The Growth and Development of Employees

At HerschDeMaio we believe employees want to learn and grow in their jobs.  We aren’t just optimistic about employees; as psychologists we know this about human nature. People are hardwired to be curious, to learn new things, and to solve problems. They want to figure out new things.  On the job employees look for opportunities for growth so that they can achieve mastery.

Our ancestors survived and flourished in harsh environments not simply because they had reasoning skills, but because they found satisfaction in using them.  It’s why people are drawn to puzzles.  They enjoy proving that they can master and manage their surroundings.  Research consistently identifies the attainment of mastery as the most important source of job satisfaction.

When growth and development are fostered, the employees move toward being autonomous problem solvers, participating in the growth of the business.  They need less push, less management, and less control.  They function more like adults, capable of teaming for high performance.

Of course, any experienced manager would argue that not every employee is willing to grow.  And that is true.  For some workers the desire for mastery is blunted, usually because they are afraid of failure and rejection.  These employees opt for a safe and secure method of doing their jobs, and they cling to what they know.  The responsibility of leaders and managers is not only to create opportunities for growth and mastery, but to provide the staff with the support they need to take advantage of it.  They create a culture that encourages the naturally desired acquisition and integration of new skills. 

Creating the culture that facilitates the desire for growth and master is a function of our first three principles: providing acceptance, nurturance and, a family-like atmosphere.  When this kind of support is available in the work environment, employees can optimally learn, grow and master the tasks the organization needs to accomplish.

More on the impact of this principle next time.

Tom DeMaio, PhD

Principal Consultant

  1. Carolyn Marion, LPC
    November 1, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I’m interested in more of your insights into the Family Dynamic in the Work Environment. The melding of many different family systems into one common system can be very challenging particularly if the component parts are varied on the functioning scale.

    • November 2, 2010 at 7:54 am

      Hi Carolyn,
      I agree, the melding of many different family systems can indeed be very challenging. This is a significant problem where there are separated teams in an organization. For instance in hospital settings, universities, and many businesses there are completely separate departments. The separate groups can have very different cultures, sometimes at odds with one another. The framework Lee and I have developed suggests that this will happen naturally (because of family dynamics) unless there is a concerted effort to create a larger “extended family” or organizational culture. The key is in the upper level leadership working toward common processes and goals. The work of leadership is to help their teams be aligned with the mission, values and goals of the larger organization.
      Tom DeMaio

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