One of the best leadership gifts for your team is developing your employees. I talk about this concept often as it’s a best practice of the effective every-day leader. When combined with the notion of gift-giving, however, you’ll see it’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.
“Before you are a leader, success is about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is about growing others.” – Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
You’ve heard the saying when you teach a man to fish, he’ll never go hungry. The wisdom here is that when you develop others’ skills beyond what they currently display, you are empowering them to help themselves AND those around them. Think of how efficient your organization can be when this happens! Employees will clamor to be on your team, you’ll retain high performers and increase intrinsic motivation.
How to Develop Your Team
Instill Confidence: When your employee comes to you with an issue, don’t jump in with solutions. Probe them to see how they can solve their own problem. Offer guidance only as needed and affirm their critical thinking skills.
Assign Tasks Appropriately: Stretch your team only when the situation allows for leeway in time and resources. Once your employee has mastered their primary job and also expressed a desire to expand, assign an appropriate stretch goal to help them grow. .
Prepare Your Bench: I once had a manager that told me to “push tasks to the lowest level”. This means that mid-senior level talent shouldn’t waste headspace on menial spreadsheets or reports. What tasks can you take off your seniors' plates and give to juniors? You’ll grow the early-stage learners while freeing up those that can contribute strategically to the organization.
Reward Results: Money talks in any organization but you can reward good results in other ways too. Give performance feedback on a daily basis and during monthly meetings to better understand what people value most.
As the year ends, I hope you take stock of how you’ve been developing your team and what you’d like to continue doing into the new year. When you’re ready to develop yourself and other leaders on your team, reach out to me. Happy holidays to you and your family!