You’ve seen it before. A bright student gets away with minor misdemeanors. A driver with a clean track record gets away with the odd violation. A talented employee gets a longer rope.I call this the race-horse vs cart-horse syndrome.
Whether it is in a large family, your team at work or even in your neighborhood, it is not hard to spot this syndrome at work. Since not all people are created equal, there is always some race-horse that is counted on to deliver the goods under pressure.
You see, there are two types of horses. A race-horse is a rarer commodity and has to be nurtured carefully, in preparation for the big race where it has the potential to win the jackpot. The cart-horse on the other hand, is equally useful, but has to be treated differently. The cart-horse helps in doing the day-to-day work in a consistent manner, thereby bringing in the periodical revenue on time.
Players in a team are no different. There will always be the creative, standout, talented performer who the leader can count on, during extraordinary occasions. And then there will be the reliable, consistent performers who will soldier on, doing the day-to-day tasks to the best of their ability to deliver predictable results, on time.
The skilled, consistent performer is always required, especially where consistent results are demanded. Consistency is a major requirement for tasks related to production or delivery of service,. This is where you do not need a highly gifted, innovation prone experimenter to come and disrupt the consistency.
An effective leader internalizes the race-horse vs cart-horse concept. Recognizing this concept, differentiating the players into these two categories and then handling them accordingly, requires great skill. This skill sets apart the effective leader from others.
As a leader, you need to know your team. You need to distinguish between the race-horse and the cart-horse – and then treat them accordingly. Each has its own merits.
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