In more than 30 years of being an entrepreneur, I have found that people can perform extraordinarily well if they feel supported, affirmed, are engaged in things of significance…and receive feedback.
It’s commonsense not to isolate or kick people when they are down or not performing to your expectations; it just makes them more fearful, resentful, cautious, and risk averse. Ironically, performance issues are usually less about competency and more often the result of unclear expectations and incomplete directions from the boss.
Extending grace, then, is not about lowering your standards or giving an employee a free pass. Rather, it is about understanding more deeply the dynamics of less-than-stellar performance and the role leaders might play in this drama. Perhaps, as a leader, you might need to communicate expectations more clearly, straightforwardly, and with a “mea culpa” mindset. You may even need to say, “Perhaps I wasn’t clear.”
- How consistently are you leveraging each person’s strengths?
- How might you be more clear in communicating your performance expectations?
- How well would your colleagues say you are providing timely, candid, constructive feedback?
- How well are you fostering a culture of mutual accountability?