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Monica Wofford, CSP, is a leadership development expert and author of Contagious Leadership and newly released, Make Difficult People Disappear.

Are you yelling at “cold molasses” expecting it to heat up and move on its own, or are you helping to light their fire?

First of all teaching molasses ANYTHING is a bit like having Eeyore try out for cheerleader…not a good use of your efforts! But, do you spend similar efforts getting a thinker to think faster or a wonderfully people oriented top seller to be more organized? What if you just let them be themselves and gave them the support they needed instead? That’s not always possible in an environment when most are doing the job of two or three people, versus the one they used to do, but here’s some clear thoughts to consider if the speed of that “molasses” still frustrates you.

Consider Lance Armstrong

No matter your thoughts of his recent news appearances, I’m told Lance Armstrong has a larger lung capacity and heart muscle than the average person. That means no matter how much someone practices cycling, or how many additives they use to supplement their efforts, they STILL won’t attain the same success. If your sales person is a natural at selling, why do you continue to think that more practice on organizational skills or time management will make them better at these things? We get requests often for helping sales people to be better organized when the real training need is to help leaders be more accepting. If these folks are selling the socks off your products, then hire organized admins to help them. The truth is you can be frustrated that they can’t cycle as fast as you’d like or you can cheer them on in what they do well and accept the fact that cycling is not their thing and save your money on trying to “fix them”, spending it instead of building on what they do well and getting them the support they need.

Consider What You Consider

Now that’s vague, but go with me for a minute. I watched a show recently in which a mother was terribly frustrated at her special needs child because she couldn’t do what other kids could do and she didn’t have the time, working two jobs, to devote to her special care. What I’m NOT saying is that employees are like special needs children, just to be clear. What I am saying is there are days when leaders likely feel this way. Working on two tasks or six or more at times and not having the time to help their “difficult” person or under performer learn how to be better and getting frustrated at them for being who they are. Yes, some are just lazy and some simply don’t want to do their job well. However, in many cases, it is the leader who doesn’t want to, or feels they can’t, take the time to get involved or help or is feeling guilty because they don’t. This is when you outsource the need to a trusted colleague or vendor or supplier of the expertise that you may not be able to provide. Your title of leader does not mean you have to do it all. Instead it means you’ve reached a place where you know what you do well and where you need help.

If you’re still fussing at the “cold molasses” because it’s moving too slow, ignoring it doesn’t make it go faster. Berating it doesn’t make it move or react well. Assigning it the low end projects doesn’t do it either. Find a way to get “it” (them) the help it (they) needs or something to light a fire under it and release the frustration of complaining about what they do or don’t do. Maybe it’s simply a matter of accepting their more non-traditional approach or the reality that you have the wrong person in the wrong job or the focus for the moment on the people instead of all those tasks. Ask yourself, could you get even more done if you stopped for a moment to help the team get better?

I’m Monica Wofford, and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great Monday, an even better week and of course, stay contagious!

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