Praise Publicly, Challenge Privately

I've mentioned before: When it comes to my gift-mix, I tend to be a fairly good leader by nature, but not a good manager. I work well at 30,000 feet, but don't do as well keeping the plates spinning on the ground. But with very few exceptions, a degree of management is involved in all leadership. Even the most visionary CEO usually has to manage a COO who will keep the plates going for him. So, I've done a lot of research on management trying to shore up some of my weaknesses in that area.

One of the most obvious pieces of advice I've received in this area has also been one of the most helpful. I had a conversation with a really great manager not long ago who reiterated the importance of "praising publicly, challenging privately."

The most sure-fire way to lose a person's trust is to talk negatively about them in front of another person. It's true when you're managing businesses, and true when you're managing families. If you have something negative to say about someone, you owe them a conversation, but that conversation should be private. Using someones weakness as a "learning tool" for your team is a great way to make sure the only thing your team learns is that they can't fail in front of you. And if they can't fail in front of you, they can't risk in front of you.

The converse is also true. If you've got something nice to say about someone, make sure you say it to as many people as you can, because nothing motivates better performance like public recognition. Tell everyone that someone is a valued member of the team, and they'll go into battle and die for you as a leader.