January 18, 2018

We want you to step up (except when we don’t)

GatheringLeaders in businesses and organisations often say they want their people to step up and take more initiative.


Some, in the next breath, will say they want certain things done a certain way, and they’ll end up directing the action they want. Other times, they’ll push back when the to-be-empowered folk come forward with some new and different idea that doesn’t quite fit with their view of things.

In other words, they want their people to step up—except, that is, when they don’t.

Quite a difficult thing to get right: stepping up some of the time, and only then in someone else’s preferred manner.

Could you be in this predicament?

The right review arrangements might be what you’re missing.

Are you stuck in other people’s comfort zones?

To grow, we need to step out of our comfort zone; to accept we don’t know everything; to take a risk.

We’re familiar with that.

But had it occurred to you that sometimes we may hold back because our actions, or intended actions are a frightening thought for someone else? We may be influenced by their fears, even if they’re not involved at all and have quite a different context from us and so a different view of the risks. Our conversation with them is enough for them to express their fears; fears they would have if they were taking the action. If we’re not careful, we moderate what we do to fit their comfort zone.

Make sure it’s your own comfort and discomfort that’s guiding you and not the fears of the uninvolved.