While it can be hopeful to anticipate someone's potential, and reflective to think about what we used to do when we were in a similar position historically in our career/life, it is a challenge, at times, to meet people where they are...and not where we think they are, or where we wish they were!
Personally and professionally, being willing to see people for whom they are, and for what they are doing, serves us well. While that is a simple concept, doing it is not necessarily easy, as we can be overly optimistic, overly pessimistic, or simply unrealistic.
Before determining what to say or do with someone in any situation, remember to see him or her for the person he or she is, and not what you want them to be or hope they'll be. That can be time consuming...and even lead to the proverbial tongue-biting! Ways to accomplish "meeting people where the are" include:
1) Consider the situation & the options
2) Consider what the person wants to do and not do
3) Discuss options openly (not in a directive way)
4) Ask for reasoning and share yours
5) Offer perspective through stories
6) Keep the others from harming themselves or others in their decisions/actions
7) Let the person make his or her own mistakes and make for his or her own success
Meeting someone where s/he is will allow for leading with empathy while allowing others to grow!