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24 Ways to Challenge People Without being a Jerk-Hole

Performance is about rigorous standards, high expectations, clear goals, and providing support.

Challenge people and be tenderhearted.

“The best leaders are toughminded on standards and tenderhearted with people.” Doug Conant

24 ways to challenge people without being a jerk-hole:

  1. Like people. Leaders who dislike people become self-affirming jerk-holes.
  2. Build on progress. Don’t nitpick success. Challenge people to press forward.
  3. Notice strengths and encourage growth. Challenge people by committing to growth and development. Be supportive by noticing strengths.
  4. Respect contribution and set high standards. Don’t tolerate drifting. Say, “You have more in you.”
  5. Build momentum by honoring wins, not complaining. Chronic complainers drain people.
  6. Fight-for more than you fight-against.
  7. Listen attentively. Judge slowly.
  8. Inquire about meaningful issues. Get beyond the weather. Explore dreams and aspirations.
  9. Correct optimistically. Challenge people to challenge themselves.
  10. Set high standards and pull-with.
  11. Brag about others. Bragging is good when it’s about others.
  12. Receive help. People love to be helpful as long as it’s appreciated.
  13. Forget about small irritations.
  14. Don’t make excuses for yourself or others.
  15. Practice self-love and challenge yourself. Self-love gone bad is self-indulgent and hypocritical.
  16. Exude quiet confidence. Don’t put yourself down. Centeredness makes you inspirational.
  17. Tell the truth with kindness. Don’t dance around issues.
  18. Remember names.
  19. Notice when people light up. People learn about themselves when you say, “Your eyes just lit up. What’s going on for you?”
  20. Seek the best interest of others.
  21. Don’t speak with defensiveness.
  22. Laugh. Humor is attractive and contagious. Laugh at yourself. Laugh with others.
  23. Teach your face to express your heart. It takes more muscles to frown but it’s usually easier than smiling.
  24. Open the blinds. Let yourself be seen, warts and all as long as you’re committed to improve. Share a little about yourself. Engage in friendly banter.

Which of the above practices could you implement today?

What would you add to the above list?

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