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Putting the P back into People

Strategies for getting the best out of your people are summed up in this simple yet effective 3P Model

Speaker, Strategist, Goal-Catalyst

Great leaders go to astonishing lengths to be the best they can be—to perform at the highest possible level every day. They strive to exceed expectations. However, it isn’t enough to make your company a success. Nothing can be achieved alone; you need a team that’s similarly committed to peak performance. One of your duties as a leader is to try to get the very best out of them—as individuals and as a team.

Organizations in the business of merely collecting talent often fail at the responsibility of fostering and nurturing talent. One of the most challenging questions organizations face today is how to tap into the true potential of every individual.

With organizations growing in size, complexity, and work evolving so rapidly, it is crucial to take time to craft internal policies, guidelines, and put frameworks into place that help guide managers on how to bring the best out of their workforce. It is also vital that such frameworks be constantly reviewed for evolution, especially when the business shows an upward graph. In order to achieve this, organizations must develop leaders with influence with a mindset focusing on positive culture and leading by example, displaying the behaviors they would like to see exercised by their staff.

Break Down vs. Build-up

A Harvard Business Review study indicates that leaders can be of two different mindsets: Diminishers and Multipliers.

Diminishers are authoritative, commanding, and controlling most of the time. Identified as ‘idea killers’ or ‘creativity plugs’, they tend to drain the intelligence and confidence out of their teams. Employees feel overstretched but underutilized. Their workload is an unmoving mountain, yet it’s just ‘busy work’ over meaningful contribution. The people they lead are often sitting on a pile of undermined or underutilized ideas, skills, and interests.

Fundamentally opposite to this is the Multiplier mindset. They feel their job is to bring the right people together in an environment that unleashes their best thinking, then stay out of the way. Leaders with the multiplier mindset operate from a space where they do not consider themselves to have all the intelligence and are active collaborators and delegators. They practice the art of accessing the brains of their teammates with searching questions and spirited debates. They know that when employees are engaged in matters of the company, they’re bought in and feel accountable. Multipliers are not content seeking praise for being a genius; they’ve ascended to being genius-makers.

These two mindsets are not an either/or situation. Instead, managers exist on the diminisher-multiplier continuum, sometimes even acting as accidental diminishers without intending to. The following model of the 3-P strategy creates a guideline for effective strategies that a manager can use depending on the situation or type of individual. These three simple tenets help you re-focus on boosting the highest potential from your team:

Push: It is said that if you are not pushing your team, you are leaving productivity on the table. Employees may not always know how capable they are, but as a leader, you can take the initiative to shed light on their qualities.

However, it is tricky to push your employees. You have to push them to achieve results and boost performance. But if you push them too far, they might get disengaged and quit.

Pushing is about motivating people to do better than they think they could. For example, if you want someone to learn a particular skill they are averse to or undertake a task they’re afraid of, you will use the PUSH strategy. PUSH comes from the outside, for you want to build a quality in a person they do not yet possess. While using the PUSH strategy, you might have to play the Diminisher mindset role or Authoritative leadership role.

Pull: Pull is about bringing the best out of people, helping them unearth their potential, pulling out their hidden talents and gifts. It talks of revealing the intrinsic, unleashing what one already has. For instance, encouraging an individual team member to pursue their niche interests that they aspire to do. You use the PULL strategy when you want a team member to soar above the horizon using their dormant skills and capabilities. Sometimes people are stuck due to past experiences, boredom, environmental factors, personal issues, or lack of opportunities. PULL can help reignite their fire and seek to utilize their inner strengths to grab every opportunity they get but feel hesitant about.

Patience: We have all heard the phrase ‘patience is a virtue’. Never is it a greater virtue than when dealing with your employees. Being patient requires empathy and a certain level of emotional intelligence. It is not easy to be patient with your team members in the face of all the pressures of meeting business goals and delivering results, but a multiplier tries nonetheless. Realistically, one cannot expect individuals to bring their A-game all the time.

They practice the art of accessing the brains of their teammates with searching questions and spirited debates

Patience is paramount when your employees are facing tension points. Be on a level with your team where you identify their tension points well in advance.

For example, leaders often get frustrated when an employee cannot see what they are envisioning for a particular client, unable to make headway at the task, appearing incompetent or unsure. However, rather than getting frustrated, the leader must keep a level head, focusing on the person’s strengths and guiding them towards a more strategic thought process that’ll get the job done. This may not always be a pleasant encounter. Practicing patience requires one to be a good listener. Our advice – Don’t be in a hurry, ask the right questions, opt for discussion over frustrated venting.

Good leaders are not born, they are made. With a little common sense and empathy, you too can ensure that you show up as a multiplier, more often than not, one that leads with spirit and kindness. A leader like this will find his team going the extra mile to meet the standards set by them.

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