August 12, 2013

Untap Potential in Those You Lead

By: Kristina Burroughs

Is there untapped potential in those you lead? Do you know what it takes to motivate your staff? If you are an aspiring supervisor or manager on the job hunt or currently in a position of leadership in your organization at any level, taking the time to understand who you are managing is an essential ingredient to your overall team’s success. Developing human talent takes a customized approach to individual employees rather than the traditional ‘one size fits all’ type of model. Learning the capabilities, untapped potential, and ways to keep your team motivated and fulfilled, all will contribute to a healthy, innovative, and enjoyable work culture.

Here are a few keys to unlocking the potential on your team:
1. SCHEDULE TIME TO GET TO KNOW YOUR EMPLOYEES. When you meet, don’t focus solely on the tasks they have accomplished but genuinely ask them how they are doing in their role. Solicit feedback and foster open dialogue about where they would like to go with their career. Some may know their goals but others may not. You might just find out they are not sure of their future goals and that is where you come in. Call out the unique contributions they make to the team and ensure they are aware of what they are really good at. You have more influence than you realize as a manager.

2. TAKE TIME TO INVEST IN SOME TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES. There are many team building assessments available. Even though team building workshops can seem like a drain on time and the bottom line, investing in your employees pays long term dividends if both of you learn something about each other. The more you can strengthen your relationships with your team, the less energy it will take to lead them. If team building is not your strength, it might be a good investment of your time to partner with your HR team and/or learn more about the subject. Good managers/leaders take a genuine interest in the development of those they lead.

3. FIND A MENTOR OR CONNECT WITH A PROFESSIONAL CONSULTANT. Your HR team is a great resource. They work with people and are involved with human development every day. They may be able to point you towards resources and training opportunities, and also provide support and/or suggestions to you as the manager and/or aspiring manager. Most HR professionals genuinely enjoy helping others and are probably more willing to help than you might think. Use the resources available to you.

There is no way around it. If you want to manage and/or lead people, then take a vested interest in the development of those on your team. It’s a part of your job description as a manager. Although most of those responsibilities are not explicitly spelled out, you are responsible for hiring the right people for your team – and then ensuring that employees are in the right position to reach the objectives of your organization or department.

Kristina Burroughs is a recruiter with the Center for Shared Services. This post was originally posted on the CSS Blog.