Learn How to Develop Your Employees’ Full Potential

Investing in employees is the most important thing a manager can do. A well-developed employee is more productive, can perform higher-level tasks and can help recruit and retain stronger team players. “When you take the time to develop your employee, they will produce more for your company,” said Norman Wolfe, CEO of Quantum Leaders, Inc.

At the January MAP Alliance forum, Wolfe urged business leaders to shift their focus from results-driven to employee-driven. He described four key steps to employee success:

  1. Expectations – Set clear expectations to help your employees succeed. If employees don’t know what’s expected of them, they can’t do a good job. As a leader, you need to set clear expectations early.
  2. Resources – Provide the resources necessary for your employees to fulfill set expectations. If your expectations are out of alignment with the resources provided, you are setting them up to fail.
  3. Capability – Evaluate whether your employees have the skill level to meet your expectations. “Skill development is determined by the employees’ willingness to grow,” said Wolfe. “As a leader, all you can do is offer feedback and context. The rest is up to them.”
  4. Commitment/desire/engagement – Check in with employees frequently to measure their commitment to the job. Motivation can’t be forced.

Wolfe added four ways to gauge whether you’re doing all you can for your employees:

  1. Are your employees learning? – People inherently want to learn and grow. They want to be challenged and stretched while feeling capable and supported along the way.
  2. Are your employees contributing? – Most people want to feel that what they do matters. Tell them how their role matters to the company.
  3. Do they belong? – Humans are naturally social creatures. Employees need to feel that they belong. A little gratitude, appreciation and acceptance go a long way.
  4. Do they have choices? – The easiest way to empower employees is to give them choices. Without choices in their day, they will begin to resent their position.

“Remember, everyone you hire at first will be incapable in some capacity,” said Wolfe. “If they were perfect for the job, they wouldn’t be applying for that job.” Wolfe advised leaders to handle employees with care and allow them to make mistakes. “That’s where the growing happens,” he said. “We are all children growing up in our next phase of life.”

Originally published on WSU Vancouver Business Department webpage