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Prize individuality with ‘unsung heroes’

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

When your people aren’t doing their best, you have two basic choices:
  1. Enforce uniformity. Create and enforce performance standards and procedures that pressure everyone to perform in essentially the same way.

  2. Encourage individuality. Push people to do more of what they do best, without forcing square pegs into round holes.
The second option encourages people to build on their strengths instead of conforming to each other’s weaknesses. But how do you let people do whatever they do best without triggering chaos?

Thomas Teal, author of First Person: Tales of Management Courage and Tenacity, says the best way is to locate “unsung heroes” in your organization and single them out for praise.

When you single out such leaders for special recognition and praise, you send a clear message that excellence comes in many forms. You also let people know that you’re not running a “one size fits all” shop, but a vibrant organization that rewards people for who they really are.

— Adapted from “The Human Side of Management,” Thomas Teal, Harvard Business Review.

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