Why would that be? Having spoken to many friends, colleagues, and managers, the common story plays out over and over again regardless of industry, role, or experience level. When your work anniversary comes around, you know it. This is especially true for your most driven, and valuable team members. A common mistake many managers make is to micromanage people on their teams. What may have previously been something they enjoyed, can lose that satisfaction quickly.
Men who had more latitude in deciding how they approached work that was varied and challenging tended to enjoy their work much more. When workers had occupational self-direction, their work was often satisfying. Do not take this warning as meaning you should always be a hands off manager. Instead, you should choose the degree to which you are hands on or off based on their Task Relevant Maturity. This term coined by former CEO and founder of Intel, Andy Grove, can help you think about how to better spend your time with your team:.
A friend of mine experienced this first hand at a past job. He was an engineer who had a manager that kept good projects for himself and left chores and simple tasks for the team.
Yongin-si, South Korea
This approach was unsustainable, and the manager eventually burnt out and quit. When this happened, the other engineers suddenly loved their work again, as they faced real challenges, and had control over what they worked on. Providing the right amount of support and autonomy is a never ending balancing act. However, the payoff is huge for the motivation and healthy direction of their Elephants.
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Whether that means full on burnout, or simply major drops in performance, you want to avoid exhausting the Rider. This drains precious energy from them. In a study of college students reported on in the book, Switch , they used a drain on self-control to show how it affected persistence. Researchers put out a bowl of radishes and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. One group was allowed to eat the cookies, but not the radishes.
The other group was allowed to eat the radishes, but not any of the cookies. Both groups were then asked to work on a challenging task. They gave up after only 8 minutes — less than half the time spent by the cookie-eaters. Protect them from pointless distractions and hassles. Not all work is sexy and exciting, but all of it is important to your team and the business. But the people in the second group, who read about what their work accomplished, raised more than twice as much money , through twice as many pledges as the other groups.
When you work with your team to help them understand their purpose, remember to motivate both the Elephant and the Rider. The more you can bring in both a good business reason, and an emotional connection to coworkers, customers, or a bigger vision, the better. Keeping your team motivated and moving in the right direction requires ongoing effort.
The Elephant and the Rider is a helpful framework to keep in mind the competing forces you must work with to succeed with your team. Learn something today? Share it so your friends can, too:.
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Want actionable, expert leadership advice? Want to Be a Great Manager? Share via. Facebook Messenger. Copy Link. I'm always interested in what makes someone who they are. From the time he was a child, he said, "My way has always been the way of animals. He wanted to see the world through their eyes—that was always his goal. That's true love: When you want to see the perspective of the person or animal you love. He grew up in Cornwall, in England, and was always curious about wild animals. By observing wrens, for instance, he could tell where they would nest.
He understood what they looked for in a nest. He could put his fingers down into the grass and feel a little nest with eggs in it just from intuiting where they would nest.
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He hardly ever spoke of the war, though clearly he was deeply affected by it. His solution was to go as far away from England and Western civilization as he could. So in he accepted a job with the Bombay Burma Trading Corporation, as one of the forest assistants.
He would go from elephant camp to elephant camp. He became a really gifted elephant doctor and elephant trainer. Elephants became his life mission. By the time he left Burma, he knew a thousand elephants by name—something I find really enviable. The hero of this tale is the magnificent Bandoola. Introduce us. Bandoola is the great hero, and I am in love with him.
He was a large Asian elephant who was the same exact age as Billy Williams. I think of them as twins: one elephant, one human. Bandoola was nine feet at the shoulders. His skin wasn't just gray; it was lavender, and he had pink freckling against his ears and trunk and cheeks.
His tusks were like the arms of a Burmese dancing girl. So he had a kind of rakish appearance. Bandoola was also different from all the other elephants.
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The others had been trained by breaking them. Bandoola had been trained by a master mahout named Po Toke in a very different way.
From the time he was just a young elephant, he was gentled rather than broken by Po Toke. That meant that when Billy Williams met him, Bandoola had no scars. Elephants are hugely intelligent; they have great social sophistication, and Bandoola was a wise elephant.
Beryl Young - Follow the Elephant
He also had a sense of humor, something that was important to Billy Williams. One of the stories that people always told was that he would bring large logs right up to the creek. But as he got to the bank of the creek, instead of just throwing the log in, he would sometimes pretend that he couldn't push it any farther.
He would pantomime using all of his strength while not being able to move it another inch. His "oozie," or rider, would say: Come on, Bandoola! I know you can do it! Stop fooling around; throw the log in!
So when Bandoola was good and ready, he would flick the log in with his trunk, like it was a twig. Those who knew Bandoola swore they could see him laugh after he did that. And having been around elephants, they do have a sense of humor, and you can see in their eye and their facial expression when they think something is funny. The relationship between mahout and elephant seems much like that between horse and rider, albeit a much longer-lived relationship. Talk about that emotional and spiritual connection between elephants and people like James Howard Williams.
To me, it's magical. When Williams first met Bandoola, he felt his life had changed. He'd already met many elephants, and he was in love with them as a species. But he swore that when he first touched Bandoola, putting his palm against Bandoola's flesh, he felt something pass between them, and that this elephant would know him better than any other human.
He learned largely from the mahouts. Most of his contemporaries used Western texts about elephant behavior and elephant care. It was primitive.