Run With Me
My older daughter and I are runners. We began a few years ago when she took it up as a way to stay healthy. I took it up because my wife said, "Someone needs to run with her and keep her safe." Seriously, though, the experience has been just fantastic. The time talking with her and building our relationship has been a priceless treasure.
One of my vices is that I sometimes get frustrated that she is not running faster, and I will run a few feet in front of her. I mean it as encouragement, to remind her to pick up the pace. She has told me before that she doesn't like it, but sometimes I just see it as the only way to make her see the need to improve.
A few weeks ago we ran in our 3rd half-marathon. From the beginning I saw that Alex was off the pace. So... I took off and at some points got 30-40 feet in front of her-and then would slow down or jog in place until she caught up. Finally, at about mile 9, through tears of frustration, she said, "Would you please just run with me?" I realized just how wrong my plan had been. I began running with her to spend time with her-not to frustrate her because I could run faster than she could. I was only contributing to her defeated attitude-not helping her improve.
I think as managers and leaders we often make the same mistake. We forget that our first responsibility is to bring people along with us in an organization, team or family. It's not about showing all we know-or can do-but to stand beside them and help them move forward with encouragement, guidance and yes, example. Try that today-and see if you AND your people don't "finish" the race of the day at a better pace.