I was watching my 7 year-old son and his friend play chess at the weekend. Well, I say play chess, what they actually did was randomly spread the pieces across the board, take it in turns to randomly move them about, occasionally take an opponent’s piece and laugh a lot!
I was thinking to myself: ‘What are they doing – this doesn’t make any sense, you don’t play chess like that?’. I wanted to dive in and show them the right way to play it …
However, after a moment’s thought, I decided not to jump right in, and here’s why:
- I’ve never seen anyone laugh or enjoy themselves quite so much while playing chess the right way
- while I had no idea what was going on – they seemed to
- they were relating to each other and communicating with one another their way and I couldn’t think of a single reason to impose my own narrow view of the game on them
- I’ve always found chess to be unutterable dull – a game, if ever there was one, that could do with a rule revamp to make it more fun.
Truth is, a lot of social media stuff seems pretty non-sensical on first acquaintance – it’s full of people messing with the rules, mashing stuff up and doing it their way. It’s often only by watching for a while and then trying it yourself that you finally get it … just in time for the rules to change again.
As managers, we have a tendency to want things done the right way (aka our way) … we don’t like things happening around us we don’t understand and we definitely don’t like change.
It strikes me, that to be a successful 2.0 manager, you need to:
- know when to sit and watch
- know when to let things run their course and for how long
- know when to intervene (or engage) and how to do that without alienating everyone
- realise that management and control are not the same thing … relinquishing control can be a good management technique … and …
- be humble enough to accept that there may be more than one way to get things done and our way might not suit everyone’s needs.