents, and managers who embrace this management style will be met with resentment and animosity. You can’t ‘will’ people to eventually start pushing themselves. They will only work hard so long as you are around. Stop, and they stop. Nothing great was ever achieved by bullying people to the finish line. If you are seeing success with this style in any type of organization, just wait, it won’t last and it certainly doesn’t scale. 

Real leaders empower. Real leaders trust. Surround yourself with people who are better than you, smarter than you, and more motivated than you, then get out of the way. Set clear expectations and goals for what you want to see happen, then take the lid off the bottle and watch them soar. You are there to help and assist. Encourage questions, be there for them to answer. 

Success and achievement are addictive. Once people start to realize their own potential, they will want to stretch their limits. Three things happen when this type of management is implemented: 1) they will see the power of self-direction 2) they will understand the benefits of accountability and support 3) their intrinsic desire to want to improve will increase. 

Give those over whom you manage a way to be successful. Embrace generosity and they will begin to give back. If you aren’t seeing the desired results immediately, don’t stress, you are still way ahead of where you might have been if you had bullied them to this point - at the very least you are probably more liked. 

Give people interesting problems to solve and you’ll be amazed at the results. Leaders will surface, progress will be made, and you will build something that outlives you.