It's up to you son (as they used to say)

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April 18 – I had to have a ‘chat’ with one of our young employees last evening. He’s complaining that we’re not giving him enough direction. We’re complaining he’s not doing the job.

I decided to confront the issue. I happen to believe in this young man. He has talent, even the ability to ‘rise through the ranks’. I doubt anyone has ever (I mean, ever) told him that. So I made clear to him what was happening. He had a choice. He could remain dependent, like a kid, for life, expecting us to spoon feed him and him then regurgitating the results, or I could alternatively push him to develop. But like a parent that required me to take risks on him – to allow him enough room to make limited mistakes whilst learning to exercise his judgement and see the rewards of doing so. That was what we’re doing – precisely because we thought that over time he could take on that responsibility, work harder and see the rewards of doing so.

I made clear this was not paternalism – my reward would probably be he’d leave for a better job. So be it. But he had a choice, and he had not choice but make it. He could either accept we believed in him and take the risk that required, or he could trudge along as now. He looked really shocked, and at the same time you could sense a sense of pride.

I hope he responds. He could be good. I have no idea whether he will be.


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