Remember when we were in primary school and our teachers used to ask us to show our work? This, I came to understand, was so that they could better know how to guide us as they could pinpoint where we’d gone off course.
I was reminded of this lesson by a comment I received to my recent video post on progress versus perfection. In part, her reaction to this piece was, “…it is certainly important to hear about people’s journey and how they are progressing rather than seeing the final outcome. I think we need more of these in social media platforms for people to share about their journey rather than a perfect-looking final result…” I was reminded of this again this morning during my workout — not just in acknowledging what I’m not yet able to do well but also in recognizing how far I’ve come. And, even here, the instructor carefully explains how to modify an exercise as you build your competence.
As leaders, how much time do we take to help deconstruct work for those we lead? Do we break down the process for a new hire who may know how to do the job but need help navigating our company’s systems, policies, and procedures? Or for a first-time supervisor who is faced with giving developmental feedback to someone that, until recently, was their peer. Or maybe a division leader challenged with their first reorganization or lay-off.
I often joke with leaders that we assume that when the individual crosses the threshold (joining our company, being promoted, taking on a significant leadership role), we believe that, by osmosis, they automatically have all of the skills they need to be proficient in that role. And yet, when we look back at our own journey, we know that not to be the case. So, why not, as this viewer of my blog expressed to me, “speak up and be transparent.” Why not share our lessons learned and support them in carving their own path to success?