The Overs and Unders of Leadership

There are two things that are critical about how your team feels about the roles they play for you: appreciation and work.  And one can be used to manage the other but if both they must be balanced.

We’ll invert the aforementioned components and start with work.  At any given time, a member of your team will likely feel either over- or underworked.  Now, though most people say they’d rather be underworked, that may not be the actual case.  I read a story in the NY Post yesterday about a woman who has a gripe with the city because she was paid a million dollars to do nothing for a decade.  That is nuts but one thing this era of humans needs is validation that what we are investing our time in has some purpose.  So being underworked, though relaxing from time to time, is ultimately boring and will have most (young) people updating their LinkedIn profiles real quicky.

On the other hand, no one wants to constantly be overworked.  There are days that I really ask myself why I worked all day and, seemingly, didn’t make a dent in my workload.  But that is life sometimes and, in accepting a job, know it will happen.  But if that is happening consistently to people on your team, maybe you should look at how  you are allocating your human resources and reallocate them.  As the McDonald’s fry cook, I shouldn’t be flipping hamburgers, pouring drinks, putting on condiments, AND taking orders at the register.  Something has to give, right?  Look at your team’s productivity level and, if it is legitimately low, consider shifting some jobs OR hiring someone to do the jobs that aren’t even in their job descriptions.

Now, onto the second component: appreciation.  What no one wants to (or should) be is underappreciated.  Many of us have more valuable things that we could be doing outside of being at our jobs every day.  Most of us would rather be following our dreams, bettering ourselves, or spending time with our families, but we go to work every day because we need to pay bills, as we should.  But we also need to be made aware through raises, gifts, bonuses, benefits, respect, et cetra  that our time is valued.  If that isn’t happening, morale will decrease and your turnover rate will be higher than Snoop Dogg on April 20th and 20 past 4.

Conversely, over-appreciation can be a problem too.  Giving someone too much recognition can cause laziness, haughtiness, resentment amongst other employees.  Certainly, those are things you cannot always be concerned with but be able to discern when the recognition is undeserved and restrict it accordingly.  Too much recognition can make someone feel invincible and it gives them fuel when you try to reprimand them for conduct unbecoming of a member of your team.

All in all, make sure you’re a balanced leader.  It will help you develop a more engaged and effective team and, ultimately, make all of you more successful.


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