Developing People: increasing the dimensions of their boundaries

Developing people, in my opinion, is one of the most important responsibilities of a manager, and so when I read this post Leading Blog: A Leadership Blog @ LeadershipNow: James Kilts on Developing People, I realized that the boundaries we set on our people may limit or enhance their growth.  The author of this post notes an analogy to a Japanese carp, known as a koi to make the point.

The fascinating thing about the koi is that if you keep it in a small fish bowl, it will grow to be only about two to three inches long. Place the koi in a larger tank or small pond and it will reach six to ten inches. Put it in a large pond, and it may get as long as a foot and a half. However, if you put it in a huge lake where it can really stretch out, it has the potential to reach sizes up to three feet.


People, like the koi, will grow to the dimensions of their boundaries. Fortunately, unlike koi, we have the advantage of helping our people select their boundaries. And it is the leader’s job to set the kind of boundaries that allow people to reach their full potential.

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