Five Pennies and the Optimum Leadership Site Visit

“Pressure turns coal into diamonds”

“True leaders should seek criticism”

In a perfect world, humans would know how to motivate and strengthen each other to build each other’s strength and productivity. This world that we live in is far from perfect… so how can you make it better as a leader?

Here are some easy facts to get you going:

  1. Highest performing leaders use a perfect compliment to criticism ratio. According to a study by Emily Heaphy and Marcial Losada, the highest performing leaders and teams averaged a 5.6 ratio of compliment to criticism. Contrary to popular belief, the “leadership sandwich” of compliment, criticism, and then compliment does not produce high performing teams.
  2. Contrary to popular belief, all levels of an organization do not receive criticism the same. The higher level a person performs at the less criticism they need to improve, the lower the level they perform at the more they respond to criticism over praise.

Five Pennies and the Optimum Leadership site visit

Step 1 – Plan the visit

The day before you visit, send an email letting the unit know you are going to be stopping by to say “hi”. Most likely the team will be used to more criticism than they can handle and will be concerned you are visiting. Put them at ease the day before!

Step 2 – Look at the unit leadership’s performance

Study their metrics, dashboards, and other key performance indicators your organization has developed the day before. You need to know what their performance level is to choose the proper criticism to compliment ratio.

Step 3 – Pick a ratio

For teams and leaders in the top 80% choose a compliment ratio of 10 compliments to 1 criticism, this may mean a criticism every second visit. For all other teams use a compliment ratio of 5 compliments to 1 criticism.

Step 4 – Track your ratio with pennies

Most leader’s think they compliment way more than they actually do! Start your visit with the number of pennies you have chosen as your optimum compliments ratio and put them in your right pocket. Every time you make a positive statement move a penny to the left pocket. As you move the pennies from right to left pockets you get only one criticism per cycle! Hold to this! It is going to be hard but your team’s growth depends on it.

Step 5 – Sleep on all changes you want to recommend

Finally, resist the urge to suggest changes onsite unless they are minor and can be implemented in a few minutes. See the article HOW TO SOLVE YOUR TOUGHEST PROBLEMS TWICE AS FAST WHILE YOU SLEEP!

Follow these small steps and tomorrow’s leaders will improve faster and work harder, all while enjoying your visits!

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