As JLD’s excellent podcast ‘Entrepreneurs on Fire’ is fond of reminding us “You are the average of the five people you spend most time with”. As father of two teenagers that would make 40% of me surly and overly dramatic. Not a bad guess JLD!
Managers give their team members objectives and responsibility because they want them to do something. Something, anything. But please don’t sit and do nothing. ‘Lemon squeezy’ if the wider business objectives are properly understood. In these halcyon cases intuition used by the team will invariably be right. Like, they know what to do!
Responsibility to act in the best interests of the company is a gift. For some team members, racked with doubt, this might be a gift so precious they are reticent to do anything at all. Because sometimes the culture of the business frowns upon off piste activity. So people play it safe. They batten down the hatches. They use 6 inch nails and a huge claw hammer to do it with.
Even in a benign supportive culture some personal characteristics can run scared of taking the initiative and making things happen. They just don’t feel comfortable.
What’s to be done? Well one answer could be to expand their contacts to include connections who specifically can build their confidence, inspire and reassure them. This also goes for over confident people who need tempering their actions and in danger of two-footedly piling up to their necks at the wrong time. To whom do your team members turn for reassurance?
Do they have a mentor and do you have a confidante? They should have both and, of course, some will. Everyone can benefit from these contacts in their network. A mentor can give you new ways of seeing things and the resolve to approach things differently. Whereas a close friend can let you unload and reboot and stop you setting your phasers to stun – or worse.
But acquiring them is not like making an eBay purchase from the collectibles section. Over time great things come from building the right relationships with people who are happy to help, and are perceptive enough to see the wider picture. These associations need to come from relationships that are reciprocal. They need to be developed and require nurturing to thrive.
So, go on grow a pair.