When leaders strive only for results — getting a new product to market in 10 months, for instance — they become directive. That can get things done, but it’s not the whole solution.

The best companies leverage top performance not with orders, but by creating the conditions where people want to do their best. This requires a mutual commitment between employee and employer. The employer must commit to the employee growing his or her capacity and prowess, and the employee must, in turn, commit to delivering the employer’s strategic goals.

Managers are often very good at communicating responsibilities to their people, and at evaluating performance in regular reviews. But the best companies do more than that. They also coach employees.

For those firms, it’s not just about evaluating performance, it’s about making sure each individual employee has a bigger future and understands how he or she fits into the whole organization, how what he or she is doing is important to everyone in the firm.

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