When to step in and when to step back?

When to step in and when to step back? What does it mean? This post will answer these questions.

Arithmetic problem on a monkey and slippery pole

Probably in my fifth or sixth standard, I had to solve an arithmetic problem on a monkey and a slippery pole. The exact wordings I had forgotten, but the problem looked like the one written below.

” A monkey tries to climb a slippery pole. It climbs 2 metres in every one minute and slips 1 metre in every next minute. If the height of the pole is 24 metres, then how long the monkey will take to reach the top of the pole?”

The problem reminds me of specific management skill. What is that skill? When to step in and when to step back.

How to step in and step back in life

A teacher teaches his students the necessary skills required for solving mathematical problems. Then he allows them to solve a few problems. You know why? It will sharpen their knowledge and skills. In the first place, the teacher steps in to help their students, and afterwards, he stepped back to see how they have learnt the things.

Step inStep back

Similarly, sometimes you involve yourself with your children to solve picture puzzles, and sometimes you give them a new set of picture puzzles to develop them. It happens in your work life also. Sometimes you as a manager go to the shop floor, help your colleagues to analyse the existing problem and even help them to take the right decision. You know them very well. So sometimes you delegate the jobs to them. To put it differently, you step back, allow them to perform independently. Why? To see how they have developed themselves to tackle the work-life problems on their own.

Learning points

Life is also full of problems. It is not a straight journey. Sometimes it is slippery too like the pole and hence can pose threats to you. So take care to make steps. Know how much and when you will step in and step back.



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