I was talking with Tom Wohlmut this morning and, in the course of the conversation, he passed on a great line that I’d like to share with you.
“Give a fool a tool and you’ll still have a fool.”
A sage comment, frequently forgotten in our tech-happy world.
But how, exactly, does this wisdom impact you, as a manager?
To start with, it warns that you can’t fix an underperforming person or group by showering them with outside tools, whether technology or the latest silver bullet du jour.
And you can’t fix everybody. If, in fact, you truly hired a fool, or what’s passing for one, then you have a responsibility to yourself, your group, and the person hired to unhire him before too much damage is done.
However, the majority of fools aren’t really fools; they’re more like lost souls looking for a path to productivity and personal satisfaction. Most people want to do their work well and they want to feel good about what they do.
It’s not simple or easy or even much fun, but that’s your real job as a manager; guiding them to the path out of fooldom and into becoming an appreciated member of a powerful team.
It’s also one of the most satisfying experiences you’ll ever have.