As managers we often feel help needs to be given in a particular manner due to lack of time spend understanding the situation, based on our perceptions and assumptions. Here’s a reminder on how help given with the best intentions can cause harm as opposed to helping a situation
A man found a cocoon for a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared stuck.
The man decided to help the butterfly and with a pair of scissors he cut open the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. Something was strange. The butterfly had a swollen body and shrivelled wings. The man watched the butterfly expecting it to take on its correct proportions. But nothing changed.
The butterfly stayed the same. It was never able to fly. In his kindness and haste the man did not realise that the butterfly’s struggle to get through the small opening of the cocoon is nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight.
Like the sapling which grows strong from being buffeted by the wind, in life we all need to struggle sometimes to make us strong.
When we coach and teach others it is helpful to recognize when people need to do things for themselves.