Good leaders understand that you have to make adjustments to get the job done. But too often, leadership becomes a battle of wills, where you push your team to do something that’s outside of their expertise.
To Clear the Path of this kind of thinking, let me take you on a short walk. Recently while going past a picket fence, I noticed that one of the wood planks was falling off. As a good samaritin (and a fan of working fences) I tried to pop the runaway board back into place.
It was then that I saw that the nail that went through the plank was barely longer than the plank. No wonder it was falling off as it could hardly do its job. I pressed it back in as well as I could but I know that, before long, the plank will fall again.
No matter how hard you pound on that nail, it is not a long term solution. To get the job done right, you have to retool with a longer nail or even a screw.
If a member of your team doesn’t know how to do something or doesn’t know how to do it very well, is it smart to keep hammering on them to perform the task?
Doesn’t it make better sense to retool by giving them more training? If that doesn’t work, maybe you need to consider taking them off the task and finding someone who can get the job done.
As I mentioned in my post, Love It Or Shove It, it’s very dangerous to occupy a space where you tolerate a situation that’s not working.
You can’t motivate a wrong sized nail to get longer.