After answering some questions for a newer teammate, she had thanked me for "hand holding her". I instantly cringed. 

In the work context, I see "hand holding" as something you do when you don't have 100% faith in someone (sometimes unconsciously) and want to just get things done instead of instilling learning. 

How empowering as a leader is it to "hand hold" vs support your team?

I responded that I am not a hand holder, I am a spotter.  I support the team and I am here for them as they make their own way. We both thought this was a much better way to describe it.  

We have all been new and needed to ask questions for more understanding. Asking questions is a sign of learning, adding new puzzle pieces to your game and figuring out how to make the new pieces fall into place with pieces you already have from previous experiences.  

Teach a man to fish or give a man a meal?

I know there are times when I am or will be a hand holder, but being conscious of when and why as I am in the moment is important.  I love seeing the light bulbs click as the picture comes into view.  I don't ever want to take that learning away, so I will continue to be a spotter and teacher and recognize opportunities to do just that.  

I would love to hear from you in the comment section...

What are ways you strive to empower your teams (including your team at home aka family)?