Most thoughtful men, I think will agree about the importance of high standards. They why are sloppy standards such a chronic problem in so many business toda? One vital reason is that there is not enough of an attitude that might be described as “tough-mindedness.”. Not enough managers know that what it is and how to practice it. As a result, they don’t get high standards accepted in their organization even though they might like to get them.
The human side of management- concerning oneself with the development of people, teamwork, and personal effectiveness is to be emphasized. This approach does not necessarily mean being nice to people. It does not mean that you try to make life easy and pleasant (although that may occasionally be a by-product of your efforts). You must never lose sight of the importance of using your head, being objective, doing what you think is right, and seeking results. You must do what you can not only to make your company a better place in which to work and better neighbor in the community, but also a better company to sell, to, a better company to buy from, and a better company to invest in.
Tough mindedness means keeping your subordinates on their toes with hard questions. You don’t ask them what they want to be asked, you ask them what needs to be asked for sake of progress in your department and for the sake of individual improvement. As an illustration, take the need for a broader view point. Too many think of their own specialized problems rather than the Department’s or the company’s. Here is where your question can have a real effect. If a man knows before he goes into the boss’s office with a problem that he is going to be asked what he would do if he ran the department or owned the business, he will spend much more time thinking about it before hand. If he does not have an answer the first time he comes in, he is pretty sure to think more deeply into the next problem before he brings it up with his boss. It is embarrassing to be asked what he would do and not have a reasonable solution to suggest. It is a good idea to be ready with some mind-stretching questions as well as the usual enquiries about operations.