Pushing people to do things you want them to do is one way to get things done. This situation sometimes manifests in interactions between children and parents. It also occurs all too frequently in the workplace between managers and direct reports. In the worst cases managers dictate and use fear tactics with their staff. They use the word “mandatory” a lot. In their mind this is the best way to “get things done around here”. Yes, work might get done, but it doesn’t get done well. The manager is constantly fighting an uphill battle.
In the workplace, the staff, for the most part, does what their told—after all, they’re getting paid so they have to. The manager stands over them—MICROMANAGING. Ugh! If the staff doesn’t comply and “obey” they fear reprimand or worse, termination. The manager thinks his method is working. He sees people moving. Stuff is getting done. The manager thinks “I’m doing a great job, look how busy everyone is”. But as soon as the manger steps away, what happens? Work slows, complaining starts, and productivity takes a nose-dive.
Because really, you can’t make people do anything they don’t want to do. They might look like they’re doing what you asked, but be warned. They are simply going through the motions doing the least amount of work possible without regard to quality. People do not and cannot, do good work if they aren’t invested and inspired. They need a hefty amount of empowerment and engagement to actually “own” the job. Pushing, forcing and dictating are not effective long term strategies and certainly not strategies for high performance.
“But if I don’t push them, they won’t do it!”
Good argument but it’s way off base. The most effective, influential and trusted managers are the ones that understand pushing or forcing people doesn’t work. Instead they engage with their staff in a way that brings about not only compliance but cooperation and buy-in. When a state of buy-in is reached, performance soars and results are positively impacted long-term.
HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?
To reach the desired state of buy-in, a manager has taken steps to earn the trust of the team. The staff has been treated in a way that tells them they are valued both personally and professionally. The behavior of the manager tells the staff that they matter as much as the company and customers. The manager engages and inspires the staff through rewards, recognition, development, and mentoring…and through “having their back” when things go wrong. If managers can do this, they will no longer need to PUSH in order to get work done. Instead the staff will WANT to perform at a high level. Productivity, efficiency, and results increase dramatically. When managers reach this desired state, success will follow!
"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it." Dwight D. Eisenhower