When Development Works and When to Let them Go
Sincere leaders stress over developing people. But people are responsible for their own development. You provide development opportunities and encouragement.
Level of experience and competence determines your level of involvement. Coaches approach professional athletes differently than T-Ball coaches approach little kids. Incompetence requires more instruction. When little kids join T-Ball, coaches tell them where to stand in the batter’s box and how to hold the bat. Do the same thing with people on your team.
Low-aspiration people drive high-aspiration leaders nuts. Ask yourself, “Do they want to grow?” before you stress over team members who aren’t growing. Maybe they’re happy where they are. When people don’t want to develop ask, “Are they meeting expectations?” If they’re doing a good job, relax.
Timing and development:
It’s frustrating when you want to say it once and have them get it. What’s easy for you is often hard for others. How much time should you allow for people to develop skills?
#1. Do they aspire to improve?
Ask, “On a scale of 1:10, how important is your development in this area to you?”
#2. Do you have time for them to develop?
Intervene quickly and frequently when time is short but take the long-view when possible. The long-view says, “Development now pays off later.”
#3. Is their rate of progress acceptable?
They might aspire to develop new skills, but progress is going slowly. Set deadlines for development. Make a list of key skills that need to improve. Set a deadline for achievement. Provide resources and encouragement. Evaluate when deadlines arrive.
Big hearted leaders tend to wait too long and stress too much over poor performers. Kindness makes you beautiful. Enabling incompetence in others is destructive.
How do you determine when to invest in people or when to let them go?
5 Answers for Resistance to Development
A Free 10-Minute Plan to Include Leadership Development in Team Meetings
Strategies for Learning New Skills
Truer words were never said that low-aspiration people drive high-aspiration people crazy and that kind leaders tend to spend too much time developing people that are content where they are – I wish I had read this post a long time ago! I have a build on your quote that stretch goals enable development and achievable goals enable mastery. Creativity guru Dr. Keith Sawyer speaks to the importance of mastery to creativity in his book Zig Zag. Sawyer explains that stretch goals are an important element in the learning journey to achieve mastery. I think the difference between development and mastery is the time scale not the type of goal. Mastery comes towards the end of the development journey focused on a subject. My two cents,
Thanks Fulcrum. Sometimes we want people to develop more than they do. It took me a long time to realize it’s not good to expend tons of energy and time on them. Heck, they’re happy.
Thanks also for your thoughts on stretch goals.
Both yesterday and today’ s article have really resonated with me! Thank you for this wisdom, it is appreciated. “Kindness makes you beautiful. Enabling incompetence in others is destructive.” What a POWERFUL statement and holds so much truth!
Thanks Rosanne. Glad you spotted the kindness idea. Let’s face it the dark emotions tend to steal our beauty. Think of bitterness or persistent anger, for example.
Honesty without compassion is cruelty.
Clear and concise. Thanks Mike.
Glad to be useful.
Leaders have afine line between kindness and patience which can work both ways to one’s advantage unless one aspires to not partner and grow. Such cases require the push to become the shove. Dad would say ” straighten up and fly right”! It worked.
If you add stretch goals, clear time for them to be worked on. That’s part of “Provide resources and encouragement” under the third point. You may have to coach the person repeatedly to set other things aside enough to work on the stretch goal.
If this isn’t done, the situation can be similar to that between Pharaoh and the Israelites: “You will no longer be given straw. Gather your own straw, and do not decrease your quota of bricks.” A stretch goal, indeed!