My son was one of those crazy teenagers who wore shorts (and no winter coat) when it was clearly not shorts weather, even with a mother pleading for warmer attire.
As you know, the weather in Maryland can be quite fickle. It can be 50 degrees one day, and 25 degrees the next. One 50 degree morning, my son came downstairs ready to go to school in shorts. Knowing that colder weather was on its way and that temperatures were due to drop by mid-day, I pleaded with my son to wear something warmer, and was told that I was being silly and that he was fine.
What happened? The skies became ominous and the temperature dropped considerably. By the time school was dismissed and my son was due to walk home, it was downright yucky and 35 degrees. Clearly, not shorts weather.
I debated whether or not I should pick him up and drive him home. I really didn’t want him walking home wearing shorts and a light jacket in that weather. However, I decided against it. Guess what? My son wore long pants and a warm coat the next day.
Sometimes, no matter how many times we are told that something is a bad idea, the only way one learns is by trying it ourselves and failing. I know I could have forced my son to change for school that day. But what would he have learned?
Managing staff is no different. In order to develop a competent team, we need to let them move forward, make their own mistakes and learn. We can guide them and give advice, but once we do their jobs, or give them too much help, they won’t grow as professionals.
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