Are you tolerating mediocrity in your work force? Do employees watch the clock and expend just enough energy to squeeze by? Don't be so quick to say "Not in my business." According to Dick Doughton, president of Southwest Performance Group Inc., a Scottsdale, Arizona, training company, "Many managers tolerate exactly this kind of mediocrity. I see it every day." The reason? "Most managers just don't know they can light a fire under their employees."
These days, businesses have no choice but to get the highest commitment out of workers. In an ever more competitive marketplace, only the leanest and toughest will thrive. The big leadership challenge today is getting the most from each employee. If you're not, the question is, What's holding them back?
"Often the answer is `rustout,' " says Steve Buchholz, partner of Minneapolis-based Inventure Group, a human resources training and design firm.
"Many employees just aren't focused on their jobs--they're on the payroll but are [mentally] on vacation every day," explains Fred de Avila, president of Spectra Learning Group, an Irvine, California-based employee development and strategic consulting company. "It's called rustout because it happens over time. Usually it's a slow erosion of effectiveness and commitment." Put plainly, when an employee is rusting out, his performance has sagged into mediocrity--or worse.