Most of us take walking for granted, but it is really a fairly complex task. You've got to coordinate the movement of lots of muscles and direct their actions through your own personal guidance system.
You can learn a lot that will help your supervision from understanding how we learned to walk.
Almost everyone who has got the proper physical equipment learns to walk. Complex task or not, daunting challenge to robotics researchers or not, we all seem to learn to do it.
But not everyone becomes a world-class runner. That takes special skills and talent and development.
Learning to walk is like learning many of the tasks that you will be called upon to supervise. Most of them are things that almost anyone can learn to do.
For just about any skill you can name, one or another of the people who work for you will show an exceptional talent for it. They will learn the task faster, and they will perform at higher levels with less effort than others.
This is really important for you to remember if you were one of those super-talented individual contributors. You may have a tendency to expect others to match your level of performance when that may not be possible, simply because they don't have the talent that you do.
Which leads us to learning. Everybody falls down when they are learning to walk. Everybody fails when they are learning a task.
We praise babies just for trying to walk. In fact, if you have ever been around the new parents of a baby who is just starting to get up to the kneeling position, you will notice that we praise them well before they start to walk.
We praise them for trying to get up. Then we praise them for getting up. Then we praise them for trying to crawl and for crawling, when that happens. We take pictures of baby's first steps and shower the little darling with praise.
Because we encourage them, babies work real hard to try to learn to walk.
The same thing will work with most of your folks. If you encourage them, they are more likely to continue the behaviors you want. Remember: praise the things you want to continue.
What is really important here is that we don't wait until a baby can do the walking task effectively before we praise the baby. We don't wait until that child is able to trot down to the store and pick up some groceries for us.
Instead, we praise the efforts, we praise the small wins, and we get good performance. It works for walking and it works for just about everything your people need to learn.