Successful modern leaders must be supportive of staff, but must also take decisive action to maintain standards of behaviour and professionalism in the workplace.
Are the worst leaders those who fail to support and develop staff or those who fail to effectively challenge people when standards of behaviour and professionalism are not met?
The best managers are those who are able to do both.
In order to establish and enhance standards in the workplace as a manager the first pre-requisite is a strong relationship of trust and respect. It is possible to maintain minimum standards through fear – for a while at least – but if you want people to perform to their best then your relationship with them has to be strong.
As a manager you have to have a clear idea about what excellence is, and to be confident enough in your own knowledge and the relationship with the report to give feedback.
Usually when people hear the feedback word they assume immediately that the feedback must be negative or corrective. There is an assumption that feedback is given when a standard is not met. However managers must spend time providing affirming feedback for all the great work that goes on – if they expect their adjusting feedback to be listened to.
Feedback needs to be given effectively. It needs to focus on the specific behaviours and their consequences and leave the responsibility for making necessary changes with the report.
It needs to be given from a position of wanting to help and being constructive. From wanting to see the recipient of the feedback produce consistently high quality results. Feedback given from a critical, negative or superior place is rarely effective.