My wife was on the floor playing with our grandson who was just a little over three years old. They were working on a 15 piece puzzle. He was having a little trouble getting the pieces together. He’d try each piece to see if it fit. He would try it one way and toss it aside if it didn’t work. He’d just try it one way and then try another piece. He didn’t pay attention to the picture. My wife patiently worked with him, helping him to understand the shapes and the picture as he tried to figure out the puzzle. She arranged the pieces so they were faced the right way according to the picture. She set them so that he could make the connection between the picture on the box and the picture taking shape on the floor. I’m not sure he actually ‘got it‘. He didn’t finish the puzzle with much pride and joy. But immediately he was ready to dismantle it and do it again. My wife happily facilitated.
The second time as they took the pieces apart they scrambled them up; she helped him turn them the right way and orient them according to the picture. He made real progress. He looked at the picture and put each part where the picture showed. Then he‘d come across pieces that went together until ‘viola’ the picture was completed. Two times was enough and he was quickly off to another project and play time.
I wondered if the next time he approached a puzzle if he would remember the subtle lessons his Gram taught him. I also thought about what a great leader Gram was being. She could have easily finished the puzzle, even given him the right pieces so he could have done it ‘himself’, but much more quickly. Instead, she took the time to help him understand puzzles and the process. She not only helped him with that puzzle, but with other puzzles in the future.
Great leaders don’t just solve puzzles, they help others understand them. They encourage others to improve their abilities, to understand processes and put pieces together. Great leaders don’t just solve puzzles. They facilitate so that puzzles are solved and lessons are learned.
Points to Ponder –
Do I help others solve puzzles or do I help them learn how to solve puzzles? Do I understand the difference?
Am I willing to take time to help people through the process or am I just looking for results?
Have I ever been guilty of doing it myself because it would be easier than teaching someone else?
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