Since the beginning of this year, all my video blogs have been focused on specific and practical tips to develop your employees. Today we’re up to Strategy #10: offer constructive feedback.
Offer constructive feedback
A sure-fire way to grow and develop your employees is to make it a point to offer them constructive feedback, information that they can use to change their behaviours and actions to give them better outcomes and results. The key word here of course is “constructive”.
In order for feedback to be constructive, there are some definite dos and don’ts. Here are five specific things to take into account: Continue reading →
In strategy #8 in our continuing series on employee development ideas, I said that a great way to help employees grow was to find opportunities to showcase their strengths. While that may seem paradoxical, the logic is that when staff are given chance to shine, it boosts their self-confidence which then carries over into other more difficult situations. So following from that is Strategy #9 in employee development ideas: make it safe to make mistakes.
Make it safe to make mistakes
The old adage – you polish your skills by doing it right, but you learn from making mistakes – fully applies. Development and growth only happens when people are willing to push the envelope, to go beyond the tried-and-true, to step outside their comfort zones and do something different. But that comes with risks – that things may go wrong, or not work out as hoped or intended. The risk is that when people go beyond what is currently being done, they may make a mistake, or even, in the harsh light of hindsight, fail. But if it becomes dangerous to make mistakes, employees simply will stop taking risks of any sort. And then, they will ultimately stop learning and growing. Continue reading →
Find opportunities to showcase your people’s strengths
An important component of developing your employees is to build up their self-esteem and their confidence, and when we, as leaders, can find ways to highlight and showcase their strengths, we set our people up to succeed! Every employee has certain things they are good at. Perhaps one of your staff members is very strong analytically, and a second is good at doing presentations. Maybe one of your people is very detail-oriented, and another has a knack for seeing the big picture implications of a situation. Yet another has demonstrated expertise in complicated negotiations.
Whatever an employee’s strengths, when you give assignments that emphasize those attributes, you also give the employee an opportunity to shine. And when employees get the satisfaction that comes with not only doing the job well, but knowing that others also observe them at their best, their self-confidence climbs. Continue reading →
In last week’s video instalment in our ongoing series on specific ideas for employee development and growth, I told you that getting your staff to train others is a very powerful way to improve their skill level. Here is another. Answer questions with another question.
Answer questions with another question
As leaders, employees often come to us with questions, and our natural instinct is to answer. After all, we’re the leaders, right? But in fact, we can significantly boost employee development simply by choosing to instead ASK questions of our employees instead of just answering them. Let me explain.
When an employee comes to you with an issue or challenge, just giving them an answer may seem like the most expedient approach, particularly if you happen to know the answer. But you will be losing out on a perfect opportunity for employee development. Instead, if you make it a point to ask open-ended questions, you will actually help the employee think through the situation and arrive at an acceptable solution, all the while, helping them grow in skill and confidence.
This one is so brilliant that I am always astonished when people seem surprised to hear this! For thousands of years, people have known that the best way to understand a concept is to explain it to someone else. In fact, the Roman philosopher Seneca is credited with saying “While we teach, we learn,” in the 1st century AD. And this notion is absolutely applicable in the workplace, to great advantage.
If you want to grow and develop your staff, get them to train others. Sure, the obvious benefit is that it will help them develop greater depth in whatever their area of expertise is, but the advantages go far beyond that. Continue reading →
In my last instalment in this video series on employee leadership development, I explained how showing your people that you’re vulnerable will create an atmosphere in which continuous learning is encouraged and supported. Today’s strategy is to regularly share information with your employees on your organization’s long-term goals and plans.
Let your employees know about long-term goals and plans
There is an old saying – “If you don’t know where you’re going, don’t be surprised if you don’t get there.” And it certainly applies here. If your employees don’t know what your goals and intentions are for the long-term, then they will not be in any position to help you get there. In fact, they may inadvertently work at cross-purposes to your plans, simply because they don’t know any better.
