There is a commonly held belief that an effective manager is one that “gets the absolute most out of their people.”
I guess that “worked” for a while, right?
When business is booming it’s easy to not give it a second thought, but when it’s not managers are usually quick to ask questions like “How can we get more from our people?”… which is effectively the same thing as asking “How can we extract more oil like the well that this is?” or “How can we squeeze this lemon even further?”.
Have you ever squeezed a lemon so hard that the insides start to mush out between your fingers? You MIGHT get one or two drops of juice out, but at that point, is it worth extra effort and haven’t you damaged the integrity of the lemon?
This expendable & outdated way of thinking is highly transactional and measures the value of an employee solely based on their output. It’s also coming from the place where an employer just takes, and takes, and takes.
But are we all equal? Are we all capable of the exact same things?
The role of a leader is to create the circumstances for their people to grow and achieve their natural best.
The idea IS NOT to squeeze to the point where people break. The idea is to very strategically uncover what’s missing, and then add it.
Next time when you’re having thoughts about how to get more out of your team, instead ask yourself what you can give to the situation and let your people achieve what they’re truly capable of.