The other day, I watched a father helping his kid learn riding a bicycle. The father would hold the bike from behind and the kid would try cycling. This went on for an hour or so and with every passing minute, the father’s words of motivation increased in decibel and transformed into orders.
Did the kid cycle on independently? No.
Why, you may ask.
Throughout our lives, we undertake various tasks, we learn and we improve upon what we already know. The first step is always determined by many factors but the two most important factors are Desire and Fear.
The desire to learn how to achieve a certain level of proficiency with respect to a task.
The fear of failure and that of being unaccepted by the powers that be if the task deviates from what is expected of you.
The greatest challenge that a manager faces in mentoring their team and in getting the best out of them is not to identify the desire to succeed that the individual team members have, the challenge is to address their individual fears that have formed a villa of sorts in their psyche and affect their thought process.
How to address the fears of your team members?
The fear of failure and not being accepted go almost hand-in-hand. If a person is afraid of failure, they will seldom try to take a path other than the one taken by all. Radical thinkers and creative gurus have dared to take a new path and have become what they are today, after failures. They were never afraid of failures; they failed and learnt.
In today’s performance related corporate scenario, a failure in executing a task taking a different path is frowned upon and the person in concern (the thinker) is castigated.
It is the modern manager’s responsibility to instill in the team members faith that assures them to take steps which are risky but can be beneficial for the organisation if successful.
The days of old school management are numbered and a number of Government departments are also encouraging their employees to think out of the box.
Regular interactive sessions, motivational discussions and team-building exercises with a creative outlook should be a part of the regular work environment, breeding camaraderie among the team mates and transforming the concrete wall between the manager and the team members to a translucent, non-sound proof one.
What must a manager do to tap the desire to succeed?
The manager is not, well, just a manager. They are mentors and the go-to people whom the team members can bank upon. It is often seen that a person who has been a team member for long, becomes a manager, and starts dictating terms to the team members like a modern day Hitler. They are answerable to their managers, aren’t they?
Yes, they are. Results are not necessarily extracted by force; they can be sought by being a pillar of strength.
It is upon the manager to identify and groom the individual team members according to their respective goals and desires to succeed. The manager might have constraints which would not allow them to support the team member beyond a certain point but sadly, most managers do not guide their team members even to that point of achievement.
It is an ever-changing landscape that corporate India is functioning in and adaptation with growth is the key to the next level of success. It is time to set the old school practices to rest; we have given them their due respect and importance. It is time to change.