Teach A Man To Fish

Zig Ziglar once said “The greatest good we can do for others is not just to share our riches with them, but to reveal theirs.”

I love Zig Ziglar for saying this (and I realize he’s not the only one who’s quoted in this statement).  It summarizes so much of what I believe about helping others to realize their potential.

I have seen people in the workplace that refuse to assign work to someone giving various excuses for why that person isn’t well suited (or experienced) at a given task.  Sadly, that way of thinking does nothing to better our peers and help them realize their own potential.  I prefer to give a willing person opportunities to develop their skills and find new ways to flourish.  Granted, this can be a frustrating experience, and you and your pupil have to accept the possibility of failure.

BUT, failure is not the end of the journey.  We need failure.  Let that sink in for  moment…….  We.  Need.  Failure.  Failure is a part of the learning process.  We learn from failure as much as we do from success.  If not allowed to stretch ourselves and even fail, we don’t grow.  This is the most difficult part of teaching the man to fish in the first place, especially in a work environment.  True, you may be able to do it correctly and faster, but  that limits my resources to you, and that doesn’t develop my team in the way I want it to develop.

Be patient with eager learners.  These are the people who will appreciate the information you have to share with them, and they will become your most loyal and committed team members.  Take the time necessary to allow them to learn, fail, dust themselves off, and get right back on the horse.  If your team members feels supported and safe enough to fail, they are empowered to produce incredible results.

Let me be clear.  You’re not encouraging your team members to fail.  You just continue to support them when they do.  While being patient, you want to demand excellence.  You want to set their expectations for excellence.  You want to set an example of excellence.  You want to reward excellence.

In the end, when you are successful at teaching them to fish, they get to train new fishermen, and you get to do other things.  The investment brings commensurate rewards.  Make sure your team members are stretching.  Make sure they’re challenged.  Make sure they’re growing.  Make sure they’re teaching newer associates how to fish and catch.

Whom have you held back by not encouraging them to grow?  Whose potential have you discounted, robbing them of opportunity and you of maturing team members? Answer these questions, and change it today! Tomorrow begins today.


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