Get Stuck In:
There is an old adage that those who can, do, and those that can’t, teach. I don’t buy into that as anyone who attempts to teach something must have an exhaustive knowledge of the subject to be effective at teaching. Yet, when we look out the world we live in, we find a similar situation to that repeated just about anywhere we look in the professional world. We have people in authority positions telling those under them what to do. This makes sense on one level, if the person has risen through the ranks and started where their subordinates now sit. We call those people leaders and they are the most effective managers in any industry. On the other hand, the majority hand even, we find people promoted to that leader position without having done the work that they are advising on. This is a situation that breeds resentment and incompetent practices as the experience isn’t there for that leader to draw upon to make real and lasting effects. So, as I would say in concerns to one of my games, it is time to get stuck in.
What I mean by getting stuck in is to get into the middle of the job that we would advise others on how to do. Do that job or task, experience the highs and lows of the situation and all the trials and tribulations that our subordinates go through on a daily life. Then, once we have gotten stuck in, stay stuck in for some time so that we can experience the ebb and flow of that job. All of this is doing two very important things for us.
The first thing that we gain is a deeper understanding of the job or task that we are supervising. We come to understand how the operation of that situation actually works in the trenches, so to speak, which allows us to see where the deficiencies really are instead of those that we imagine, might be there. It is impossible to see all the pitfalls and hardships of the terrain of a mountain without walking that mountain. Same thing with any task, it is impossible to see what the actually pitfalls are until we fall into them and gain that experience. Once we have learned the terrain and have an understanding of it, we can actually come up with real and effective solutions to the problems that we experienced in the field. Additionally, when a problem comes to us from higher up the ladder, we have an understanding of the actual job and can devise solutions that have a chance of actually working. This is invaluable in our journey as we can create strategies that won’t waste our and other people’s effort.
The second thing that living in the trenches gives to us is the respect and camaraderie of those below us. If we live through the same situations that they live in, then when we come to them with a problem or solution, they can listen to us with ease. We have earned the right to advise them on the situations that they face every day and the ability to convey the issue from higher up in the ladder is a way that integrates with their everyday life. With that respect and ability, we are actually going to be able to create and implement lasting solutions, rather than band aids that only patch the problem briefly.
So, as we go through our lives, we need to be able to do the work to become a leader rather tan just a supervisor. It is time to get stuck in! So stop hesitating and jump in now!