The other day my daughter who is in high school had her Physics final exam. While preparing for it, she suggested that I help her with the numericals while she would take care of the theory.
I agreed as I love numbers.
When we finished with the numerical part in detail, it was less than half a day left for her to deal with the theory in her own style.
Post the exam she did not look too happy and after much cajoling, only let out that she wished she had more time to study theory.
While we wait for the exam results to arrive whenever they will, I think back whether I was helpful to her after all. I am reminded of the story of the boy who helped a struggling caterpillar come out of its cocoon by breaking it. What happened thereafter was a weak butterfly that could barely crawl and soon became food for the birds.
How often do we overplay our strengths only to the detriment of others? Did my daughter need to spend as much time and energy on the numerical part as I did?
Or could we have worked smarter? Maybe I could have checked-in with her along the way to know if we were on schedule.
I am reminded of a senior executive in a large services company I coached a couple of years ago. He was a very good trouble shooter and all his seniors would approach him to sort out any issue related to any person. He quickly climbed up the corporate ladder as a result.
When it came to selecting the head of the SBU, to his surprise he was overshot by someone who the panel thought was seemingly less ‘hostile’ and more people friendly as a leader.
He came to terms with it during the coaching session when he agreed that he had been overplaying his strengths as a trouble-shooter and probably being used by his seniors all along.
So how do you tend to over-play your strengths?
Are you the overzealous parent who thinks they are doing the best for their child?
Are you an entrepreneur not wanting to let go of the operational responsibilities to your professional teams as you have set-up the business and know best?
Are you the mid-manager who micromanages leaving the strategic aspects to your bosses who are using you in the process? How are you growing yourself in the process? Would you be overshot by someone who is more ‘strategically oriented’ when it comes to getting promoted?
Metamorphosis is the act of a caterpillar breaking out of the cocoon on its own. This helps to spread the blood in the veins which gives it strength to fly on its own as a butterfly.
Are you helping people around you by transforming them into butterflies or are they crawling around in your presence – biding for time that will make them redundant?
I would love to hear from you.