There are numerous benefits to helping others succeed. First and foremost, most of the people you help will remember it and do the same for you some day. I remember my father-in-law mentoring a young intern pharmacist by helping him with homework over the phone, and years later witnessed him ask for advice from the young pharmacist who had graduated by then and was an expert on the latest developments in the industry. When you help others, it builds your network of people who can be relied on for advice, references, open positions, etc.
Experts say we retain 50% of what we write down and 80% of what we teach to others. By teaching others, you’re actually reinforcing the knowledge you’ve learned so it doesn’t fade over time. When teaching, you gain knowledge yourself from getting the perspective of someone who views the problem in an entirely different way. If you’re open enough, interactions like this lead to the next industry development or business disruption because you’re able to combine your deep industry knowledge with someone else’s knowledge of current technology, etc.
Finally, helping others succeed is a sign of strength and leadership potential. Your organization will notice who’s sharing knowledge and helping the entire organization grow, and who’s hoarding knowledge to keep everyone else weak. Both the sharing and hoarding are very apparent to leaders in the organization, and despite the hoarders believing they’ll be promoted for their superior knowledge over everyone else; the opposite is true. Good leaders recognize the power in sharing and teaching within the organization and will promote people who possess this behavior.
Everyone has been through challenging times in their lives that are discouraging or even traumatic. Most of us tend to fight fire with fire when faced with these challenges and many times we end up making poor decisions because we’re being driven by emotions or ego in an effort to counteract the situation and immediately make it better. This reactionary behavior makes things worse, leading to more despair, more bad decisions, until something breaks the pattern, hopefully before hitting rock bottom in a dark place.
I recommend freezing in these situations and allowing your emotions to settle before making any large decisions. This does two things: 1. It allows you to reflect on how you ended up in the situation and whether or not the outcome was ever under your control to influence. 2. It will bring clarity to the situation and allow you to make an informed decision based on facts, not emotion. You’ll find that being intentional about this process will improve your decision making abilities and bring you peace of mind when you come to the realization that you don’t need to try and fix things immediately, especially when they’re outside of your sphere of influence.
Ego drives this type of reactionary behavior because we either want to show the world we never fail, or that we can fix other people’s failures. Certain cultures and demographics are more prone to reactionary behavior and decision making based on ego, which is why it’s critically important to build a diverse team. A diverse team that’s empowered to push back will keep the ego in check and allow for a well thought out decision to be made with input from several different perspectives.
Is your organization struggling to make meaningful changes or develop new ideas for problems that have plagued you forever? If the answer is yes, it’s probably time to look around and see if your team is diverse enough to reduce group think and empowered enough to push back against employees with strong egos who are having an outsized influence on the decisions.