When I was little I would come to my dad with a problem and his response was “figure it out”. Sometimes I would hate that response and truthfully I don’t think it was always the best response. However, as an adult I appreciate so much the fact that he created an environment where I learned how to solve problems myself vs solving them for me.
I am currently reading a book entitled “Quiet Leadership” by David Rock. I am only halfway through but I am finding his insights intoxicating with the brilliant simplicity of his steps. David shares that the workforce today is built on needing people to know how to think and figure things out. In fact our minds are designed to make connections and find solutions. Therefore, an effective and productive company knows how to enable their people to have their own solutions, to think. It is no longer about telling people how to solve a problem or do a task. It is about helping them learn to figure it out.
Enabling people to have their own insights is an art and a difficult one at that. Once enabled, our job as a quiet leader is to provide encouragement, ongoing support, and belief in people to ensure they develop the new habits that are possible. This will truly bring out the best in our workforce.
To this day, my Dad and I still joke about the “figure it out” relationship we have. I used to think that he did that because he wasn’t the most patient teacher. While this may be true, the studies by Mr. Rock confirm the strength of what he was doing. My mind needed the environment and freedom to think. He encouraged and pushed me towards that. It wasn’t always comfortable but it brought out some very good things in me.
I think there is much to learn on the art of encouraging thinking and Mr. Rock is a great place to start. This book is certainly on my must read list for business owners / leaders.