- Meet our Experts
Part 3: Kite surfing or How do you lead successful eager rookies?
Blog by Ingrid van Tienen, Deputy Director ORMIT Group
Young, inexperienced trainees often perform surprisingly well and sometimes even better than their experienced colleagues. I notice this regularly with ORMIT young talents and we know it is not always obvious. A challenging and safe culture and leadership style is required to make people rise above themselves.
Responsibility and ownership
Without proper management and supervision rookies can be dangerous to themselves and others. Properly guided, they will however make a difference to the organisations they work for. The best of both emerges when rookies are guided at the beginning of their career by experienced colleagues with a "rookie" mentality; colleagues who combine their experience and wisdom with the confident, inquisitive, playful and modest attitude of a "rookie".
Good leaders give responsibilities and require ownership. In realising a steep and successful learning curve both the manager and the talent play an important role. For a manager, the challenge is to really unleash the talent and give him space to experience for himself, to make mistakes, then recover and learn from it. For a talent, it is crucial to step out of his own comfort zone and to ask for feedback and assistance in a timely manner when it is needed. A development-oriented mindset is essential for both of them.
How do you recognize a good kite surfer?
In her book "Multipliers", the leadership guru Liz Wiseman separates leaders into diminishers and multipliers. A Diminisher reasons mainly from the mindset "My people need me. They can't make it without me.", while a Multiplier has a different reasoning: "My employees are smart and will find a solution by themselves." In practice, these different styles of leadership lead to a completely different approach on different issues.
"My people need me. They can't make it without me."
"My employees are smart and will find a solution by themselves."
Attracts talent but does not exploit its potential
Attracts talent, exploits and develops its potential optimally
|Approach in case of errors||
Creates a tense atmosphere that will oppress people's capacities (lack of confidence)
Creates an intense atmosphere in which high demands are present.
Provides direction showing how much he knows himself.
Creates opportunities in which people are challenged and stretched.
Makes sudden and directive decisions that confuse people
Reaches decision by involving people in dialogue.
|Getting things done||
Micro-manages and interferes with every detail
Gives people ownership and invests in their success.
Not a "feel-good" manager
A Multiplier is not a "feel-good" manager but often a demanding and critical one. He or she recognises the talent of people and knows how to get the best out of them. This is not always a pleasant process and sometimes literally involves blood, sweat and tears. Often people only realise in retrospect that a Multiplier has challenged them to extremes and helped to get the best out of themselves; and eventually it makes them very proud of themselves and of the results achieved.
We are all Diminishers
Multipliers and Diminishers are not the two extremes of a continuum. In practice, every leader displays both diminishing and multiplying behaviours, without being aware of it. Often from good intentions, for example to help others, you take away from that same person a chance to take ownership, to solve the problem herself, to be proud and to learn from the experience. Good leadership begins thus with self-awareness and an understanding of the impact of their own behaviour on others.