There have been books written describing certain “Laws of Business”, “Laws of Success”, and “Non-Negotiable Laws of the Universe”. I love to read about them all. Many of these laws are actually some fairly thoughtful and intuitive pieces of advice that make for a great personal or professional pathway for success.

I recently came across one that really made me think. It is called “the Law of Limited Performance”. This law says that people will figure out the level of performance that their manager will settle for and soon will find that level and just stay there. In other words, people figure out what they can get away with and will then progress no further.

This is really a common leadership dilemma of many managers, entrepreneurs and business owners. A team is only as good as the expectations that they are being held against. If, as an owner or manager, you do not have high expectations of your team, and these expectations are not clearly conveyed or understood, then it is not the teams’ fault if they don’t perform in ways that you want or expect. Just because you communicated your expectations to your team does not mean that you communicated with them. You might have told them what you wanted but the question is, did they understand what you want. We know that people learn in many different ways. So, you need to truly understand how every one of your team members learn and retain, and then communicate to them in the appropriate manner. For instance, some you can just tell, and they get it. Others need to be told and then followed up with written reminders or instructions. Simply put, if your team is not fully aware of your expectations, or for that matter your mission or vision or goals, then you are in trouble. So, when the end of the month or year rolls around and expectations are not met, then you as an owner or manager has no one to blame except yourself. It is your obligation to show and tell your people exactly what good looks like and then hold them accountable for those objectives.

The same law applies to individual success. Many people settle for less than they’re capable because that extra mile is really hard work and absolutely loaded with challenges. If you want more in life but are willing to settle for less, that’s your business, but just understand that you are settling for less and then just shut up. Stop yammering on about how the world owes you more. It doesn’t! Never has and never will.

The key to leadership and long term personal and professional success is to always hold yourself and your team to high expectations. Stretch out and challenge yourself and see what you’re really capable of. Sweat a little. Test yourself. Really push yourself with the expectation that at some point you’ll look in a mirror and say, “Wow, I didn’t know I could do that!”

It just might surprise you what you’re capable of.

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