Nice and tough

By Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman via blogs.hbr.org   Article

Nice or Tough: Which Approach Engages Employees Most?

“Drivers are very good at establishing high standards of excellence, getting people to stretch for goals that go beyond what they originally thought possible, keeping people focused on the highest priority goals and objectives, doing everything possible to achieve those goals, and continually improving.

Enhancers, by contrast, are very good at staying in touch with the issues and concerns of others, acting as role models, giving honest feedback in a helpful way, developing people, and maintaining trust. …

When we asked people in an informal survey which was most likely to increase engagement, the vast majority opted for the enhancer approach. In fact, most leaders we’ve coached have told us that they believe the way to increase employee commitment was to be the ‘nice guy or gal.’

But the numbers tell a more complicated story. … Clearly, we were asking the wrong question, when we set out to determine which approach was best. Leaders need to think in terms of ‘and’ not ‘or.’ Leaders with highly engaged employees know how to demand a great deal from employees, but are also seen as considerate, trusting, collaborative, and great developers of people.”

 

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