Giving Your Staff Room To Grow

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. 

Redwood Trees can reach up to 300 feet.

       To help me better pay homage to the potential we all have to grow, I remind myself of the awesome potential for growth in Mother Nature.  Maybe these facts will grow on you too.

      I keep these facts on an index card in my desk drawer. Every now and then I run across the index card –like I did last week.

      Imagine a Redwood tree growing to 300 feet high–from a seed just a sixteenth of an inch long?

      Imagine a kangaroo growing to 72 inches from a birth height of only one inch?  At that rate a 20-inch boy at birth would grow to be a 120-foot-tall man.

      Imagine the growth of human being in the womb? The baby increases 240 times in length and over one million times in weight before birth. If a child continued to grow at this rate, he or she would be 18 feet 4 inches tall at the age of 10.

     Imagine the potential in each member of your staff to grow in their jobs?   Give them plenty of room to prove themselves on their own Personal Proving Ground.

     And get out of the way– just as you did when you helped your son or daughter first learn to ride a bicycle. Let go and let them grow. And let them fall and get back up  again and again.

      After all, skinned knees heal better than bruised egos.

Today’s ImproveMINT

Help your staff take the training wheels off  to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

You might also like these previous Leadership Mints  on Productivity:

Sole-Searching for Optimum Success

Crossing your Finish Line in Style

Let your Competition Work for You

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