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Leaders that Stretch Comfort Zones vs. Leaders that Make Their People Uncomfortable

After a presentation last week where I mentioned that there are often more de-motivators in work environments than motivators, a member of the audience came up to me asking for more information about the work I do because he wanted to suggest to his boss some resources I suggested to try and make a point.

When I asked him what de-motivators he was experiencing he mentioned some micro-managing tendencies that made him feel like he was always being checked up on, that included some suggested but not necessary last minute changes on projects just to test him, and then moving people around into positions they did not like to do and were uncomfortable with performing due to a lack of skills and talents.

He told me his boss liked test people to stretch their comfort zones. I found that to be a strange and dangerous psychological game that would eventually cause motivation and morale to suffer. It’s not the best way to get the best out of people.

After that conversation I realized there is a significant difference between leaders that ask people on their teams to stretch their comfort zone vs. leaders that just make their people uncomfortable with how they communicate or manage their job description and responsibilities.

Leaders that stretch comfort zones as a way to develop greater skills, confidence and competencies that will enhance team members’ self-esteem and self-worth that can become an even greater asset are great leaders. The even greater leaders communicate what they are doing and why in advance to gain the buy-in and commitment from their team members so they understand the reasoning behind the move. They also offer coaching and support to ensure the development is successful. In these circumstances the comfort zone will be stretched and will never go back. A good thing for all.

Leaders that communicate to purposely make their people uncomfortable to keep them on their toes and alert, or for whatever twisted psychological reasoning, are going to kill the employees’ self-esteem and self-worth, while eroding the workplace trust necessary for high-performance. It certainly will not be developing a team player. It will just create resentment and animosity that could eventually lead to even sabotage of company objectives.

Which type of leader do you want to be?

Just wondering…hopefully this is something to think about.

’til next time…

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

There is 1 comment. Add yours.

  1. Skip
    This was an awesome article! I found myself in this situation just today as a leader! I realized that after all these years of reading and hearing and living things of this nature, I was able to finally get it correct! Thanks for all you do!
    S

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