How can you as a leader help your employees realize their capabilities?
Here are a few ideas from one business analyst.
1) Perhaps one of the most important things to do is listen. Listen to your employees’ ideas, and to their career goals and aspirations. You may not have the same opinion that they do about the possibility of achieving their goals, but they deserve to be heard. By listening, asking questions, and showing your interest, you encourage their desire to do things, to achieve things, which ultimately will keep your workers more engaged with their jobs, happier and more productive.
For example, even if you don’t think the innovative idea mentioned by an employee will really work, or you don’t think that the employee really has the ability to take on the job he or she aspires to, you owe it to the worker to honor his or her ambition.
2) Take the time to look for what is positive about an employee’s performance or ideas. For many managers, the first instinct is to be negative, under the mistaken assumption that if you encourage an employee with something you will be taking away resources from the company. It’s a kind of view that looks at the world as a zero sum game. If the employee’s pie gets bigger, the company’s pie has to get smaller.
But when you take the time to look for the positive aspects of an employee’s idea or ambition, it becomes a way of growing the pie. And it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of work on your part. For example, you could ask an employee who is looking to move up the ladder to come up with a plan as to how he would do the job he or she is seeking, with an eye toward how the move will benefit employees, managers, the entire company. This allows you to show your interest and allows the employee to think strategically.
3) Even when you are looking for the positive aspects of an employee’s abilities and performance, you still may not be convinced the worker can handle the job he or she is seeking. If that is the case, it may be more helpful to step back and analyze a little all of the various skills the employee has developed. By doing this, you may be able to find a particular skill in which the employee excels, one that can really help the company and the employee’s performance. You then can adjust the worker’s duties accordingly.
As one business analyst has said, great leaders find out what is unique about each worker and focus on it and use it.