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Extra mile   Push, push, and you will get a leader

Why are you pushing me and not him?

Extra mileIn a highly competitive markets, and, indeed, most of them are these days, one of the questions a leader in any company may hear is "Why are you pushing me so hard?"

When dealing with people, one of the critical skills is to recognize who deserves additional attention and help to be better every day and, hopefully, one day get the chance to be the leader himself. This is not something that can be learned in some school: you may get some advice but you'll have to have your eyes open and learn along the way.

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So, let start with some advice. We all heard about that famous "extra mile" every one of us should go every day, but what that means? Contrary to a popular belief - and unfortunately we can see that in many companies today - that doesn't mean being in the office 15 hours a day, not seeing the light of day and spending every moment working until a total breakdown happens.

No, that extra mile may be an extra step, a small step: what's important is that it is happening every day. To make it clear: if your worker makes 101 instead of 100 products a day, that's his extra mile. If, instead of 20 phone calls he makes 21, that's also that famous extra mile. Why that small step is important?

It is important because it shows that your employee a) wants to do more than he was told to do, and b) he manages his time so well that there's some time left for that additional step.

Now, what to do with such a worker? It's simple: give him more to do. And after that a little bit more. And after that even more. Increase tasks and responsibilities gradually and watch what happens. We bet just two things will happen: he will either come to you, his leader, to talk about his duties or he'll just scream "Why me? Why always me?" At that very point you know who's the future leader and who is not.

The answer to "Why are you pushing me so hard?" is "Because I believe in you and I think you can do it." But, in most of the cases you will never hear it from someone who's ready to go to another level: such employees will work very hard, with very good results, and will come to you calmly to chat a bit if their limits are reached.

On contrary, when someone yells "Why meeee!?", that means he just doesn't get it. As simple as that. At that point, as cruel as it may sound, it's time to put that employee in his box and assign him duties that don't contain that extra mile. Of course, he may do his job in a correct way, but he's not for something bigger. At least, not yet.

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