Nurture, nudge and sometimes shove: the dos and don’ts of mentoring

when you develop leaders, you sometimes need to give a shove. But if you’re smart, you’ll inspire them to want to take the leap on their own.


It can take boldness to get others to act boldly

Leadership development can be like pushing someone out of an airplane. Which is something I know something about. 

I took up skydiving 35 years ago. My first jump scared me so much that I clenched the strut and screamed to the instructor that I had changed my mind. She pried my fingers from the bar and shoved me away from the plane. I was too preoccupied with my plunge to be stunned by her audacity. But when my chute opened and I started gently floating, I was grateful for her decisive action. I took my second jump on my own.

I recently learned that her pushing me was safer than pulling me back in. I was happy to know that, but I already was glad she forced me past my fears. Sometimes we need to nudge and shove people to move beyond their limits. 

The bold impact us deeply

Nurturing and nudging aren’t always enough. At times, the most compassionate and appropriate action is a decisive shove. The people who are bold enough to push us when we need it are the people who impact us deeply.

Just don’t do it as part of a power-trip. Boldness is an important SpeakSTRONG quality – in the right way, at the right time. 

And so are grace and savvy.

Character-based Communicators impact us deeply – without the scars

Some strong leaders complain that people can’t handle their power. They hold themselves back to keep from hurting anyone. What they often don’t realize is it’s not their power people can’t handle; it’s their delivery.

That’s why powerful people need to develop SpeakSTRONG skills as much or even more than gentler people. As long as the bold lack awareness and skills, they will leave a wake of destruction behind them if they don’t curb their full power. Holding power back is both frustrating and a waste.

Character-based Communicators compassionately nurture, diplomatically nudge and when needed, boldly shove. When strength is balanced with sweetness and savvy, the bold can amp up the voltage without fear of blowing everyone’s circuits.

.books1They often discover their balanced skills diminish the need to push anyone out of (metaphorical) airplanes. When sweetness and savvy are supported with boldness, and when boldness is supported by sweetness and savvy, people are inspired to jump on their own.

That’s what I call leadership development. More about that here

Do a bold person a favor. Get them a copy of SpeakSTRONG – so they and we – can handle their power. It might be the shove out of the airplane they need. 

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