"How you measure the performance of your managers directly affects the way they act." ~Gustave Flaubert

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” ~ Margaret J. Wheatley

Do you direct tasks based on the skill level of your staff members? Sounds good, and it is indeed a good practice, but there is a flipside. Is your busiest person your most skilled person? Is you weakest person the one with the most time? As with many things we do it is only good if you balance it. I use the above examples to get you thinking before I throw out this question: Does your weak person have a poor work ethic, and unwittingly you have given them exactly what they want by taking work away from them and giving it to another?

That’s an example of rewarding the wrong behavior.

The other notorious example is the person who jumps the chain of command and goes to the Vice President when you say “No”. What does the VP do? Grant their wish, reward the wrong behavior and doom themselves to dealing with that sort of request as long as they are willing to override your decision (usually just to shut the person up).

It happens so unwittingly most of the time:

  • One department is notoriously slow, so we go around them.
  • We feel more comfortable doing something ourselves than putting it in the hands of the person who should do it.
  • Someone didn’t plan appropriately so everyone has to jump in to help them.

Unless there is some accountability that will make these one-time events, then you have rewarded the person who didn’t expend the effort to plan or the department with no sense of urgency.

Are you unwittingly rewarding someone’s lack of effort, lack of skill, or general incompetence? Then stop, correct your behavior, and spend the time you would have spent dealing with it in your own way into actually helping them solve their issue. That’s what great leaders do, they expose issues and opportunities, then dive into dealing with them.

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