Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Maximize ≠ Maximum

In my last blog I stated that the best effort that you can expect from any employee is 100% and that any comment suggesting that there is more to give is a sign that the leader is failing to properly inspire that person to achieve their best.

I want to clarify though that there is a real and tangible difference between maximizing potential and the maximum potential.

Maximum will always be 100%.  But to expect that you can achieve this level on a consistent basis is foolhardy and potentially dangerous. 

Foolhardy, because to base expectations on achieving maximum potential every day in every circumstance will only lead to disappointment and frustration.

Dangerous, because failure to achieve unrealistic expectations is demoralizing and creates a toxic environment.  A downward spiral is more difficult to correct that it is to maintain an upward move.

As the leader, your role is to maximize potential for each person, every day.  Sometimes that potential will only be 75% - or even less - of maximum.  But if you are able to maximize that potential, you and your employee have done their jobs.

So many factors impact potential.  They range from systems breakdowns to equipment failures to a lack of information needed to perform a function.  Perhaps it is the absence of a co-worker or a personal illness or family issue.  There is a myriad of legitimate factors which individually or collectively mitigate against one's maximum efforts.  A leader who is properly engaged and committed to the employee's welfare will recognize these factors and adjust expectations accordingly. 

No amount of leadership 'inspiration' is going to change these realities. As you mature in your role you will gain the wisdom necessary to quickly evaluate the situation each day and respond accordingly.  What inspires one day will be different from the next.

When you understand that inspiring others to maximize their potential requires that YOU ADAPT , you will have reached a significant milestone in your development and that will be played out by improved performances from your team.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the post. concise, clear, dose of healthy reality