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Nobody Is More Responsible for Our Growth Than We Are

While other people may hold the title of supervisor or trainer, nobody is more responsible for our growth than we are.

I was recently speaking with a leader whose entire industry was put in limbo because of the COVID pandemic. People were working remotely and, like everyone, there was a lot of uncertainty. As the business began to rebound, it became clear that Alice, one of his newer employees, had fallen well behind.

As a result, Alice began to make excuses for her lack of growth. She blamed the pandemic and her lack of training for her stagnation. The problem was that Alice never called for help, never asked questions, and never took the initiative to talk to a tenured peer. She just waited for her supervisors to initiate her growth.

To his credit, the leader took responsibility for not having a more robust and detailed training plan for new hires. It is a leader’s moral obligation to develop the people they are called to lead. And this leader vowed that a more concrete training plan was in development for the future.

But the leader was frustrated with Alice, and rightly so! Alice’s response to the lack of formalized training created doubt. Her leaders doubted Alice’s drive and her peers doubted Alice’s reliability. You can sum up their collective thoughts as, “Since she’s not taking the initiative herself, does that mean we have to spoon feed her everything?”

Because Alice’s team did not trust her, they gave her only the most basic of tasks and marginalized her participation as much as possible. This stunted her growth even further and Alice felt like she was on an island.