In yesterday’s note, we saw how our beliefs about people’s capabilities affect their performance. Regardless of how much we may want them to do well, if we think they won’t, they likely won’t. If we expect them to do well, they very likely will.
But how do we set up this positive anticipation? And how do we do this when all we’ve seen so far is their poor performance? To believe they can do whatever, regardless of their history is not as outlandish as it sounds when we see the real roadblock.
The real roadblock to believing in another’s capabilities is not so much their history. It is our desire not to be hurt, disappointed, criticized, or obstructed. We play out in our mind all the things that could go wrong if they mess up and what that will mean to us. “If they screw this up, these bad things will happen to/for me. So I can’t let them screw this up.”
The way past this roadblock is to remember that we don’t need to worry: we can handle anything that they might do. When we see this, we stop fearing and our hearts open up. We can say things like, “I am sure you can do this. Your talents are just what we need here. How can I help?”
As our hearts open, their minds open, and–whooosh–they start performing like superstars.
In your corner,
PS: Yes, whooosh.
PPS: Yes, there are other variables in play such as their talent & skills, the availability of the expert knowledge they will need, the scope of the problem, and the urgency. But by believing in them then coaching them through whatever blind spots they may have, we can help them succeed with even the most challenging problems.
PPPS: Of course it’s worth it. The alternative is that you end up doing all the work, right?