I’ve often given young(ish!) people in my team positions of relatively large responsibility. Almost every time I’ve done it, they’ve succeeded.
Almost. Every. Time.
I’m not suggesting that the responsibility should be given lightly, or given to anyone who asks for it. You still need to choose carefully – both the person and the level of responsibility – and you need to be prepared to support them once in role – and take the heat for your decision if needed.
But the philosophy I adopted was that I’d prefer to give someone an opportunity to grow and accept that they might fail, rather than assume that they would and deny them the opportunity.
Choose well, and even if they fail, they should use it for long term growth that would more than compensate for a short term failure.
It strikes me that if we’re to solve some of the biggest challenges we have today, we need to support those who are willing and able to take on more responsibility sooner rather than later. That won’t happen if we’re always looking for the person who’s had 30 years experience.
There’s enormous value in experience. Especially if it’s been used for learning (which it often isn’t). But there’s also enormous value in unleashing growth in someone younger and ready to go if they’re truly willing to accept the responsibility.
Give them responsibility because they might just succeed, rather than denying it from them in case they fail.
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