How To Handle a Monkey

The image displays the words “Without Stress Tips” in white against a blue background along a gold lotus blossom.

When we do things for people that they can do for themselves, we deprive them of the opportunity to learn, grow, and become more self-sufficient.

Here is a technique I used as an elementary, middle, and high school principal and as a district director of education.

When my office was large enough to hold a table as well as my desk, I immediately welcomed the person and offered a seat at the table. This immediately removed any feelings of my being in an authority position.

I listened, and if the conversation was about a problem that I thought the person could handle, I immediately envisioned a monkey sitting on the person’s shoulder. My intent was to be sure that when the person left, the monkey left, too.

In the conversation, I asked reflective questions and offered suggestions so the person became convinced that handling the challenge without my help would be more effective than if I handled the challenge.

In the back of my mind was my philosophy that, if I handled a problem that the person could handle her/himself, I would be depriving the person of an opportunity and the satisfaction that comes with success.

Tip: When a person wants to give you a monkey, decline the offer.