Growth and Development for Employee Mastery

One implication of a family-like work environment is that, just like in a family, you want your young ones to learn, grow, and become self-sufficient. Believing in continuous growth of employees not only leads to more “training,” but it leads to greater levels of autonomy, ownership of the work, and more sophisticated performance.

You facilitate employee mastery by sending the message that you believe in your employees: that they are viewed as grown-ups, as wanting to do a great job, and wanting the organization to succeed. This fosters the “less management” approach to leading them; one where you can spend your energy getting behind people instead of controlling or correcting them. In turn, workers move on to measure their success by doing the job well and by contributing; not by the approval or disapproval of their boss.

What you want is independent thinking by your team members. Anything other than that can produce sycophants who repeat back what they think is expected. No creativity, no innovative productivity, and very little job satisfaction.

Teaming itself fosters growth and autonomy. Since team members view one another as peers, they are more apt to contribute, to self correct, and to remind one another of outcome goals. Team members feel that the collective wisdom is in them, not the supervisor. It means they are responsible for finding the answers.

Essential to supporting the move to autonomy and employee mastery is emotional safety. People can think more creatively when they are not so worried that any mistake will get them in trouble. As an organization makes it safe to take on a challenge and the risk of failing, more and more of the staff seek opportunities for growth.

In fact, recent research in neuroscience only underscores this point. When people feel safe and seek growth, their brain releases neurotransmitters that improve brain plasticity and produce a sense of well-being. When there is no safety and people do only what they know, these neurotransmitters and not released, nothing changes, and they are less happy.

Tom DeMaio, PhD

www.DeMaioPsychology.com

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