Facilitating Employee Growth and Development

Facilitating employee growth and development is not the same as merely providing training opportunities.  It is about creating a culture where people are encouraged to learn, grow, and advance.  In such a culture everyone is seen as an asset to the organization.  Everyone is expected to make a contribution both to the achievements and processes of the company.  Employees must be treated as adults who can figure out new problems in the workplace.

This sounds obvious, doesn’t it?  You’d be surprised.  All too often management wants to be seen as the font of all knowledge and the controller of all outcomes.  As with all humans, they like to be important, sometimes morphing into parental supervisory roles.  But this is a huge mistake.  Management must see itself in partnership with employees.  The partnership fosters an adult to adult relationship which in turn creates the atmosphere most supportive of employee growth.

This is what we mean at DeMaio Psychology when we talk about a safe and supportive environment. In this environment there is an active effort by leadership to reduce fears of failure and rejection.  It was Deming who made it clear that we must “stamp out fear” in the workplace. Fear undermines the initiative to seek mastery by making growth seem dangerous. People will not take the risks of growth when there are personal dangers of judgment, retribution, or criticism.

None of this is to say that people shouldn’t be held accountable to work goals.  The process of feedback and evaluation can and should be accomplished in a supportive manner; it is not personal.  Feedback is provided in the spirit of wanting the employee to succeed.  It conveys to the employee that their performance is necessary for organizational success.

Managers can facilitate employee growth and development by making it part of their employees’ job goals.  When managers sit down and review their employees’ growth it conveys caring as well as cultural expectation. In these meetings appropriate goals can be determined; ones which are to be achieved in incremental, manageable steps.  Growth that is incremental is experienced as safe and attainable.

Tom DeMaio, PhD

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