Have you heard the new term “quiet quitting?” It is a symptom of a disengaged employee. What can you do to combat this? Start by thinking of a leader you have had in your past who made you feel fully engaged. Chances are they had your development in mind. They cared not only about your success but also your sense of fulfillment.
Here are seven ways you can develop the people on your team.
- Good leaders delegate to develop their people. I know we have all said to ourselves, “I can do it faster and better if I do it myself.” I am here to tell you that every time you don’t delegate, it is an opportunity lost that could provide growth and development for someone on your team. Assign tasks to your team members that align with their strengths to increase their engagement and success. Delegation requires a reasonable investment of your time and guidance plus a willingness to trust that your team can carry things out to your standards. With a little practice (and a willingness to let go of the need to control), you’ll soon see delegation as a win-win leadership strategy that grows and develops you and your people.
- Good leaders develop their teams by being generous with their time. Investing your time in your team not only helps to develop your staff but also communicates to them that you care about their success. They need this recognition from you as their leader. Oftentimes, as leaders, we find ourselves busy, with too much on our plates. Your time, your guidance, your coaching, and your ability to share your knowledge with your team will develop skilled, competent employees. Knowing you’re accessible and they have your support, they will be more engaged and willing to take on “stretch” projects that develop their skills.
- Good leaders co-create employee development plans individualized to each team member. Development can happen in two ways. It can either be like an arrow heading to the bullseye or like a slow, meandering river, eventually making its way to the ocean. If I am guessing correctly, I am sure you would prefer the bullseye approach. To do that, you need to make time for intentional, co-created development plans. Sit down with your staff and be curious about who they are and what drives them. Take the time to learn about their goals and their strengths. Development plans focus on ways employees can grow and what skills they can sharpen to take their performance to the next level. Just because there may not be any positions available at the next level or the option for a pay raise, does not mean you should shy away from co-creating an employee development plan. Once you have a plan in place, treat it like a living document and do quarterly check-ins. Ask your employee, “Is everything still on track?” “Has anything changed that needs to be adjusted in the plan?” and “How can I support you?”
- Good leaders model servant leadership to develop their teams. As a leader, your role is to align your team with the mission, vision, and strategy of the organization and inspire in them the passion to do the work required to get there. The servant leader never asks others to do what they themselves wouldn’t do as a member of the team. I invite you to ask yourself, “How can I serve?” and “What does my team need from me?” Or better yet, ask your team directly! A servant leader models the traits of humility, generosity, and kindness. When you approach your role as a servant leader, you’ll find your team will be honored to pursue and carry out the strategy and tactics necessary to fulfill the mission and vision.
- Good leaders develop people by creating a diverse team. Would you consider your team diverse? Does your team represent various perspectives, ways of thinking, and influencing? Do you have a healthy blend of backgrounds, genders, ethnicities, and ages? Diversity helps solve challenges and reach the best outcomes by incorporating different talents, ideas, experience and expertise. When you cultivate diversity, you give your team members the opportunity to contribute what they do and know best. We tend to gravitate towards those who are like us, so be intentional, think through where you lack diversity and begin to create a more well-rounded team.
- Good leaders develop people by being both boss and coach. In order to be a boss who is also a coach, you need to help the individuals on your team find purpose and fulfillment in their work because that’s what drives engagement. One of the best ways to coach your employees is to give frequent, forward-focused feedback that grows and develops natural talent, helping your employees to thrive by doing what they do best. The coach knows that the conversation is the relationship, as Susan Scott says in her book, Fierce Conversations. Coaching your employees is about asking them thoughtful questions that help increase their sense of self-awareness and their ability to self-regulate for better outcomes. As a boss who is also a coach, you are invested in your employees’ personal and professional development because you know that today’s skills may not solve tomorrow’s problems. Sometimes employees simply need to be told what to do but more often than not, they need to be coached.
- Good leaders develop people by helping convert their natural talents into strengths. Gallup® research shows that strengths-based development helps companies realize up to 19% increased sales, 29% increased profit, 7% higher customer engagement — and 72% lower attrition.* As a leader, you must assess your team and understand where each person excels. Focusing on development with strengths as a foundation, supports your team members’ natural skills, and helps them get better at what comes most naturally to them. When leaders recognize the unique lens that each employee brings to the team, they strategically place them in the role that best suits their natural abilities. By focusing on what’s right with people, good leaders find untapped potential and help convert that potential into high-achieving outcomes.
I hope that you find these tips helpful and have learned a few new ways to develop your team!