Doting parents are ultimately working to make themselves obsolete: they want to nurture their child so that child can grow up to be independent and no longer need their constant care. Like good parents, good bosses must nurture their employees, foster growth and provide opportunities for them to be their very best.
Ultimately, encouraging employees to flourish is best for the business. Employees who feel cared for and challenged will be more productive and provide a jolt of fresh energy to the company. Here are a few ways to make your employees feel that way right now.
Perhaps one of the most important tasks of a manager or boss is noticing when your employees are understimulated. Boredom is dangerous—it decreases productivity and breeds resentment and low-quality work.
The only way to correct boredom is if one can identify it. Your team members might not always know when they’re in need of a new challenge. Your job as a leader is to help identify those needs and provide for them.
Changes in routine are a common sign that an employee isn’t effectively challenged by their work. When work is no longer stimulating, an employee might be leaving earlier, arriving later or socializing more during work hours. Additionally, a bored employee might demonstrate a lack of concentration or a negative attitude toward their existing responsibilities. While this behavior isn’t acceptable and appropriate feedback should be provided, the employee’s behavior might improve dramatically if they are given a responsibility or project that challenges and inspires them.
Prepare for Upward Growth
Always know what the next step is for an employee. Good leaders think one step ahead at all times. That applies to employee development, too. Consider natural promotions for each employee, even if they aren’t quite ready to move up. If you have considered these promotions in advance, you can provide employees with a seamless transition when the time comes. This steady growth will keep staff happy and satisfied at work.
A promotion also requires you to find a replacement to take care of the promoted employee’s former tasks. This might require appointing a new member to the team, or a reorganization of responsibility within the existing team (tasks that were old and boring to one employee might be exciting and challenging for another). Furthermore, the promoted employee might enjoy the balance challenge of taking on new duties while still executing old ones.
Above all, it’s about preparation. I have often explained that hiring is an ongoing process—leaders should always be on the lookout for new talent, even when there are no open positions at their company. If you have a pool of go-to potentials, you’ll never be holding an existing employee back because you can’t find someone to fill their old position.
Understand and Act On Each Employee’s Goals
A good manager not only knows the individualized goals of each team member, but also understands how those goals fit into the overall company operation. Furthermore, great leaders will find individualized ways to provide opportunities that are catered to each employee’s goals. While this ties into the previous tip about upward growth, goals can be about both professional and personal development.
For example, perhaps your company’s social media manager is trying to expand into graphic design or more substantial content creation. Obviously, it wouldn’t be wise to hand over company graphic design duties to an amateur, especially if you have an accomplished graphic designer on staff already. But that doesn’t mean you can’t provide opportunities for your social media manager to work on smaller graphic design elements for your social media posts, assist on larger graphic design projects or even attend a graphic design workshop or conference.
Solicit Input for Large Decisions
Your employees are one of your greatest resources in terms of large-scale planning. Staff often interact with customers on a more regular basis and understand nuances that can be lost on a business owner or manager. When you are making big decisions about your company, not only can your employees offer valuable insight, but soliciting their opinion can also improve company culture and help to nurture individual employee growth.
By consulting your employees when you make key decisions, you can learn more about their strengths and provide an outlet for them to demonstrate those strengths. This increases confidence, stimulates investment in the company and helps each employee “think bigger”—not only in terms of the business itself, but in terms of their role within it.
Conclusion: Employee Growth is Company Growth
Bosses and managers should never restrict an employee’s growth for fear of that employee quitting in favor of greener pastures—in fact, this is a quick way to scare off your best talent. Instead, good leaders foster personal and professional development for each individual team member to ensure that they will stay and continue to contribute their talents. You can be sure an employee who doesn’t find growth opportunities in their existing job is going to start searching for a new one soon, if they haven’t already.
To nurture employee growth, be on the lookout for signs of boredom, plan for promotions, understand individual goals, create opportunities for learning and consult staff on large-scale company issues. Good managers will do all of this and more to ensure that their company’s team is happy, engaged and allowed to grow.