As a kid it is not unusual to desperately want to do something your way while your parents would have had a certain established way of doing things .
This reminds me of the annual housecleaning project before the Durga Pujas which was always spearheaded by my mother. As a kid, initially I was the end user but with time, graduated to an intern in the project. As a teenager, I was a part of the developing team. Planning, designing and testing was still my mother’s area of expertise but, by then, I was contributing to the project considerably.
As I started gaining expertise in the domain, I found my own ways of doing things, my own style. However, approval is important. So, I reached out to her with multiple suggestions about how we can be more efficient, but my ideas were rejected every time by my Project Head, in this case my Mom.
This was frustrating for both of us. I wouldn’t stop trying and she wouldn’t stop rejecting. In the end a lot of times, she would spend hours redoing what I had done. She would complain about how she was unable to find time for herself because she has to oversee everything and this utterly confused me. I always asked “Why wouldn’t you allow me to decide?”
It is not uncommon among leaders to undergo this sort of a situation everyday. I keep telling my mother ‘Had you allowed me to take decisions then, your life would have been simpler and I would have learnt faster’
Decision making ability is one of the core skills of a leader and it doesn’t come with designation or tenure in an organization or certification; it comes with making decisions. It is not about the choice but also learning to live with that choice – sweet, sour, hot or bitter whatever it may taste like.
My mother constantly struggled to find time for herself and pursue her passion in reading and recitation because she was always busy monitoring us. Today she confesses that she feared that we might fail, she feared that it might not get done on time, she feared that the standards may not be met but upon probing her more I found that her biggest fear was adapting to a newer way of working, not realizing it could be a better way. A way that would have helped her evolve faster and earlier.
The way I see it, the biggest challenge out here is the transition of power. Learning to let go involves growth of two individuals. For one it is– Learning to Lead while for the other it is about – Leading Leaders
So, what makes it so difficult for existing leaders to enable this transition?
- Are they being over protective?
- Are they scared of losing credibility?
- Are they insecure about their own value add?
- Are they uncomfortable about the change it might bring along?
What do you think? What bothers them the most? Has it ever bothered you?
Author: Sumitra Paul Chatterjee
I Train Consultants India Pvt. Ltd.
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