Let's Do it Again
One of my favorite things to do is to go to the beach with my kids.
One of their favorite things to do is to run into the surf and get smashed in the face by the waves.
Now my kids are young at 5 and 7 and while they have taken swimming lessons they are not Michael Phelps, but I let them get thrown around by the waves because 1) that’s how they will learn and 2) they love it.
It’s true that sometimes this can get scary. I have to pay very close attention and stand with them just in case they get into trouble. Thankfully I was a lifeguard for years and know what to look for but as a parent I still find it tough to watch some of the punishment they seem to take (after which they usually jump up laughing).
But in this way they not only learn, they want to do it again. The excitement of it drives them to try new moves.
And to bring this back to management, can’t we just treat our people with the same attitude? Let them get out on the edge. Let them get into uncomfortable situations and celebrate when they win and pick them up when they lose.
Certainly we don’t want to risk clients but does this even have to happen? If we manage more like a lifeguard closely monitoring what’s going on then we know when they are getting in trouble and can pull them out.
To get the most out of our people we must challenge them and let them challenge themselves. They have to go to the edge and try. It is only then, like my kids, that they will jump up after getting smashed in the face by the waves and say “that was fun, let’s do it again”