Read Time: 9 minutes, 30 seconds
Development is where parents, educators, and leaders spend most of their time with their peeps. They do it naturally by instinctively supporting their tribes exactly where they’re at while assisting in filling in the gaps without judgment or criticism.
Seriously, at what age do we believe people should just know everything? That they don’t deserve our patience, support, understanding, guidance, management, or development? It’s this belief, leading to actions, that separate “Managers” from “Leaders.”
Look at the table below and see where you stand within the spectrum of management and leadership. For more information on this topic and a deeper dive go to your Leadership Course.
We never stop parenting and we never stop being leaders if we want our tribes to continuously develop. That’s our responsibility. Let’s explore what lies within our tribe members.
There is a common phrase within the education/training field saying, “You can train to Skill but you cannot train to Will.” What this means is that within each person there is a level of skillset you can unfold and develop, as long as the person learning allows it. Think about a puppy who knows how to sit but chooses not to, or a teenager that has the ability to read and chooses video games instead, or even the employee who has the capacity to memorize the sales dialogue yet chooses to go off script because it ”just doesn’t sit well with them.” These examples show the challenges leaders face when they see there is more within someone and that person just won’t budge.
Here are some approaches on how to handle a variety of situations of Skill-vs-Will.
People that have the skill and no will to or drive to execute don’t see the purpose in it. They take advantage of their hidden talents and don’t see how their natural gifts impact the greater good. It’s essential to talk in big picture with these people and help them see clearly the end result and the positive change that comes of their efforts. WARNING: it can’t be for the “good of the company” or “what’s right for the family” or even “you have social responsibility.” If they cared about any of that they would have done it already. Focus on the WIIFM (pronounced “whiff-em”) or What’s In It For Me and you’ll get more movement out of this person. Goal setting, inspiration, and personal rewards are a must.
No Skill/No Will
You’re probably wondering why anyone would be part of a group if they don’t have the skill or will. It’s because they fall into it. People in this category possess gifts in one area and so are often drafted, promoted, or assigned into arenas that don’t fit their natural gifts. For example, you have a creative, problem-solver on your operational team and assign them to your systems team to facilitate a quick resolution with a project. They fail miserably. Why? Their natural gift of seeing how systems will work within operations was taken away and now they are needing to think more micro, step-by-step. Their skill wasn’t to be a problem-solver for all things but to see the vision of operations as a whole. They were also not asked to go to a new team or invited to share their input. Their skill was misappropriately labeled by management because of a need the company had and a happy, loyal team member was stripped away from a team they loved working with to be grouped with people they don’t even understand. And who ends up getting the black mark? The employee that was once revered for their talents is now seen as a failure when it was the leaders who failed.
Another way people with No Skill/No Will can become part of a group is they have the gift of redirection. This doesn’t mean they are conniving, there is simply something about their personality, energy, leadership style, academic degrees that allows others to perceive them as having the right stuff. Their lack of skill and drive to meet certain goals are overlooked because their X-factor redirects other’s away from what really matters.
These are the hardworking, committed people that stories and movies are about. They start out with no experience or skills, but rely on natural talents, dreams, and passions to Will themselves to success. The movie Rudy is the perfect example of someone with No Skill/Will.
When you have a person like this, they are open to trying again and again, their Will. To meet their level of success it’s vital to cultivate and nurture the passion while reinforcing their failed attempts do not define them. Reality is, no matter how hard we can try and pursue a dream, we may never have ‘it’ to make it to the top. Setting expectations and supportive, goal-setting can maintain the dream while not crushing the spirit and person within. Make sure to use long-term planning and strategy coupled with journaling and self-esteem building tactics with these people.
Well aren’t they lucky! They have the skill that matches their desires. When people are on the path that reinforces their actions it becomes an effortless motion of synergy, having win after win after win. It’s important when leading these members to let them go as far and as fast as they like. Often what happens is we try to hold other’s back out of our own fear, a pull to protect them, or a lack of understanding of their purpose. Resentment is an easy emotion that creates fractures in relationships so take CAUTION.
When people are winning often it’s easy to forget that failure is still an option. Building this skill through other activities, volunteering, and well-roundedness builds other skills that will be essential when limits are reached. We all have peaks and valleys, even if they come further away and farther apart than other’s experiences. Resiliency, positive thinking, goal-setting, mantras, and affirmations are excellent tools to use with members.
A person’s Skill and Will ebbs and flows with experience, maturity, environment, and by the people that surround them. What’s important to remember is that these components of a person’s development can be influenced and nurtured but not controlled. If something isn’t working, let it go and find their natural talents and explore their dreams. In that you’ll always create synergy.
Development is where parents, educators, and leaders spend most of their time with their peeps. They do it naturally by instinctively supporting their tribes exactly where they’re at while assisting in filling in the gaps without judgment or criticism. If something isn’t working, let it go and find their natural talents and explore their dreams. In that you’ll always create synergy.