Every now and then I like to joke around with my staff using the standard line … “work harder, work faster, work longer!” Of course I say it in jest and they respond appropriately.
So it was interesting to see Seth Godin’s blog entry about the easiest form of management being to exhort your workers to work harder. with the better style of management being to encourage them to work smarter. As always Seth’s blog entry entitled “Do More v Do Better’ makes me think about stuff … which is a good thing!
I certainly agree with Seth that encouraging working smarter is a good management practice, but I don’t necessarily agree that pushing your staff to work harder is a bad practice. The one without the other … not so good, but I think we can all benefit from a little push.
I am currently working out with a boxing trainer … the intensity I achieve with him pushing me is far greater than when I work out on my own. I think its the same for anyone … left to our own devices we expend a variable amount of effort, which might vary based upon energy levels, how we are feeling at that given moment, the interest level in this particular task etc. With a gentle push from a supervisor/manager maybe we can achieve more … which is really good for all concerned.
Unusual for me to disagree with Seth Godin, but I am not really disagreeing so much as modifying his thought. Working smarter is usually much better than working harder … but working smarter AND a little harder wins the bigger prize.