Leaders Encourage the Growth and Development of their Employees

Being part of a family is an important source of security for people. Another important source is feeling that you have mastery in your environment. People like to feel like they know what they are doing and that they can accomplish their tasks. Yes, it’s true, people really want to grow. As a leader, you want to be right there supporting the growth and development of your employees.

On one level this is technically smart for your organization. You want your people to be improving their knowledge and skills for their task accomplishment. Well trained people do their jobs technically better and faster. Mistakes are reduced and there is greater organizational efficiency.

But there are more important less tangible benefits to encouraging employee personal growth and development. Offering opportunities for professional development is another way to show you care for your staff. When workers perceive that you are interested in their growth they feel you have their interest at heart. They will give back to organization both technically and with their hearts. They will perform better and do it with greater self direction and autonomy.

One leader described how she conducted the annual evaluations of her team members. She asked them about their development goals for the coming year. She encouraged them to think about their training in terms of their career goals, five, 10, and even 20 years into the future. From her point of view she owed it to them as their leader to help them make sure that in 20 years they had 20 years of experience, not one year of the same experience repeated twenty times over. You can bet her employees appreciated her.

A key part to encouraging employee growth is making it safe for people to take some risks, and make some mistakes. People are amazingly afraid to fail. Fear of failure is the biggest deterrent to growth. Consequently, you as a leader support people and avoid being critical. Of course, it is the trick of leadership to simultaneously maintain your supportive presence without letting go of accountability.

Tom DeMaio, PhD


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