Whack a Mole Leadership



As a leader you must know the difference between correction and punishment. When people make mistakes (which they will almost daily) you have a choice to make. You can skillfully correct them or you can pull out your big mallet and whack them over the head punishing them for making the mistake. If you chose the latter, they will quickly learn that any mistakes are bad and they will focus all of their energy on never making another one. Congratulations! You have minimized mistakes! But you have also stifled creativity and ambition.

This person who just got whacked over the head may have taken a big risk to do something different and unorthodox by thinking out of the box. It could have been something that if paid off could have made you more successful by leaps and bounds. So how did they get compensated for it? That’s right, WHACK! Think they’ll ever make that mistake again? Not likely.

As a director of success, you must correct and guide them to make good and wise decisions without crushing their spirit. Because once it’s gone, it’s hard to get the motivation back. Work is not like school. In school you are punished by not answering test questions exactly like the teacher expects even though your answer can be right done a different way. All school’s tests want is for you to regurgitate the information you’ve been given back to them in the same form. Anything different results in a big red “X”.

Good leadership requires you to get the right answers in the most efficient way possible.

Punishment should be reserved for unethical behavior but correct your people skillfully as the need arises.






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7 thoughts on “Whack a Mole Leadership

  1. Rajiv says:

    I like what you say, and agree. Now, for a question, since you mention school. How much of our childhood patterns, with respect to correction and punishment do you think we bring into our leadership roles?

    • You know I think it really depends on the person. Everyone is shaped by what they see and experience…… but everyone has a choice. A choice to see things through the eyes of how you grew up and what your originally perceived to be correct or a choice to see things differently. It’s a choice to shape your perception. A choice to expand your context so you can hold new content.

      GREAT QUESTION. What do you think?

  2. […] Holden wrote about “Whack a Mole Leadership.” Do you feel that this inevitably happens to you at times in your leadership […]

  3. This is well said. Image seen leaders limit their surbodinates and ultimately themselves for doing this.

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