By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you more fully train your staff. Reading time: 2:57.
The five-year old girl and her dad enthusiastically browsed the bicycles in the shop. A red bike caught her eye. She climbed on the bike and looked up at her dad for permission to “ride it just down that street.” She pointed to an aisle in the crowded bicycle store flanked by sparkling two-wheelers of all colors and stripes.
The little girl wobbled a bit riding 25-30 feet in the bicycle store. Her dad caught her just in time as she fell. “I think we better get you some training wheels too,” the dad said. “No, no, I want to be like the big kids. I don’t want the training wheels.” The little girl’s face grimaced. She fought back a tear or two. “I want to be like the big kids,” she blurted through her sniffles.
They brought the bike home, training wheels and all. But within an hour, the youngster was riding the bike in front of her house. By herself. Without the training wheels.
“Dad, in the store, I was afraid of running into all those other bikes ” she explained her sudden confidence and poised performance, “but outside here I can do it. I can really ride.”
My daughter taught me a leadership lesson that day more than 20 years ago that I still struggle with at times: Give your staff room to grow and get out of their way.
Sometimes I forget to step back and look at the big picture, especially from my staff’s point of view. Sometimes I over-react when I see some of my staff “wobbling” through the workday. Sometimes, I’m too quick to slap on the “training wheels” when all they really needed was a broader proving ground where they could literally get up to speed. Read the rest of this entry »