Leaders set, raise and maintain standards. Let's be clear what that means. It's not the averages...It's not your best...Standards are the lowest form of behavior you will accept.
At the end of the day the lowest form of behavior you accept, is who they are as a leader. Think about that for a minute and let it sink in...Re-read it!
Focusing on setting and raising standards motivates leaders to spend their time working on their lowest performers . This means they have to invest their time in the people who they'll least want to spend it with. Until you decide your job as a leader is to improve the lowest performers you'll avoid them and spend too much time with the top performers. That's often what managers do, but leaders know and understand it's the bottom performers that drag the organization down so they invest their time in them.
Leaders are always teaching people to do what they don't want to do, to get what they want and it starts with you...If you do what you don't want to do, what you'd put at the bottom of your 'To Do List' first, then you'll get what you really want...Higher standards and improved performance.
Celebrate success and enjoy your top performers, but invest in those that can improve the most.
Raising the standard will raise the performance of your middle performers because they don't want to be too close to the bottom. This in turn will drive the top performers as they will rise to the occasion and maintain their position at the top while setting new highs.
Setting and raising standards increases everyone's pride in their position and organization. Most people may not be motivated to be extraordinary, but no one wants to be average...Maintaining high standards will improve everyone self-image, personal pride in their organization and motivation to not accept average behavior.
Setting and raising standards is where the hard edge of leadership comes in. No compromise is acceptable or it isn't a standard, just a suggestion.
Standards are met or there are consequences...The first consequence is more attention, coaching and teaching. The last consequence is replacing people to maintain the standard. Invest your time in the bottom performers , raise the standards, help people change to meet them...or change your people.