Hand Fed and Leash Led (Dealing with Those Who Are)

There are those who take initiative and proactively contribute.

Those who look for ways to grow, serve and do more than simply what is required.

They don’t need someone to hold their hand before they attempt to take a step.

They’re motivated, eager to learn, and seeking.

And then there are others.

Those who want to be hand fed and leash led.

They expect everyone else to do for them, to “feed” them when they are perfectly capable of finding food on their own.

They’re okay with doing the bare minimum just to get by.

They’re afraid to take a risk or to make a decision unless someone else helps to make it for them.

They’re more focused on what they can get instead of what they can give.

And, especially in an organizational setting, they’ll be the first to complain and try to drag everyone else down (even if they aren’t doing so intentionally).

My point?

It isn’t to simply state the obvious between the two but to encourage you to help those who are being hand fed and leash led to break free.

Here are 3 ways:

1. Address Them: Most of the time the hand feeders don’t even realize they are the way they are. Sometimes they need someone who cares to spend some time talking to them and helping to show them their ways. Notice that I didn’t say “Confront Them.” It’s not about confrontation here, it’s about caring enough to want more for them… enough so to take an active role in encouraging and helping them grow.

2. Force Them: If you are a leader or a manger who has an employee or team member who is not making decisions or is performing at a bare minimum level, force them out of their comfort zone. Just like muscles must be stretched to grow, so do they. Sometimes we bow to their tendencies and do it for them but that won’t help them or you in the long run. Give them opportunities, don’t make all the decisions for them, let them have a win even if it’s not exactly what you would have done. The more confidence they build, the more they’ll contribute.

3. Release Them: The sad reality is that some people just won’t change despite our best efforts to help them improve. If this is the case with someone in your organization, it may best to let them go so that you can open up space for someone who will.

What are your thoughts about being hand fed and leash led?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I love this post! I've been hiring staff for 34 years. Great hiring is somewhat basic in certain respects: I "hire for fire" & train for skills. That is, I only want to work with staff members/biz partners/stakeholders who really want to be doing what our agenda says we need to do to accomplish our plans & goals. Trying to teach something to anyone who has "less than stellar focus" on "being where their feet are planted", is the biggest waste of time & effort & leads straight to varying degrees of effectiveness. Being as how there is a only a limited number of staff positions on any given team, how can you afford to jeopardize your chances of success by working with folks who have less than optimal attitudes??
    As for #1, many folks will blossom right under your very eyes when treated with respect & consideration. This is a real win-win-win for all because when you show appreciation for someone contribution, it can really light their fire! And guess what, THAT is the telling sign you're looking for to see if someone has a good attitude. When they are grateful for the chance to contribute, they'll be loyal team members for a long time! If they are not particularly interested in being a contributing member of the team, that also shows up in their face & their body language. Remember, 55% of human communication is non-verbal!!
    #2 – Force them/ support them in going through the process of changing their attitude can be a very effective/strengthening exercise for them & the team. But any sign of resistance to changing their attitude is most likely a sign that they need to be replaced by someone who is just ACHING to have the chance to contribute!
    #3. From physics, we know that 2 things cannot occupy the same space at the same time! What this means for your biz success is that you need to get rid of what you don't want in order to make room for what/who you DO WANT as a member of your team! Be smart – pack you team with as many great folks as you can find!
    In this time of extreme change, it's wise to consult the webinar from HubSpot about hiring the best staff in these DARC ages! http://www.hubspot.com/darc-ebook-download/

  • Very well written, thanks.

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