Circle the wagons or get out the hairdryer 



There is feedback and then there is the hairdryer treatment. There are league tables and then there is naming and shaming. They say praise in public, criticise in private and then there is the blame culture and holding people to account. There is the pull the wagons into a circle it's us against the rest of the world and then there is finding a scapegoat. Should you coax a performance out of your most talented or point out that everyone is replaceable? So which approach gets the best results? Does it make a difference if we are talking long term or short term? In the top posts the expectations are higher should you respond to failure by increasing the pressure or is performance more likely to improve if you can take some of the pressure off? Is it a matter of knowing the individual or management style? Where does your leadership style sit between the extremes of put an arm round the shoulder or give them a kick up the backside? It matters because leaders set the management tone within an organisation .

Both approaches can be shown to work. Maybe one is better in the short term the other in the long term. One is more pleasurable to experience but when pushed hard most people can reach heights they didn't think they could, they just can't keep doing it . Is the aim a consistently high performance or are you prepared to accept some peaks and troughs if the peaks are are truly outstanding?

In my experience managers are naturally more inclined and comfortable with one approach but need to be able to change their leadership styles to suit the circumstances. The best are good at both but of more significance is the ability to know which to use when.

Blair McPherson former director, author and blogger

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