After what seems like an eternity (and in reality, lasted just over 20 seconds), Jobs answers the question:
“I now take a longer-term view on people. In other words, when I see something not being done right, my first reaction isn’t to go fix it. It’s to say, we’re building a team here. And we’re going to do great stuff for the next decade, not just the next year, and so what do I need to do to help so the person that’s screwing up learns–versus how do I fix the problem.”
There are some major lessons here for anyone tasked with leading a team.
Coach, Don’t Solve
When someone on your team struggles with a problem or makes a mistake, it can be difficult not to jump in and solve it for them. But as Jobs points out, that’s not going to help the person–or the company–in the long run.
Much better is to use those mistakes as teaching opportunities.
For example, you could share instances in which you’ve committed similar missteps, and what you learned from the incident–while recognizing that the individual may still choose to address the problem differently. But sharing these lessons may help spark new ways of thinking. It allows the person to benefit from your experience. Additionally, you become more approachable to your team; they’ll begin to see you as a coach or mentor, instead of just a boss or manager.