Even in this age of analytics, many managers aren’t serious enough about developing their employees’ talents. It’s tempting to think that these tasks fall on the shoulders of the employees themselves. but this is not the case. The truth is, employee development is — and has always been — the responsibility of leadership.
Not sure how to go about cultivating your team’s capabilities? Here are five simple ideas to get you started!
- Hold Regular Meetings
Development doesn’t happen without accountability. This is why you should meet up with your team members regularly to review monthly goals, set new goals, and celebrate successes.
During these meetings, your priority should be to create an open and supportive environment. One way to do that is to provide honest feedback while taking note of each employee’s learning style. Some managers shy away from offering constructive feedback, but your employees must know where they need to improve in order to meet their goals faster.
- Make Networking Introductions
Managers are in a great position to connect their employees to potential mentors, role models, and subject-matter experts. By expanding their development network, you’ll help them realize they’re the ones responsible for their professional growth while reinforcing their personal ownership in the process.
- Ask About Their Goals
Without understanding the specific needs of your employees, you won’t be able to provide the right training and opportunities for them to develop as professionals.
Start by asking them about the challenges they face at work, the most frustrating aspect of their role, and the skills that would help them do their job more effectively. You can also veer into the more personal questions, i.e. asking them where they see themselves in the future. Use the answers as an entry point into understanding your employees’ perspectives.
- Give Stretch Assignments
As the name implies, a stretch assignment is a task that’s given to employees to “stretch” them developmentally and help them grow and learn in a tough situation. As a manager, you should have a good idea which assignments would be good fits for your employees’ career aspirations and development needs.
- Let Them Do Their Jobs
Plenty of managers believe that any job will get done quicker and better if they help get it done. In most cases, however, you’re better off trusting your team to deal with it.
The thing is, trying to do too much will eventually burn you out. Being a high performer through personal productivity can help you become a manager, but it won’t do much when it comes to leading your own team. If your employees are trained and know what’s expected of them, all you need to do is empower them to make decisions.