Challenge your people well
Excited to be back with you for week three of our series on how to cultivate an environment of development because remember, we can't legislate it. The principal I want to talk to you about this week is that we have to learn how to challenge our people well.
When we think about growth in life, nothing happens that is towards growth without a little bit of challenge. Sure we prefer it to be easy, but when you think about exercise, for example - if you're not tearing your muscles down, then you're not building them up. This is true for personal development; it’s true in business; it's true in sports: if we don't have some sort of challenge, it's going to be hard for us to grow.
Now, as leaders what we need to do is learn how to challenge our people well. My experience is that leaders fall on one of two sides of the coin. You have some leaders who are afraid to challenge their people. Maybe it's because they want to be seen as empathetic and kind. Maybe it's because they are caught up in wanting to be liked so they try to use positive reinforcement and encouragement and motivation, but they shy away and don't challenge their people.
Some leaders are on the other side and they just love a challenge. They love a challenge personally, they love to challenge the team, they love to see a new opportunity and say, “this is a great challenge for us!” And so they challenge, challenge, challenge - and they challenge people right into the ground because human beings can't be challenged all the time.
And so as leaders, what we want to be able to do is to learn to find that sweet spot - that in between in which we are able to challenge our people well. And to do that, we want to think about two things.
One, we want to think, “Have I earned the right to be heard?” And by that I mean, if we are people who are challenging ourselves personally, we are good listeners, and we engage people so they know we care about them, then we've earned the right - the voice - to challenge people. They'll know that we're challenging them because we believe in them. And then secondly are we able to do it in a way that is candid and kind? To challenge people we don't have to be rude. We can challenge people in a way that is true, that is real, but is also kind and encouraging.
So, if you want to develop your people you have to learn this skill: to challenge people well. Take a moment and evaluate for yourself. Do you fall on the side in which you're afraid to challenge people because you want to be viewed well or you prefer to use positive reinforcement? Or are you the kind of person that is just challenging your people to the ground?
Think about what steps you might take to find that sweet spot in the middle so that you can be a leader who cultivates an environment of development, and that you can help your people grow because you've learned how to challenge them well.
Hey, can't wait for next week when we talk about how we might grow in our ability to care for our people in order to cultivate that environment that we're looking for.
Have a great week and I'll see you soon.
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