When to take off the training wheels?

I remember a time when I was a child and desperately wanted to ride my bicycle without training wheels. At the same time I was a bit scared of falling.

Receiving the support

My dad was a tremendous support during this time and his mere presence gave me the confidence to find the courage to take the next step. As I began to launch out on my own he would hold on to the back of the bicycle to steady my ride as I peddled with all of my might and tried to keep my balance; wobbly as I was.  Then… one day he let go and I was off riding down the street all by myself.

I remember that riding my bike without training wheels didn’t happen in a day it happened over the course of a several weeks and included months of riding with the training wheels on.

Doing it on our own

Today I see many teams wanting to take their training wheels off too soon thinking they are ready, are able to carry a load, and do it on their own and shunning the counsel of their leadership. Sadly, I see they fall, hurt themselves, others and delay their growth.

While new leaders and teams need the opportunity to fail we need to encourage them to bring us along so we can help steady them as they are learning or even help prevent a disaster.

Becoming the support

We do this through building relationships of trust where they invite us into their decision making process; how they think and respecting us enough to share what they intend to do so we can ask questions and even give guidance. Perhaps if we respect a bit more they might invite us in.