But … if you share this information with them frequently and regularly, then the opposite will happen. Continue reading →
Today I’m continuing our ongoing series focused on creating workplace environments that foster employee learning and help you develop and grow your employees. My last strategy on this topic was to set an example by being a positive role model for continuous learning. Following from that strategy is today’s tip: show your people that it’s okay to be vulnerable.
Show your people that it’s okay to be vulnerable
If you get it wrong, admit your mistake. If you make an error in judgement, apologize. If things didn’t work out exactly the way you’d hoped, ask for feedback from those involved. Sometimes, the feedback you will need will be from your staff. But that’s not a bad thing. Every time you demonstrate vulnerability as a leader, paradoxically you show great strength of character. And the real bonus for developing and growing your people is that it creates an environment that encourages openness and honesty, which nurtures employee learning. When employees know that it’s okay to show vulnerability, they are more open to listening and considering alternate approaches to problems and issues.
As a leader, when you are willing to admit mistakes and move forward, when you demonstrate that you’re a continuous learner who is open to feedback, you show your employees that vulnerability is actually a sign of strength. It may seem contradictory, but it’s the irony that makes it so powerful.
So, I often get pushback on this one when I bring it up in my live leadership seminars. What do you think? Does this make sense, or is it a recipe for disaster? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below.
It’s been almost two weeks since I posted our last tip in our new video series for 2019 on creating an environment that fosters employee growth and development. Tip #2 was to support your employees’ career aspirations. But I’m back today with Tip #3: set an example by being a positive role model for continuous learning.
Set the example as a continuous learner
Don’t just tell your people that you believe in employee growth and development, show them. If you expect them to continue to develop and grow as employees, then be prepared to also walk the talk.
Demonstrate that you are a continuous learner by attending training programs – both shorter lunch-and-learn sessions, and longer full-day or extended programs. Display that you’re open to new learning by listening to what the subject matter experts on your team have to say. And ask intelligent questions about the information they are sharing to show that you value their expertise. If you’re not completely up to speed on the nuances of social media, ask your tech-savvy staff to reveal some of their favourite tips and tricks. Even better, have one of them do a short presentation at your next team meeting.
My point is that if you want your staff to buy into employee growth and development, then you need to set an example by doing the same. So be a positive role model.
I’ll be back next week (I promise) with the next strategy in this series. But in the meantime, I’d like to know what you think. What gets in the way of you investing in continuous learning? I’ll tell you what I hear most often – lack of time for supervisors and managers. Is that true for you as well? How do you get past it? Please share your experiences by commenting below.
Earlier this month, I kicked off our brand-new video series on employee development strategies with our first tip: invest in training. Today’s strategy: ask about and support your employees’ career aspirations.
Support your employees’ career aspirations
This is a two-parter. First, you need to make the time to ask. I always recommend that supervisors and managers schedule a 30-minute coffee meeting with each of their employees sometime within the first six months of their working relationship. The coffee meeting doesn’t actually have to involve coffee (even though it may). But it should be away from the immediate workspace.
The purpose of this meeting is to talk about the employee, and not necessarily about their current job responsibilities. Sure, current issues may come up in the course of the conversation. But the real goal of the coffee meeting is to find out more about the employee at a personal level. Who they are, their interests, their families, their hobbies, and yes, their career goals and aspirations. Make the meeting about the employee. And pay attention specifically to what they tell you about what they want to accomplish during their careers.
Earlier this month, I promised that this year I would give you a series of frequent quick video blogs focusing specifically on ways to develop employees – explicit, pragmatic and actionable ideas to develop and grow your people not only into accomplished professionals, but also the future leaders in your organization. Today, I am excited to kick off this brand-new series with one specific suggestion that I hope you’ll find quick and easy to implement. And expect more of the same in the weeks and months to come.
Invest in training
So here is the first instalment in ways to develop employees: invest in training. Not much of a surprise, is it? The key word here is “invest”. An investment creates an expectation of a positive return on that investment, and thoughtful, good-quality training rarely disappoints. When you invest time and money into training and professional development for your people, it tells them that you value them, and it is this very aspect of the training investment that causes people to pay attention, absorb and put their learnings into action, all for the benefit of your organization.