My friend Doug taught me something new today.
I always thought the best environment for a young software developer was a sandbox (a training system where everything works but nothing gets pushed into the “real world” production system). But, Doug recently pushed one of our young programmers he has been mentoring into the production system. Now…that person has the capacity to truly impact the company by shutting down its core system.
“Why would you do that?”, I asked. Doug replied:
- He is sufficiently knowledgeable and capable to handle it, and
- He knows enough to actually fear the damage he can do
That caught my attention. I had been too cautious and slow to empower this young programmer. But that actually hurt his development. Since he knew that he couldn’t cause any real damage in the testing environment…he was making more mistakes than he should. Now, he knew he had the power to mess up – and therefore he elevated his game accordingly. He slowed down…reviewed his work…and made far fewer mistakes.
Do you have someone under your leadership who needs to feel the fear? Give them more responsibility and allow them to make real mistakes. It will elevate their abilities and everyone in the organization wins!
Thanks for listening.