I'm elitist. I mean that I hold quite high standards when judging things and people.
An Uber ride on time, or an Amazon product that does what it says on the tin? That's worth 3 stars.1 4 is when I'm pleasantly surprised. 5 is only for the very rare cases it goes above and beyond my expectations.
I consider “under par” as simply not good enough. I'd say that I start to properly value people2 when they perform more than one standard deviation above average.
That sounds cocky, I know — it probably is. But don't get me wrong, I hold the same standards for me too and even if I don't think my track record is too bad, I know I fall short to be good in many categories.
I am aware that my mindset can be detrimental to my co-workers.
I don't think I'm a particularly bad team lead, though: on a daily basis, I think I'm warm and friendly, not stingy with compliments3, I use non-violent communication, respect everyone as a person, and I believe that I'm affable, always ready to give a hand and help people to grow.
But on a daily basis, I'm afraid I don't particularly value their contribution enough: if they do what they've been assigned to do, it's not positive nor negative — to me, it's just the bare minimum I expect from them. This can lead me to be internally a bit snobbish about them, if they don't go beyond my expectations (even if their work is ok).4 Yet, because I don't want to be too harsh, I tend to not say anything too negative and be externally accommodating — especially as I've only been granted management responsibilities recently and are still figuring out my way around it.
Even if I don't verbalize it, it would yet be absurd for me to consider it cannot be perceived at all.
So while I believe that being demanding is not a bad thing per se, I am aware that my behaviour can be detrimental to my co-workers.
My question are then:
- how to prevent my current mindset to be detrimental to my team members? (And co-workers in general?)
- how to better value their contribution and have a higher opinion of them?
1. As pointed out in the comments, this is how I feel, not how I behave. It's also a bit exaggerated for the sake of clarity: Of course, I “play by the rule” and rate them 5 stars if there is nothing wrong with the ride — especially as I am aware it's critical for drivers and I have no intention to cause them harm. It's just that have always considered/been told (mostly due to the education system I grew in) that average/just-good-enough/pass work should be graded 50%.
2. This is also strong worded here: I don't mean “value people” as a person (I'm convinced everyone deserve respect no matter what), but mean “the work they produce”. I am also aware that: a/ this approach is problematic as, by definition, not everyone can perform above par; b/ all people have strengths and weaknesses, so not being exceptional at one thing doesn't diminishes your value as a human being; c/ because of environment, the same effort might not yield the same result in different people.
3. The issue might be that I can compliment an effort, while thinking their work is not up to (my) standard.
4. Examples of things I find personally difficult: listing their strength on an annual report; being satisfied by their work if they don't do as much as I would personally do working full steam over the same period (even if I'm aware that: a/ they're more junior than I am, so cannot be expected to produce as much, b/ working full-steam is not sustainable, one also need down time, c/ I regularly fall short of my own expectations myself.).