When I wrote the article on Tough Love last week – about how sometimes we have to push our teams hard in order to get them to the next level.
One of the questions I was asked was; how do you know when you’re pushing too hard, or when you stop pushing?
This can be difficult to spot, but if your close enough to your team, if you know where they are in terms of performance, then you should be able to make that judgement call.
We need to know when our teams are just complaining about working too hard, and when they are at their limit, and we need to ease off.
Today I was doing my last long run before my next Marathon, which is in 3 weeks in Cologne.
When I run the Marathon, I will be running with 6 people who will all be running their first Marathon and as you can imagine this has been tough, each of them has had to push themselves outside of their comfort zones, and deal with pains and sprains that they have not encountered before.
The Marathon is a tough event, it needs a lot of preparation, it’s not something that you can just turn up and run. To be able to complete the 42km run, you need to have done practise runs of 25km, 30km and 35km otherwise you probably won’t be able to finish.
My first article on Tough Love related to my friend Dave who needed pushing, he needed to be pushed out of his comfort zone, I know he’s ready I have run with him many many times, he was just having doubts.
Today though, I was running with another friend, Mithun, I had been pushing Mithun and encouraging him to run further and further. He has made great improvements, increasing his distances from 5k to upto regular runs of 15k.
But with just 3 weeks to go, his longest run so far is 25km, so today he needed to complete a run of over 30km, ideally 35k.
As we ran it was clear that this wasn’t going to happen, there was no way he was going to be able to complete even 20km, let alone 30km, and with time rapidly running out his probability of completing this Marathon was reducing.
I know he has his heart set on completing the Marathon but he just hasn’t had the time to prepare, it was always going to be tight, he was very determined, but it’s not just not going to be this time.
Today I did push him hard though, not because I wanted him to complete the 30km run, but because I wanted him to know it was in his best interest to go for the Half Marathon this time. I wanted him to accept and understand his current state of preparedness.
This too is Tough Love, it’s hard to tell someone that they are not in a position to achieve their goal at the moment, and that they need to take a little bit more time.
As a Leader we need to put our teams in a position where they can be successful, and pushing Mithun to do a Marathon, doesn’t qualify for that. Even though he would accept more pushing.
Sometimes we need wisdom to overcome bravery, in order to prevent stupidity, and it would definitely be stupid of me to push him harder.
However, running the Half Marathon will put Mithun in a position to be successful and it will also be a great step forward in his goal of completing a Marathon in a couple of months.
If we are not close enough to our people its difficult for us to be able to understand when to push, push a little harder, or when we need to ease of and protect them.