The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

The desire to feel needed

Last year, any time I played golf in my club, an old man was sitting in front of hole #1 waiting to welcome any of our golfers. He would ask us our names and make sure we wouldn’t start playing until the previous flight had enough distance.

We were greeted with a smile, and he had the opportunity to have a small chat, but even more so, to feel needed. For him, this had become a task with which he felt like supporting the club and the golfers.

It doesn’t matter if he was truly needed. It was sufficient that he felt needed.

He had found a place for himself where he could attend to this need.

One may smile at his job and at how he cared for himself. But he did something important.

He was self-aware enough to know that he needed that feeling but also to know how to serve that need. And the way he chose to serve this need brought a smile to all those meeting him.

For many, work is the place where they feel needed. And sometimes it is the only place where they can serve this need.

There is a risk attached to this need. It is whatever happens when the feeling of being needed starts to disappear, when one starts to ask oneself how one can add value to the situation.

The risk is to create the circumstances leading to being needed. Maybe through keeping valuable data to oneself so that others need to come and ask for them. Or through some kind of micromanagement where others have to frequently report so that decisions can be made. Or through being critical and emphasizing problems that are being perceived.

Whenever leaders start doing this, they find themselves at the heart of the action and decision. It may lead to little happening without them.


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