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[dropcap style=”style3″]A[/dropcap]man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for hours as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole. Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bits of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily but it had a swollen body and shrivelled wings.

The man continued to watch it, expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge and expand enough to support the body. Neither happened! In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around. It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand: The restricting and the struggle required by the butterfly to get through the opening was a way of forcing the fluid from the body into the wings so that it would be ready for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us. We will not be as strong as we could have been and we would never fly.

A leader’s job is to keep it real.

So how do leaders keep it real? Lessons from the butterfly.

– Don’t always try to fix things for others. They need the experience to work through their struggles.
– Watch from a distance. There is always the temptation to get involved because you are close to the action.
– Help others make sense of their efforts and results and to understand how and why things have gone wrong.
– Be responsible and practice self-control.
– Don’t let distortions in your logic affect best possible outcomes.
– We all have the capacity for actions we can deeply regret unless we stay grounded.
– Simplistic notions of good and bad only cloud our understanding of doing what is truly right.

In conclusion

As leaders we need to resist the temptation of intervening too early in the growing opportunities of our staff. Sure, we need to step in occasionally but only to coach and consult.16850107_ml We need to practice discernment and allow struggles to be transformational learning opportunities for those we lead and influence. Struggle develops persistence, determination and competencies. Enable your team to “grow” and “take wing.”

Wishing you all a great week!

Committed to your success,


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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734