As children, we are reared on the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As leaders, we need to respect the “Reverse Golden Rule.”
By reversing this maxim, I don’t mean we should throw empathy out the window.
Just the opposite.
We need to understand that “one-size-fits-all” maxims don’t apply to leadership, because you’re dealing with diverse personalities. What works for one team member may not work for another. We’re all wired differently, and when we apply the same approach or philosophy uniformly, without taking these differences into account, we might as well be speaking Greek to those individuals who don’t embrace said approach.
I’ll bet there are members of your team who are motivated by criticism, but others who tend to crumble under reproach yet blossom when praised.
Perhaps you have an employee who craves splashy, public acknowledgments of their contributions, but another who is far more private and to whom a big display of recognition would be off-putting.
Get to know your team as individuals.
The best leaders identify not only talent, but each employee’s unique behavioral traits. They know that Jill will walk through fire for you if she’s given a little flexibility to work from home, whereas Jack is all about pay for performance.
To effectively motivate your employees you must know more than their [fill-in-the-blank] job description.
Get to know what drives them, and what stops them dead in their tracks.
Sit back and observe.
Move over, cookie-cutter Golden Rule. Let this tailored leadership approach lead to platinum performance.