I heard how the MoD is embroiled in a row over “Cannabilisation of equipment” – borrowing from one machine or vehicle to give to another.
And I wondered when do we do that in leadership, in a good way, concluding that, surely, we should be doing it all the time shouldn’t we? Passing on expertise, giving permissions, helping others to grow?
But not at the expense of the donor.
A recent example came to mind of a young leader just starting off on their journey towards leading others, who rang me to ask for advice. Clear that it wasn’t non-directive coaching that she needed, I was happy to help her for the very reason that this isn’t the first time she’s contacted me for similar advice, and she desperately wants to learn her craft. And in trying my very best to impart the wisdom of my experienced years (yes, let’s not be coy, I am experienced, and the word years is relevant!), I saw it not as a draining of my power or assets, but an opportunity to help someone … and most importantly, a real strength in her. I was reminded of a family member years ago who was criticised by his spouse for only ever learning what he knew from books, and never, ever, asking anyone else how things worked – a trait she felt limited his ability to really grow his knowledge.
So I hope that my young leader continues to learn by asking others, by taking what she can from those who’ve been through it before, and from eventually passing on some of what she’s learning to people who can benefit.
And in the true sense of the word, I think cannibalisation is therefore most apt.