Johnathon announced to his team, “Your performance disappoints me. You can do better. I will change what I need to and I expect you to meet all performance metrics. I will inspect all activities closely and take quick, corrective actions where needed.”
Employees grumbled, griped and blamed failures on unrealistic expectations, vendor problems, a warehouse fire, and bad weather.
Johnathon, anchored like a rock in a sandstorm, continued pressing. He made changes, terminated a couple of employees, some quit. The performance needle began vibrating upward.
After a few months, the president said to the team, “You have performed a turnaround beyond my highest expectations.”
Jonathon impatiently asked for even more from the team. Turnover became an issue again, excuses emerged, and performance stalled out. Eventually, the president removed Jonathon.
Johnathon’s methods jerked a group of carless whiners into a high-performing team, but he could not sustain the success. Effective leaders are not one-trick ponies, they adapt. Structure often turns bad performance into good, but support and freedom is necessary to sustain high performance.