When to Push & When to Hold Back

Leading Employees in a Positive Direction

Knowing when to push people or the organization forward, and when to hold back while still getting forward movement, is an important part of the art and science of leadership. Being a leader (which includes leading students to achieve) is about being able to manage the gap between where people are and where they need to be. Too much pushing can shut people down. Too little pushing will not create enough action to achieve the goal.

push employeesAfter observing many highly effective people at work, we’ve come to realize the best time to push is when things are going well. Why? Because that’s when people are feeling the most confident. Jack Welch, past CEO of GE, said that people and organizations with self-confidence work more quickly and smoothly (and less expensively) in all aspects of their work.

On the flip side, when an organization or person is not achieving the desired outcome, support may be the best way to lead. The key is to build self-confidence. This doesn’t mean accepting poor performance. It means pulling a person or an organization out of a self-defeating mind-set. Methods vary from saying, “I have confidence in you, and we’re committed to your development” to saying, “I understand what happened, and I know we will do better.” Other effective tactics are making a gesture of sincere caring or simply moving on to what comes next.

How do you determine when to push and when to hold back?


Asti Kelley, Studer Education℠

Excerpt from: Maximize Performance | Feature image: Fronetics & Brandman University

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