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Push and Pull

Photo by Performia

I heard the frustration in his voice. “I keep driving & pushing the team to move ahead, telling everybody what to do”. It’s like he was doing all the heavy lifting. “Why isn’t the project done? You said it would be complete by now?”

I reflected to my client that his approach felt like HE was pushing his team towards their goals and the finish line (which is responsible) AND it sounded heavy, with a lot of hard work, convincing and force. He agreed and said “It’s like pushing a boulder up a hill, with lots of telling. It’s overwhelming, exhausting and you can’t keep up with the amount of pushing you have to do. It feels like forcing what you want to make happen and people justifying as to why it’s not done.”

I would imagine not much gets done without the leader micromanaging and holding people to account if they only use the PUSH approach.

Although pushing is needed at times, it was not giving them the results they wanted. It was not sustainable, and it came with high costs. Then I asked, “If you didn’t have to push & you could pull your team to results, what would that look like?”

I could see the wheels turning in his head as he paused and shared “Continuously painting the picture of our shared vision and mission, re-enrolling them into our future and helping them see what’s in it for them and the importance of the vision.” His energy began to shift as we came up with a few things he could do to inspire and motivate (PULL) his team to create the goals and results that they had set out to achieve:

  • Be an example of what you want others to do and be

  • Enthusiastically share why the goals are important

  • Create goals and actions together and even better, let them create their action plans

  • Check in to see how the project is coming along, ask what support they need and come up with solutions together

  • Pause to celebrate the small wins in between and acknowledge people for what they have done

  • Share what is working versus what is not

What would you do differently if you practiced more pull vs push in your leadership approach?

Photo by Performia

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