I have often been asked as to why people do not grow up in spite of age. It is true for some of us and the reasons could be many. Let us first reflect in our personal lives. We are born, grow as kids and then mature as adults. We study, work, then get married and settle in life too. But, do we always behave like grown ups. May be not. We may justify our behaviour in the context in which it happens. For eg., when your child has to make a career choice, you impose your views on them. If you are an engineer, you tend to believe that there cannot be a better career choice more attractive than engineering for them. This means that if your child chooses anything other than engineering as a career, it may not be valued by you as a good decision. So, we tend to wane away the interests and passion of our own kids by imposing our views on them even in choosing their career.
Now, if we move to the work place, we find that people start a career as an individual contributor. We work hard and exceed the expectations of our job. We are promoted as team leaders and are expected to lead the team. What do we end up doing ? We end up looking at what each individual is doing and how he is doing. We do not invest our time in creating an environment for everyone to excel in whatever is expected of them ? Why do we do that ? We do it because we feel that nobody on earth can do a better job than us as individual contributors and hence it is our right to review everyone’s performance and also tell them the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of doing their job.
Then, we move to the next level, when we become leader of team leaders. Do we give up the job of the individual contributor. We don’t because we still do not trust our team leaders, who have enough experience and capabilities to lead their teams. We will get into micro details and also resolve intra team conflicts if needed.
Why does all the above happen ? This is what I would term as the “hang over effect”. We cannot give up something of the past, which we think we still are the master of. This happens because we are not willing to “let go” of something which we did well in the past and do not have the magnanimity of trusting our successors. It is time to reflect on this issue. Why not we give it a try ? Let us trust our children to take care of themselves ? May be they have grown up and know what is best for their careers !. Similarly, let us empower our teams and focus only on creating a conducive work environment. You may draw the value boundaries, which your team members should not cross. But kindly give them the freedom to innovate and excel in whatever they do and see the magic. You may be surprised that they may exceed your own expectations. I have experienced that my team members have always excelled when I have least interfered.
If I get back to our personal lives, we may have become grand parents but we still would like to force our views on the choice of life partners for our grand kids even though they are grown up adults today. This is what we need to reflect on. Can we let them decide what they want to do in their lives and we contribute only when we are invited to do so ? As Manu niti says, give advice to an adult, only when asked for.
So, it is time to look within us. “Let go” has to be the mantra at home and at work.
S Ramesh Shankar