Tory Gravitt | April 16, 2014
When I was younger, a friend of my parents owned a restaurant in our hometown and you could find us there every Friday night for dinner.
The owners had a daughter who worked at the restaurant when she was in high school, and I idolized her-- I wanted to be just like her. One night, while she was waiting tables, she called seven-year-old me over and asked me to be her assistant for the night. I was thrilled. She took me around to all of her tables where I would write down orders, take drinks, and follow her every move. After that night all I could dream about was being a server, all because she had taken a chance on me, and had given me responsibility.
I've been privileged in my life to have been given many different responsibilities, and now I can tell you with confidence that I know what I am gifted in. I can tell you what my passions are, and what I believe my calling is. I have been given the chance to figure things out. I've been given the chance to feel empowered, responsible and worthy, each time because someone who led me chose to give me a chance.
Leaders, someone gave you a chance once, and it was risky. They probably put a lot on the line putting you in charge, but now you've figured it out. You have responsibility. It's time for you to help someone else do the same. I understand that it is hard to give up your responsibility, but I challenge you to not just delegate, but to empower. Taking a chance on someone younger or less experienced is a risk, but the return is immeasurable.
Yes, It is counter-intuitive, but giving someone younger than you a chance to have some of that responsibility sets you up to build a relationship and pour into them. Take a chance. If they fail, they fail. Help them to stand right back up, and try again. You will have an incredible impact on their personal path to leadership because you are letting them step in to what you once stepped into.
The only song I ever learned on the piano was Clocks, by Coldplay. It was difficult for me, because my small hands had to stretch farther than they had ever gone, but I learned a new song. I was stretched and challenged.
Up and comers, learn to stretch your fingers. Learn to play something new. Be someone worth the responsibility. Be someone who is noticed for work ethic, excellence and humility. Be willing to step out of what YOU see as your calling, and be willing to step into what others can see in you. There is no better view of yourself than from the outside. Be someone who is teachable, and be someone who is willing to stretch. Take the chance on yourself and seize every opportunity to grow.
It's simple really, leaders are learners, and sometimes to learn, risks must be taken. Leaders, regardless of position or skill set should be willing to learn from what sharing responsibility can teach you.
Sharing and taking responsibility with open hands, and willingness to grow, is the ultimate display of humility for leaders of all levels.