Strict or Soft: the problem with extremes

Some leaders are too strict with their teams. Others are too soft. There are problems with being at either extreme.

Soft leaders

Soft leaders should not be in leadership positions. They seldom build excellent companies. They rate avoiding conflict higher than they rate setting standards and enforcing them. If these leaders do build excellent companies, it is often because they have deputies that have the real control.

When leaders are more interested in being liked than they are in developing their people, they accomplish neither – they fail to bring out the best in their people, and while they may be liked, are usually not respected. Often, they are pitied by their teams – pitied for being too soft, for allowing people to be slack, sometimes allowing people to get away with outrageous behaviour.

These leaders are most likely to keep the wrong people and by failing to set and enforce standards, harbour mediocrity in their teams. They most often fear their teams, fearing that if they call people out on unacceptable standards, those people will leave.

Occasionally these leaders do have winners on the team, but the winners soon move on once they lose respect for their soft leaders.

Strict leaders

Leaders can be too hard on their people, too. But strict leaders are often strict about everything and can micromanage to a point where their people are afraid to show initiative, and even more afraid to convey bad news to their leader.

These leaders often fail to celebrate results and, while they are quick to point out what people have done wrong, can feel awkward metering praise to their people. Their offices are often dour places to work, with very little fun.

One leader I know recently forbade his two salespeople to have lunch together. What did he think was going to happen – a conspiracy? I can’t even call this strict leadership – it’s downright dumb leadership. This leader has precisely ZERO salespeople now!
Some wear their strict leadership as a badge of pride, but being too strict can be as ineffective as being too soft. Strict leaders lose people, many who could have become winners had they received good leadership.

Extremes

Extremes of strict and soft are not good. I am not suggesting middle ground either.

Good leaders set standards for their people and, when people fall short of those standards, they are counselled, retrained if necessary, and terminated if they continue to fall short of the standard. If termination is required, they do it swiftly, but always with kindness and compassion.

But there are times when leaders must also allow minor things to pass without comment. Teams can get under pressure and leaders must release the pressure occasionally, or good people will leave. A bit of fun does wonders.

Good leaders have range in their leadership styles. Strict when necessary, uncompromising when necessary and soft on occasions. Always we must show our people that they are important to us, and the best way to show that is to be interested in them, and work at bringing out the best in them.

Avoid the extremes, they burn good people and kill profit.

Gary Pittard

Recent Articles

Strict or Soft: the problem with extremes

Some leaders are too strict with their teams. Others are too soft. There are problems with being at either extreme. Soft leaders Soft leader...

Salaries: Expense or Return?

Many real estate agency principals suffer from 'salary phobia': they view salaries as an expense instead of an investment. Real estate agency prof...

A Little Word Salespeople Should Use More Often

Good salespeople are always on the lookout for new lines and for new ways to deliver their messages, but there is one word that many should consid...

Clueless Negotiating

"Transparency" is all the rage, but as a negotiation strategy it is full of holes. Real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, says that tra...

Why Do We Do It To Ourselves?

There would not be one business leader who doesn't know that it is easier to lead the right people than it is to lead the wrong people. Despite th...

Stop Slumps Before They Occur

Any real estate agency leader can tell when a salesperson is in a slump, but according to real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, the re...

Visual Aids

An age-old question for presenters is, "Should I use visual aids?". While I agree that people can become overly reliant on visual aids...

High But Not Out Of Sight

Goal setting needs to be done properly if it is going to work. Statistics show that only five percent of people set goals. Those five percent earn m...

Getting the Team to Focus

One of the top three complaints from agency leaders is that they cannot get their teams to focus on actions that produce results. Some have been compl...

Make Them Feel Important

Sometimes being a real estate salesperson is hard slog. There is pressure to bring in results, rejection to be faced on an almost daily basis, and t...

Has Sales Changed That Much?

We often hear about disruptive change. Uber for taxis, Amazon for book stores... Now people are saying that a new player in the Australian market,...

Habits of the Greats

Habits are a foundation of success. As you progress through your sales career, your results will improve as you replace bad habits with good habit...

Want to reach your profit potential? Contact us now.

Pittard


Suite 71, Level 4
330 Wattle Street

Ultimo NSW 2007
Australia


Mailing Address
PO Box 2045
Strawberry Hills NSW 2012


: (02) 8217 8500
Fax: (02) 9281 4198
AUS Free call: 1800 663 600
NZ Free call: 0800 448 065
International: +61 2 8217 8500

: info@pittard.com.au

Contact Us