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The High Challenge, High Support Approach to Leading People

The high-challenge, high-support approach has emerged as a powerful strategy in leadership. This approach, often likened to a balancing act, involves pushing team members beyond their comfort zones (high challenge) while providing them with the necessary resources and emotional backing (high support) to meet these challenges.

The High Challenge Component

High-challenge leadership involves setting ambitious goals for your team and encouraging individuals to stretch their capabilities and strive for excellence. However, it’s crucial to ensure that these challenges are realistic and achievable to prevent overwhelming team members.

The High Support Component

High-support leadership is about fostering an environment where team members feel valued and understood. This involves active listening, empathy, and providing resources and guidance. It’s about creating a psychological safety net, so team members feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes.

The Balance

Striking the right balance between high challenge and high support is key. Too much challenge without support can lead to stress and burnout, and too much support without challenge can lead to the “comfy club” of complacency. Effective leaders can gauge their team’s capacity and provide the right mix of challenge and support.

Benefits of the High Challenge, High Support Approach

This approach can increase productivity, improve creative problem-solving skills, and motivate a more engaged and motivated team. It fosters a culture of continuous learning and growth, where team members are empowered to take on challenges and contribute their best work.

Key Takeaway

The high-challenge, high-support approach to leadership is not about aggressively pushing people to their limits or ruining them with sympathy. It’s about inspiring individuals to reach their full potential and providing them with the tools and support to do so. Our role as leaders is guiding, supporting, and challenging our teams equally, creating an environment where everyone can thrive.



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