Do you know what it's like to be on the other side of you? For many people, the Support Challenge Matrix is like looking in a mirror.
We all have tendencies. One of those tendencies is to find it easy to give either support or challenge. No one is naturally good at both.
Challenge: For some, challenge comes naturally. They are good at recognizing and verbalizing how others can and need to grow. They challenge them to improve -- to increase their skill and performance, to stretch outside their comfort zone.
Support: For others, giving support is easy. They cheer family, friends, and coworkers on, celebrating strengths and accomplishments. They are available to help and encourage.
In order to grow and mature, we need both support and challenge.
Dominate: High challenge that lacks support feels like domination. It’s a high-pressure environment in which fear may drive increased performance for a time, but eventually people get burned out and simply pretend to comply.
Protect: Because there is no feedback to suggest change is needed, high support with little challenge creates a culture of entitlement. When pent-up critique is finally shared, it often comes out aggressively – an over-correction from the passivity of withholding critical feedback. When the dust settles, mistrust remains because it is unclear if a lack of critique means “well done” or another round is building.
Abdicate: The worst-case scenario occurs when both support and challenge are low. Projects, relationships, entire companies start to die when there is a withdrawal of both. Gratefully, this is the least common “mirror” in which folks see themselves, but each of us has likely been there for an hour, a day, or a season. We have all checked out at times.
Liberate: For people, causes, companies, and families to thrive, a calibration of high support and high challenge is needed. We need to be challenged to grow and expand our abilities and skills. We need help and encouragement as we risk, sometimes fail, and decide to try again.
Look at the Support Challenge Matrix. Let it be your mirror. In which quadrant do you see yourself today – with yourself, your family, your team? What might you do – today – to calibrate high support and high challenge in these relationships?
Mindset: I will consider what it's like to be on the other side of me, and learn to calibrate high support and high challenge in the lives of those I lead and those I love.