Cats and Monkeys

We used to have a fascinating, yet frustrating evening ritual with our cat:  Whenever we prepared to go to sleep, our cat would find ever more intelligent ways to escape from our living room to our bedroom. After a fruitless chase, we were invariably forced to lure him back to the living room with food.

In the mind of our cat it was an effective way to fill his belly.

By rewarding him with food, my wife and I were actually enabling his behavior.

If you see unhelpful behaviors in your team, ask yourself the following question: What am I doing, which enables this negative behavior?

For example, how much time do you really spend on doing your job? If it is not enough, you may be a Monkey Magnet. It means that people come to you with their problems (monkeys) with the expectation that you solve them.

Now you have two issues: An additional problem to solve, and a team member unable to do his or her job.

When you move into more senior roles, your job is no longer to solve problems. Your job is to enable your team to solve problems.

If you find yourself spending too much time being a monkey magnet, the solution is to stop your own behavior which enables this: Avoid going into solution mode, but force any team member to think through possible solutions, before coming to you for help.

Which rituals do you need to change yourself to bring your team to the next performance level?

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