Pareto Principle: When 80% Isn’t Good Enough

Posted February 27, 2013 in Latest News & Insights

Recently, I read a leadership tip of the day that said “Leadership is about being positive at least 80% of the time.”  Really?  That means I get a full day of being negative every week?  I don’t usually vehemently disagree with this type of motherhood stuff, this is one instance where the Pareto Principle just doesn’t apply.  Here’s why:

When you’re a leader, being positive 80% of the time simply isn’t good enough.  Now, I recognize that we’re all going to have days that are better than others and, frankly, it’s o.k. from time to time to be a bit down with your team… afterall, that’s called being human and empathizing with how tough things might be.  But don’t stay in that pity party pit for too long.  The job of a leader isn’t to play around in the mud with your team when times are crappy… it’s to pull your team out of the mud.

Positivity is one area where you really should be aiming for 99.9%.  And that can be hard… especially on days when you’re being hammered by your bosses for being behind on goals or when that challenging individual wreaks havoc (yet again) on your day.  The reality is this: leadership can be tough.  It’s not always fun and it’s not always easy.  However, the tone you set with your team is the culture you create.

At the end of the day, people will remember how you made them feel.  In my experience, even if you made them feel great 80% of the time they worked with you, they’ll actually remember the 20% that you didn’t do so well.  And that’s the sad fact.

Please aim higher than 80%.  But don’t try to go it alone… sounding boards, peer groups, coaches and other supports can give you the outlet you need to let off steam so that you can bring your best energy to your colleagues.

Happy leading!

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