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Initiative Should Be Rewarded May 23, 2009

Posted by Tim Rodgers in Management & leadership.
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I think it’s important to define clear and unique assignments for people, and I’ll talk more about that in a future post, but I’d rather work in an organization where people bump into each other from time to time than one where everyone sits in their cubicle assuming that someone else will take care of that blazing fire in the corner. Managers must instill a sense of common purpose and shared accountability for team results. Success is unlikely if everyone always stays within the boundaries of their job description.

Most companies include language in their formal review process that attempts to inspire performance that “exceeds expectations.” I’ve worked with people who want me to provide examples of performance that would exceed expectations. Those folks are missing the point. If I’m pushed to provide examples, those examples will become expected performance and can no longer be categorized as “exceeding.”

Organizations should reward people with initiative who can extrapolate from their job description to anticipate and solve problems. Their efforts may not always lead to winning outcomes, but with coaching they will become more accurate over time. It’s critical that managers provide feedback, encouragement, and appreciation for their passion and commitment to helping the business succeed.

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