At TEDxSanAntonio, my friend Alicia Arenas shared her story about being a glass child. As she described, a glass child is one that has a special needs sibling. Glass children aren’t named such because they’re fragile, instead, the parents look through them like glass and focus their efforts primarily on the special needs child instead. The glass child then does the best he can without the attention and focus that the special needs child receives. It’s an interesting phenomenon because the glass child remains needing the attention. Be sure to check back at the TEDxSanAntonio site for Alicia’s presentation so you can hear her story.
An analogous situation to the glass child issue can crop up at work. As leaders in our offices, we have high performing team members that require less supervision and who seem to need us less. They don’t seem to ask for help, they complete their tasks in exemplary fashion, they often pull off the miraculous. For their efforts, they get a quick thank you, if that, and you move along to focus your efforts on the ones that need more attention. The ones you see untapped potential in, if they could just get their work done or show up to meetings on time.
Those that you see potential in still deserve your support and attention. The key is to cherish, develop and recognize they achievers as well. They can become glass men and women in your office because you don’t think they need. Remember, they want and thrive on your attention and efforts as well
, so invest in them and reap the rewards from their accelerated growth as well.
Reading through Dr. Mark Goulston’s blog posts, I noticed a piece about independence. He explains that the successful people he coaches have the follow three attributes in common: self-reliance, resourcefulness and coachability.
Many of us will take on additional responsibility and we’ll look for ways to leverage resources but we miss out on these high levels of success because we miss out on “coachability.” Mark describes it as a person who can “seek, listen to and act upon solid, relevant input from others.”
The difficulty lies in separating attacks from people that look to tear you down, that quiet little voice inside your head telling you that you’re not good enough to move up to the next level and those people that provide you the encouragement and the feedback you need to take the next step towards greatness. Oftentimes, trying to block all the feedback feels like a safer route. We end up with the “I can do it myself, I don’t want to hear it” attitude, then we wonder how we got there. We become 16 again. Instead, opt to redouble your efforts and sharpen your filters to allow you to recognize the difference between poisonous comments that lead to toxic thoughts and valuable feedback that helps you grow and become better. Even people that care about you can provide either of these. Remain vigilant.