Do you work in a place where your gifts and talents are not only valued and appreciated but also allowed to flourish? If you are in a leadership position, do you allow your employees to explore and expand their talents?
When employees work in a job where they can utilize their gifts and talents, they grow, have less anxiety, and produce more, which in turn increases the bottom line. The company maximizes their employees’ strengths. Below are some strategies you can use as a manager to create this kind of growth environment for your employees:
Trust your employees that they can do their job. That’s why you hired them in the first place. Micromanaging your employees will only create anxiety and you will eventually lose them. No one likes to be micromanaged!
Challenge your employees with new things where they can use other talents they may not have an opportunity to use in their daily work. Doing this will encourage them to continue to grow and will re-energize them. They will also appreciate that you think of them beyond their job. They are now developing as a person too.
Know your employees at the personal level and learn about their individual strengths. You can use tools like the Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment to help you identify their raw talents that have the potential of becoming strengths. You can also use the Myers Briggs assessment or the DISC tool to help you understand them and help you create an environment where they can grow and flourish. When you get to know your employees and provide additional opportunities to grow, their loyalty towards you and towards the company will significantly increase. Even when employees don’t like their jobs very much, they now have a new reason to stay—new learning opportunities.
As employees get re-energized by learning new things, they also get motivated to continue learning and that in itself propels them to increase their productivity. They can’t wait to finish their daily (routine) work so they can get to the “fun stuff” and the “new responsibilities.”
You will also notice that errors will decrease because employees now feel the burden of loyalty and don’t want to disappoint you as their manager. They want to succeed with the new duties and projects because they feel you trusted them with something different beyond their regular job. They feel special.
Lastly and probably most importantly, you will notice your employees’ attitude will improve and they will be more positive. Employees like to be trusted and want to feel valued.
As an employee, you can also create an environment where you can flourish even when your manager or the organization does not provide it for you. Here are some strategies you can use:
Create new opportunities for yourself and propose ideas. When I was working at Marquette Capital Bank and the online banking product was going to be introduced back in 1995, I saw an amazing opportunity to create a new position. I proposed a new job called, “Online Banking Specialist” and my role was to go to our private banking customers’ homes or offices to load the software (Intuit Quicken or Microsoft Money) and teach the clients how to download their transactions, make transfers, and pay bills. The bank was looking for someone to become an expert on this new product and I was it! My new job was a success and to this day was one of my favorite jobs in banking.
Initiate the conversation. Another thing you can do is to approach your manager and let them know you are interested in doing additional duties even if they are beyond the scope of your job. This tells your manager you are willing to learn and are not afraid to try new things.
Self-disclose. You can also take some of these assessments on your own and then share them with your manager. Most managers will appreciate it and will gain from knowing you better. I understand that most of us, at some point in our working lives, encounter a bad manager who doesn’t “get it” or has no interest in developing his/her employees but those should hopefully be the exception.
As a manager, enjoy developing your employees. You will feel so much more fulfilled and will reap the rewards.
As an employee, enjoy your job, learn everything you can from it while you’re there and explore new opportunities right where you are.