Thoughts on Life & Leadership

A Junto Strategy Project

Give the gift of Struggle

One of the most damaging behaviors a leader can demonstrate is to provide solutions too quickly. Some times this looks like a manager trying to “save” an employee that is struggling because that employee’s failure may make the manager look bad. It could be a parent that hovers too closely to a child to keep deflect or protect the child from the consequences of a poor choice. It could also take the form of being the “sage on the stage” where you as a manager can see the solution quickly and jump in and provide your solution to save time.

Hatching EggNature, in the form of birds hatching, provides a powerful lesson in leadership and a poignant example of what happens when a solution is provided too quickly.

Prior to hatching, the mother bird (leader) provides watchful care and a safe environment as the young bird (the follower) does some initial development. However, when bird begins to hatch, the mother bird steps back does nothing to help them. The struggle and wrestle of breaking out of the shell is something that the young bird must do alone. The mother bird knows that if she were to step in and crack the egg for the youngling, it would mean either death or life-long disability. Why? Because that process of breaking out of the egg is the very process by which the youngling develops the strength needed to survive.

Likewise, when a leader recognizes that “hatching” is beginning for one of his or her followers, the ability to step back and allow the follower to struggle with a problem and come up with the solution on their own enables the follower to develop strength needed to not only survive but to thrive.


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This entry was posted on June 5, 2014 by in Leadership, Personal Reflections and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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