The Secret to Bringing Out the Best in Others

Support too little and challenge too much – you kick butt. People are stressed and discouraged.

Challenge too little and support too much – you coddle. People are comfortable and sleepy.

The secret to bringing out the best in others is finding the ‘right’ ratio of challenge to support.


Your challenge-support style sits on a continuum.

The right ratio depends on the person you’re dealing with, not your preference.


You treat people the way you treat yourself.

If you enjoy challenging yourself, you enjoy challenging others.

You judge others through the lens of your challenge-support preference.

High-challenge leaders think high-support people need to toughen up. But leaders who enjoy feeling supported think high-challenge team members are jerks.

Identify your ratio:

Success is about bringing out the best in others.

Seek feedback on your challenge-to-support ratio.

The goal of understanding your challenge-to-support ratio is learning how to maximize human potential.


Ask team members to place you on the challenge-support line. Are you more supportive or more challenging?

Introduce the project by saying, “Good leaders know how to challenge and support people. Challenge without support is frustrating and discouraging. Support without challenge slows growth.”


What am I doing to help you feel challenged?

What am I doing to help you feel supported?

Draw a circle on the line that indicates the ratio of challenge-to-support that works best for you. (There is no right answer.)

How might I move the line toward a better ratio of challenge-to-support? (Look for behaviors.)


Ask everyone on your team to complete the project in private. Combine results and explore.

Challenge-support tip:

Notice energy. When someone lights up, notice and explore.

“I noticed your energy go up just now. What’s going on for you? How might you bring that energy to your current project?”

What’s your ratio of challenge-to-support?

What ratio works best for the people around you?

Blank support-challenge line:

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