Leadership Means Letting Others Learn From Adversity

struggling

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny… – C.S. Lewis

It is our natural instinct to want to help others. We see someone struggling and our first reaction is to do what we can to resolve their issue. We empathize, internalize their struggle, and make it our own. This happens with our friends, family, spouses, kids, employees, co-workers and even strangers.

Normally, stepping up and inserting ourselves into a situation to help someone else is a welcomed action. A bit of hesitation maybe on the other person’s part that they may be troubling you, but in most cases the helping hand is a relief. The issue gets resolved together and everyone is happy.

A good thing…right? Not always.

When someone has an opportunity to learn from a difficult situation, you are hurting more than helping when you resolve the issue for them.

It’s a thin line that determines when you should jump in and stay out, but there are some steps you can take to help you stop and think before moving in with all your wisdom and resolution skills. I call it PADDing a situation:

  1. Pause: Giving it a moment, relaxing, and thinking about the situation is usually a good first move. Consider what this person can learn from the situation. If someone is trying to figure out an Excel function or how to craft a difficult email to a co-worker, allow them the chance to connect their own neurons and have the experience logged into their memory. If someone is trying to push their car off to the side of the road because they ran out of gas, the lessons probably been learned and giving them some assistance would be appropriate.
  2. Ask: This is what many people ask when they see someone faced with a challenge: “Do you need some help?” Wrong question. Here is the question you should be asking: “What are you working on?” This question 1) keeps you out of the situation, 2) helps you assess the other person’s level of frustration, and 3) let’s you know if you can even be helpful in the first place . It also gives them permission to inform you, dismiss you and/or ask you for help, which you still should not do until you…
  3. Discuss: Talk it through. Don’t solve it for them – guide them to the answer. Let them know what you did the last time you faced a similar situation (or what first step you would take). In the examples above, you might say “The last time I needed that, I found the answer using the Excel help function.” or “Whenever I have to write those kinds of emails, I usually ask myself two questions: ‘What am I trying to really say?’ and ‘What is the other person probably feeling?'” Once you have given pause, asked the right question, and given them a nudge (vs. a shove), then you have to…
  4. Determine: Now it’s time for you to ask yourself some questions. Is this out of this person’s abilities to accomplish? Is the answer too complex? Is the person completely off in the wrong direction in looking for an answer? Most importantly, ask yourself if the lesson learned is important. Be really critical of yourself as you ask these questions. By solving a problem for someone, you risk robbing them of an opportunity, making them feel incompetent or stupid, and possibly embarrassing them. Move in only if you feel like “the juice isn’t worth the squeeze” for the other person.

I say this a lot, but as a leader it’s your job to take ownership of a situation and do what’s best for the other person. Thinking the other person is going to get mad at you for not helping is not a reason to interfere. You have to give other person the chance to stretch their limits, to see that they are capable of doing more than even they believe they can. When they figure it out, give them praise and acknowledge their accomplishment. Most people will appreciate what you’ve done for them when you let them grow…even if they don’t express it. People can overcome most problems when are given the time and encouragement to have confidence in themselves.

Advertisements

About Brendan Witcher
Honest and practical career/business advice for dedicated individuals pursuing sustainable growth towards becoming successful entrepreneurs or business leaders.

Feel free to add your thoughts, wisdom & insights to the idea!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

LeadToday

Helping the Next Generation of Leaders Develop Themselves

How We Lead

Conversations on Leadership with Ken Blanchard

ashleyenicholson

maven of creative trades :: be the change you wish to see in the world. -ghandi

Leadership. Life. Legacy.

Thoughts on becoming your best, for your greatest possible impact

Brian Vickery - Social Media Sport Analogies

Social Media & Sports...who knew?

Blanchard LeaderChat

A Forum to Discuss Leadership and Management Issues

Chicago Brander

Commentary on the brands shaping the greatest city in the world.

AdminRenegade

My Motto = #KeepLearningKeepGrowing

valentine defrancis

using every crayon in the box

Leading with Trust

Trust is the essential ingredient for leadership success.

AB Reflections

living and leading in light of eternity

Linked 2 Leadership | The Leadership Collaboratory

Linked 2 Leadership Blog is designed to serve professionals interested in Leadership Development, Organizational Health, and Personal & Professional Growth. We provide a safe and fun place to Learn, Grow and Develop Other Leaders.™

shereallysaidit

Book Reviews and Author Interviews

Irene Becker | Just Coach It

Career and Life Success Strategies

Motivated for Success

Equipping aspiring leaders with success principles to help them reach their full potential.

POB: Positive Organizational Behavior

My purpose is to change your mind about the value of partnering with others to build healthy, responsible organizations where everyone can thrive

MHP Life Coaching

Successfully, deliberately and enthusiastically embrace life's opportunities!

Go to New Site. www.LeadWithGiants.com

"If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulder of giants" - Isaac Newton

A time to write

For me, writing has always been a passion and the words that fill these pages are just some of the things that run around my head on a daily basis.

ExcelMax Soluções

O ExcelMax Soluções apresenta dicas: criação de softwares , macros, funções, gráficos ... e muito mais !

Expert Solutions from your Trusted Advisor

Colin Turner, CEO Advisor and Mentor

Steve H. Mills

on Life, the Universe and...

Tax and Accounting Tips

Your Online Tax and Accounting Advisor.

TheWaterside

Dunedin - Community - Music - Photography

freespiritwoman

"Lily" My Runaway Camper

The Inside Out with Dr. Mary Canty Merrill

Accelerating your full potential!

Conversations with God Sifu Yoda - Master of Ki Force

Secret Recipe Using Five-Elemental Analysis

KnowledgeBishop

Data and Deep Thoughts

Openingnightatlast's Blog

Motivation, Inspiration, Sponsorships, Marketing

newprairiestore

All about vintage purses for the purse enthusiast!

marsonmaynor

Revolutionizing the Way People THINK!

Smita's Blog

Founder and Chief Test Consultant at QAZone. Part of the 3rd billion.

The Social HR Connection

by Ashley Lauren Perez

Blog of Stuart Allen FCMI

Founder & MD of The Sales Performance Company Ltd www.TheSalesPerformance.co.uk

Customer Service Power . . . Turn it On!

Melissa Kovacevic on Service, Coaching, Contact Centers

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

Creative Writing Tips and Authorial Support from Fantasy Writer Victoria Grefer

LeadStrategic

Challenging Leadership Thinking ... To Enable Strategic Improvement

On Purpose Magazine

Inspiring, Educational, Enlightening and Entertaining Content of Value

Political Musings-At the Sunset of My Life

Just another WordPress.com site

Good Management Is Not, LLC

Keynotes, Workshops, Job Skills Coaching, Home of the Six Second Résumé™

The Art of HR: Tim Vanderpyl

My thoughts on leadership, human resources and theology

Little things that Matter - Lalita Raman

Transitions, People, Leadership and Life

AnneThomas.net

"ALWAYS IN THE BLACK"

My Gray Stripes

Becoming whole through family life. Desserts help.