The Danger of Rewarding Mediocrity

If you’re a leader who rewards mediocrity then don’t be surprised when your people produce mediocre results.

When you reward mediocrity, or even just tolerate it, you not only stymie the growth of the mediocre individual, you hinder the growth of others in your organization who are aware of it. 

Mediocrity is a threat to success; it may be driven by political correctness, some misguided HR policy or just a lack of awareness but whatever the reason, it undercuts your top performers’ efforts. 

Fear of confrontation is one of the major reasons for tolerating mediocrity. 

If you’re a leader without the courage to confront under-performers you should know that ignoring mediocrity is killing the morale and excellence of your top performers. It kills morale because what you call ignoring your top performers call rewarding. The hard truth is that you’re not helping anything or anyone by avoiding the reality of mediocrity.

You may think that you don’t “reward” mediocre people but for the truly unmotivated, mediocre person no tangible reward is required; simply being allowed to remain mediocre is reward enough. Unchallenged, they can remain mediocre for their entire career. I’ve never seen an organization reach it’s true potential when staffed with even a few mediocre people.

You’re hurting your organization, your team, your staff or whoever it is you’re leading when you allow mediocrity to linger within their ranks. You unconsciously demotivate the motivated and lead them towards mediocrity as well.

Don’t suck the wind from the sails of success by allowing any member of your team to consistently under-perform. If you’re a leader who allows mediocrity to dawdle within your organization then it’s possible that you just might be mediocre yourself.   

The Coercion of Whispered Thoughts

Most people talk to themselves. Just little stuff like “I wonder what the temperature is” and “what should I have for lunch?” Everybody thinks to themselves. Thinking is good, mostly. Positive thoughts are better than negative thoughts, certainly for us but even at times for those around us. 

Negative thoughts can be very damaging to our morale and motivation. But kept to ourselves they mostly just affect us. 

But what happens when when we don’t just keep them to ourselves? What happens when we begin to share?

Negative thoughts are seldom widely broadcast, they are most commonly whispered. They are whispered in those quiet “hallway conversations” between you and a colleague. They are whispered behind someone’s back, not meant for them to ever hear even though they often eventually do.

Whispered thoughts are rarely positive or constructive which is why conversations containing whispered thoughts stop suddenly when a boss or talked about co-worker appears. That’s one of the most coercive things about whispered thoughts, we rarely share them with someone who can help us with them. We share them with the people we believe will agree with them. We share them with people who will buy into them and make them their own.

Our negative thoughts can slow us down and limit our potential but make no mistake, saying them out loud brings them to life, no matter how quietly they are spoken. Once they are spoken it’s impossible to unsay them. They are now more than thoughts, they are productivity and morale killers and they don’t just kill your morale, they can kill the morale of whoever you shared them with AND whoever they share them with. 

Whispered thoughts said even once can destroy in an instant a reputation that took years to build. They can cause a person to doubt themselves or their circumstances. Whispered thoughts can last a lifetime no matter how hard we try to shout them down.

It’s odd but the words we whisper in confidence carry so much more weight than the words we share in public. People tend to believe a whisper more than words said out loud for everyone to hear.

Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions determine the course of your life. The course of your life determines your legacy. That’s big stuff and it gets even bigger when you whisper your negative thoughts to others and begin affecting their thoughts and actions. 

Make certain your whispered thoughts add value. Make certain they build and don’t destroy. Make certain your whispered thoughts cause a smile and not a look of concern. Your whispered thoughts are contagious, be sure what you’re infecting people with is good for them, and good for you.

Remember, if it’s not fit for everyone to hear then maybe, just maybe it’s not fit to be said at all.