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The performance pendulum

A common question that comes up when working with leaders is, “In what situations do I provide support to my team vs what situations do I challenge them?”. This is when we refer to the performance pendulum. Culture can work for you or against you in tough times, it all depends on how you approach each situation.

When you’re a leader, the pendulum often swings between support and challenge. Providing your employees and teammates with the motivation needed to manage underperformance is crucial, but you also must challenge the status quo to encourage innovation that can reshape your organisation for the better.

How can the performance pendulum affect your organisation’s culture?   

Culture is like a see-saw, always working for you or potentially against you,  it all depends on how you approach each situation. As a leader, it’s important to recognise instances when you should support your team and pull them up off the ground or when you need to push the team to new standards. And like the see-saw, it’s a constant challenge that requires a bit of trial and error to get right. 

Through support, you can face adversity, challenges, and low performance by providing a framework to learn through reflection. Challenging your team can build resilience and establish new standards that break down low barriers for high opportunities. 

When things aren’t going well for your team and you’re struggling with performance, there is an opportunity to reflect. It’s important to remember that pain + reflection = progress and in this case, you are not letting the team move forward without looking at what was done wrong. This can then guide them to learn from the mistakes and improve together and with reflection comes resilience.

When things are going well, it might be a time to look and challenge things to be better. Start with increasing performance in areas that may benefit from a small tune-up.

Questions to ask yourself

When taking the performance pendulum on board, there are a few questions you should be asking yourself as a leader: