Stealing Monkeys

By Ron Pereira Updated on May 4th, 2015

I love learning new things… as such yesterday was a very good day as I had the privilege to hear Mike Wroblewski deliver training on Leader Standard Work, TPM, and Time Observation.

For those interested, all of this live training was video taped and will be made available to Gemba Academy members.

During the Leader Standard Work training session Mike was describing how we as leaders shouldn’t solve our employee’s problems for them.

You see, as leaders, many times we want to simply “fix” things. So, when an employee is struggling it’s only natural for us to want to fix it for them.

In other words, we want to remove the monkey from their back.

The problem is by simply removing  the monkey from their back the employee learns nothing which is one of the most important jobs of a leader – to teach.

So, the moral of the story is this… when someone comes to you with a problem don’t steal their monkey.

Do you agree?

  1. Chuck Hersey

    February 16, 2011 - 9:26 am

    Never heard this saying but do love it!

  2. Mike Wroblewski

    February 16, 2011 - 7:43 pm

    Thanks Ron, it was a fun day!. I learned about stealing monkeys last year from Bryan Lund’s blog Training within Industry.

  3. Greg

    February 17, 2011 - 8:51 am

    Like the old axiom….teach them to fish instead of just giving them fish to eat.

  4. Cindy Nelson

    February 17, 2011 - 8:58 am

    I do agree but must confess to stealing many monkeys from my employees. I don’t do this maliciously but agree with you that I am not developing people with this approach.

  5. Stephen Milverton

    February 17, 2011 - 4:57 pm

    There is a great book on this written by Ken Blanchard called: The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey.

    It is a great 20 minute read however explains this concept perfectly. Highly recommended reading.

    The complete one minute manager books are great for anyone interested in learning simple however effective leadership techniques.

  6. The Leadership Dr

    February 17, 2011 - 6:33 pm

    I do agree! Leaders are not managers. They are not supposed to just fix it. They are supposed to enlighten, embolden and encourage others to get the monkey off their own back.

    Steve Young
    The Leadership Dr.

  7. Steve

    March 16, 2011 - 3:00 pm

    I started something similar with my children about two years ago when I told them that as a parent my job is not just to teach them stuff; it is also to teach them to learn for themselves. I have from time to time asked them to do something I knew they didn’t know how to do. The objective was not only to do it; it was also to learn how to do it on their own.

Have something to say?

Leave your comment and let's talk!

Start your Lean & Six Sigma training today.