I recently started following Julie Winkle Giulioni on Twitter. She co-authored a book that I thought sounded intriguing, even though when I first saw the title, I misread it. The real title of the book is:
Help Them Grow OR Watch Them Go
Reading quickly, here is how I read it the first time:
Help Them Grow AND Watch Them Go
The more I thought about it, the more I came to think that both versions were actually valid.
Julie’s point, and it’s a good one, is that “career development is the single most powerful tool managers have for driving retention, engagement, productivity and results, and that if you don’t help your employees grow, they are going to go elsewhere.” In other words, develop them or lose them.
Based on my first misread, my interpretation was a little different. I thought she was going to say that as a leader we have to help our employees grow and then get out of their way, allowing them to take the reins and carve their own paths. Kind of like winding up a top and letting it go.
After all, isn’t a leaders’ job to develop the next generation of great people, employees and leaders? If that’s true, at some point you have to let your employees take the guidance you have given them and let them run with it.
It might be scary to some, but your employees may just surpass your achievements. And that’s okay. In fact, that’s the point.
If we didn’t learn and progress and surpass the previous generations’ achievements, you might be experiencing this story as cave drawings rather than reading it on a computer.
The sad part is that I’ve known leaders (and you probably have, too) whose outlook was exactly the opposite of this. THEY were the ones with the power and information, and their employees were on a need-to-know basis – and for the most part they didn’t need to know.
Part of this comes from the leaders they learned from, but part of it also comes from the fear of not being needed or important. If you give up all of your information, then you aren’t as special anymore. If you aren’t as special, you aren’t as unique. If you aren’t as unique, there may not be a reason to keep you around. Again, people are afraid of not being needed.
But the good leaders I know don’t take their worth or satisfaction from the amount of knowledge THEY possess. Their satisfaction comes from seeing others succeed, knowing they were a part of that persons growth and development. It’s a longer journey, but they see that in fact they ARE needed because each person requires different communication, recognition and guidance, and that can only come from a skilled and caring leader.
So if you don’t want to see them go, AND you want to see them grow, give them the information and guidance they need and get out of the way. You just might be surprised what people can do when given the chance.
Thanks for reading!
About the author: Matt is proud to partner with Scot Carson of Amusement Advantage to provide detailed trend analysis data based on AA’s mystery shopping reports. Matt’s insights provide additional information about a facility that leaders can use to strengthen teams, improve communication and boost the bottom line!