Leadership: Let Them Get Up Alone. Don’t Do It For Them

In Blog, Discipline, Leadership
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Did you see the movie Ray about the singer Ray Charles? Jamie Foxx played Charles. Doesn’t matter if you didn’t.

There’s a scene in the movie where young Ray is losing his sight, and then he’s completely lost it. He’s blind. One day he’s walking around the house and he slips and falls. Immediately he cries out to his mother, who is right there in the room watching this.

Mom’s first instinct is to go help her child. But she stops herself. Remains completely silent and still (remember, he can’t see). Eventually young Ray stops crying, gathers himself and gets up. Uses his enhanced senses of feeling and hearing (every negative contains the seed of an equal and opposite benefit – Napoleon Hill) to find his mom and identify objects in the room. Ray is self-sufficient, despite being completely blind, from that moment forward.

Too many times I’ve heard business leaders talk about a common mistake they’ve made:

Helping their partners too much.

Doing things, creating opportunities, solving problems for others when the smart move would’ve been to let those people twist in the wind. The un-helped would be forced to learn and develop, become self-sufficient and be able to stand on their own two feet.

Instead, the mistake of providing too much support was made — and when it finally was time, in the leader’s mind, to let them stand alone, the ones they helped so much couldn’t do it. Not strong enough. No self-sufficiency. No personal power.

The reason we help so much is that most people fall flat on their faces when left un-helped… And unlike Ray, they never get up. We don’t want all these failures on our record and conscience. So we help and help and help… Until people we help are completely helpless. Then we own an adult daycare center.

You don’t want this.  You won’t be free to do any of the things you’re good at when everyone is relying on you.

What you do want: Let them fall on their faces (it WILL happen). Then let them get themselves up off the floor — or stay there. The ones you want, will get up. The weaklings who don’t get up? You didn’t want them with you anyway. They’re liabilities on your bottom line. Let them lay there and perish.

If he dies, he dies. 

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