As a manager, you may not feel like helping employees grow is one of your top priorities, but it should be. When employees grow, so does productivity and creativity, and thus, so grows the business.
It may seem counter-intuitive: How does putting time and resources into employees when that time and energy could be going directly toward customers or immediate company goals make any sense? But the answer is pretty simple. When you invest in your employees, you simultaneously build loyalty, skill, and trust. You help create leaders that can steer your company forward. And you also help drastically reduce employee turnover, which is one of the biggest detriments to the bottom line in virtually any company.
Employees who are given opportunities to learn and grow in their positions feel more motivated, more trusted, and more respected. All of that helps improve employee productivity and creativity.
Let’s play a little game of “would you rather” to help illustrate the reasons behind this more clearly:
- Would you rather have an employee who comes to you for approval on every decision that they have to make all day long OR an employee who has the knowledge and confidence to make smart decisions on their own and the business acumen to know which decisions really do need your attention?
- Would you rather have an employee who waits around for you to assign her new tasks OR an employee who feels empowered to think about new projects on her own and bring her best ideas to you?
- Would you rather have an employee who is afraid to contradict you, even when you make a mistake, OR an employee who has had the opportunity to build a mentor/mentee relationship with you and therefore feels comfortable voicing concerns in an appropriate and professional manner?
- Would you rather have an employee who does the same tasks day in and day out, quickly learning to hate his job, OR an employee who is excited to take on new tasks and challenges under your guidance?
Hopefully the answers to all of those scenarios are quite clear.
The next step, then, becomes figuring out how exactly to help your employees learn, grow, and thrive.
The fastest way to get started is by asking them. Have a one-on-one conversation about career goals, motivations, concerns, and questions. You can also turn to assessments to get a better idea of what makes your employees tick as well as what their strengths and vulnerabilities are. Once you have a better sense of the overall work styles of the people who report to you – as well as your own style – you can adjust your leadership to better suit their needs and help them grow.