As a Leader you have to invest in your people. You also need to encourage them to match your investment with a solid investment of their own time, energy and resources. Professional development works best when it is a collaboration between partners, and when both partners are investing in themselves and in one another. If any of the partners stops investing, the development begins to slow down or stop. Go first, and invest in your people. Then, talk to them and help them to get strongly motivated to invest of themselves in their own development. With both of you investing, the investment will reach a healthy return in a reasonable timeframe. There’s no time to start that is better than now.
Create Opportunities For Growth & Learning – Occasionally I hear Business Owners and C-Suite Executives claiming that they have a hard time getting their people to invest in themselves and to grow. They claim that their people lack commitment and ownership. I have learned that when you inspire your people, you can rest assured that almost every one of them will be willing to learn and grow. The trick is in having a conversation with them where you emphasize that developing ourselves is EVERYONE’S responsibility! Don’t punish your employee associates for every little mistake that they make, rather, encourage them to make just enough mistakes to enable themselves to learn quickly and become smarter and stronger by learning from every mistake. You must support risk taking by tolerating mistakes and encouraging your people to get comfortable taking risks, all in the name of quickly becoming better prepared for the future. Cross train your teams, and ensure that everyone on the team learns their job and also the jobs of one or two others, so that you can easily handle illness, leaves, vacations, and the training time that take people away from their day to day responsibilities from time to time. Doing these things will send a strong signal to your team that you are investing in their advancement, and enabling their professional development. Change is coming, and by preparing your team to grow and learn, they become more confident and competent in handling the changes when they arrive.
Encourage Community In Your Workplace – I’ve worked with a lot of highly successful fast-growth companies over the years, as a leader, as an employee, and also as a consultant and coach. One attribute that every fast-growth company has had, if they were poised for continued success, is that the Leadership Team was aligned and enjoyed working together. The Employee Associates of those companies also felt connected to their Leadership and they identified with their teammates. Each of the best fast-growth companies in the high technology industry has carefully cultivated a culture of learning and winning together as a team. It’s the identification of each Employee Associate with the team they belong to that makes these companies great. So, get clear about how important it is to encourage community on your team. When your team has close friends in the workplace, they will be happier and more engaged than a company of cold, distant professionals who don’t want to win together and have fun while they’re doing it. Reduce your turnover to nearly nothing. Deep relationships in the workplace with your peers, based upon a very high level of trust, will create the conditions that will turn your organization into a dynasty.
Great Managers foster relationships between the people who work in their organizations, and create the conditions that lead to success, repeatable success, predictable success. I’ve noticed that people love winning. They especially love winning together. It’s fantastic to finish first. However, if you’re alone when you cross the finish line, it’s nowhere as satisfying and fulfilling as finishing first TOGETHER with your friends and having a celebration to end all celebrations. Invest in your people. Provide your people with opportunities to develop into their best selves, and the best teams. Foster relationships between these colleagues and they will become fast friends. Fast friends work together gleefully, and they tend to be far more loyal when they identify with and belong to a team.
Michael Beach is the host of the “What Are YOU Doing? Podcast, which you can find on Apple, Spotify, Libsyn or at www.michaelbeachcoach.com. The podcast teaches how to invest in developing leadership in your colleagues, and provides the best practices that Emerging Leaders need to implement if they want to become great leaders themselves. Join us for an episode soon!