Monday, November 4, 2013

Leaders Are You Developing Your Employees

One of the most important qualities of a good leader is the ability and desire to develop their employees. Taking an active role in the development of your team demonstrates confidence and concern for the future of the organization.

All people have more energy and ability within them than they could ever imagine. Your job, as a leader, is to discover this truth for the benefit of your organization as well as yourself. When you discover someone’s potential, you can help her develop her potential and become more productive and skillful. There is no service better than helping others to soar to excellence and become better human beings.

Unfortunately, many organizations do not plan properly for the development of their people and teams. People development without proper planning in place normally results in internal and external conflict, which leads to confusion, low productivity, less motivation, and therefore loss in various ways. When the right plan for development is designed based on the employees’ needs, desires, and potential the expected positive outcome will be achieved.

You can’t move forward if you don’t grow and you can’t grow if you never leave your comfort zone. When possible, give your employees challenging assignments. Help them prepare by providing them a safe environment to learn from the mistakes that they are bound to make.

Most people want to learn and grow their skills at work. Encourage experimentation and taking reasonable risk to develop employee skills. Get to know them personally. Ask what motivates them. Ask what career objectives they have and are aiming to achieve. You can make their career.

There is nothing more demotivating than feeling you’re in a dead-end job. Talk to employees about what direction they’d like to see their career path take, and help them identify opportunities for personal and professional development that will help them achieve those goals. Share with them ideas they can use for their own career management within the organization. Move past any fear you may have of your employees leaving – by caring about their growth and aspirations, you will probably get a more productive, loyal, and longer-term team member than if you don’t have these conversations.

Managerial training responsibilities extend far beyond simply going over work procedures and sending employees to classes when they need to master a new skill. Effective workforce training is an ongoing process that requires supervisors to engage in ongoing skill development with their employees. Managers must engage in informal training needs assessment on an ongoing basis, paying attention to employees' strengths and weaknesses and identifying gaps that can be overcome through training opportunities.

In order to get the most from your employees, you need to invest time and resources in their development. Annual performance reviews simply aren’t enough. Make a point to sit down with each employee on a monthly basis (or more frequently, if possible) and provide them with specific feedback and areas of improvement.

Creating a positive learning environment will encourage development and help your employees gain confidence in their position. Learning should be relaxed and clearly explain the reasoning behind every new exercise and lesson. Negativity will only inhibit the learning process, so it's important to be patient, allow for mistakes, and always reward new achievements. This positive feedback will reinforce and affirm the efforts of your employees, and encourage them to continue learning.

Remember, as a manager, one of your primary duties is to develop your people. Your employees are your most important resource.

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