The Power of the Audience

Three of our grandchildren – 2, 6, and 7 yrs. old – spent the week with us. I kept hearing, “Watch this Poppi.”

Everyone longs for an approving audience,
the standing ovation.

Leaders are the audience when:

  1. The organization is top down.
  2. They are highly respected.
  3. Pay and promotions are in their control.
  4. They assign and evaluate projects.

Our youngest grandson loves dribbling. The more we praise the more he does. “That’s awwwwesome!”

Bringing out greatness in others
means seeing greatness, first.

The danger of high standards – and you must have them – is they may obscure progress. By the way, if their current progress is unsatisfactory, it’s most likely you are responsible. You hired the wrong person, for example.

Encourage without sharing improvements:

The leader of a new initiative in our organization asked for feedback. The last performance was good not great. I could offer suggestions but she knows more about her area than I do. Any suggestions I make wouldn’t add value.

Rather than offering suggestions, I said, “I love where you’re going.”

Your power to encourage diminishes
with every insignificant suggestion you make. 

On the other hand, substantive suggestions encourage those who pursue excellence. “Thanks, that’s great,” they’ll say.

The rule of 70%:

Before offering improvements to those who already pursue excellence ask yourself if your suggestions have at least a 70% chance of making a meaningful difference.

When you’re concerned:

  1. Ask them to share their vision for the team or project. “Where are you going?”
  2. Ask them where improvements are needed. If they miss something meaningful, point it out. “Have you thought about?”
  3. Ask them how you can help? It’s likely they’ll be like our two year old grandson, “I can do it myself.”

How are you bringing out the best in those around you?

What can those around you do to help bring out your best?

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