Few years back after joining a ship I found my first mate was not delivering what was expected out of him. Back then, I was of the opinion that if you are sitting next to an emergency exit you are required to perform certain duties and if you can’t deliver what is required then than seat is not meant for you. Unable to see the desired output I asked for his earliest replacement.
With added experience and maturity, reflecting back now, I have realized that to a major extent I was equally accountable for his under-performance, particularly for missing out two basic components necessary for high performance:
1- Failed to communicate my clear expectations: When I joined the ship, I assumed that he was well aware of what was expected out of him and expected him to hear my thoughts without highlighting much from my end. Many mates had taken this journey with me and without much guidance required they delivered the best they can. This time too I assumed that this officer like others can see what I can see without realising that there can be few who can’t see what I can or even don’t want to go where I want them to go. Without changing my behaviour I expected them to change their. Well, I was wrong.
2 – Feedback provided was not consistent: “Pawn if used well can become a Queen” goes an old saying. In this case without proper communication and feedback the Pawn was lost with no chance given for any recovery.
The benefits of communicating clear expectations with timely feedback are fifty fold to one but how often do we ignore these easy yet powerful tools. Having met half the enemy of my colleague underperformance I understood that like Yin and Yang for anything not working well we are also equally half responsible and if instead of escapism and playing the easy part of blame game if we can only correct our part, I believe the rest will automatically be take care off.
I was hurt and wounded by an arrow but now finding out that the Archer was none other than me I understood that my monotony of blaming others must be broken. To win or to lose is a different story but at least now I know that for a sinking ship it doesn’t matter whether the hole is in your end or other end. The handwriting was always there on the wall but in my case became visible only recently. Having read it now, hopefully for the next time I can use my Pawn wisely.