Professional Development

Power Play: Don’t try to mould someone in your image

Rose Herceg /

Now this one separates the posers from the real McCoys. Truth is – most of us want to create a disciple in our own image. We love the idea of building a person from scratch; I’m guilty of it, many of us are. But Power Players don’t take it personally when the people they help along the way choose not to take their advice or follow in their footsteps. I’ve seen many a pretender sideline a junior for choosing to go his or her own way.

If you’ve trained somebody or taken the time to steer them gently, the only thing they owe you is the truth. If they would prefer to take another road, then good for them for having the guts to do what will make them happy. The right and only response from a Power Player is to buy them a bottle of great champagne and wish them luck on their journey.

If they’ve learnt anything from you, one day the junior will pay it forward with somebody on their team. And don’t be surprised if you cross paths again sometime and the baby (now all grown up) tries to find ways to repay the favour. 

The story

I once tried to mould (manipulate, really) a man who worked for me because we had a similar style to begin with. Not only was I pretty arrogant in wanting to do this but I also would have suffocated his own style and strengths.

The trick here is not to pass off this type of manipulation as ‘training’. It’s wrong and that’s all there is.

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