I hear bad advice a lot. The most common I people tell each other is “You should just do ‘insert action’.”
You don’t ask your infant to walk when they can’t even crawl. Why do we ask adults to do things that they haven’t demonstrated an ability to do? Just because you know how to walk doesn’t mean the person you’re trying help does. Telling them to walk produces one thing. Frustration. You’re frustrated with them for not listening. They’re frustrated with themselves for being stuck or thinking they suck.
Meet people at their level of competence. Encourage them. You will build their confidence. They’ll take more risks. They’ll do the next thing that they’re capable of doing. This will produce successes and failures. Encourage them again. They’ll continue to take more risks. They’ll become more competent. They might start crawling. Encourage them some more. Eventually, they’ll be able to walk. Just like you suggested.
Telling someone to “Just do ‘insert action here'” doesn’t help. Find what they can do next. Encourage them to take the next logical step.
Be their champion. You’ll feel good knowing someone followed your advice. They’ll appreciate you being a champion of their new success.
Are you champion?
- Harvard Business: It’s the Leadership, Stupid (blogs.hbr.org)