Leaders, develop your people!

Sometimes when talking to other managers and leaders of businesses, they will say things like, “I can’t get my employees to do anything,” or “they don’t listen to a word I say!” When I hear phrases like this, my first thought is: There’s a leadership issue here…

Sure, there are employees and team members out there that seem to be naturally motivated and compliant. But most people just need and want to be developed. In fact, the issue is often not with unmotivated employees at all, but rather unmotivated leaders. One of the real dangers in leadership — especially when things are going well — is to become complacent and lazy. Leaders often have the mindset that they will walk in, solve whatever problems there are and Presto!… everything will run like a well-oiled machine from that point on!  Reality, however, begs to differ. Cars need maintenance. Houses need upkeep.  Employees and team members are no different. So the question for you leaders is, what are you doing to actively develop those you have been entrusted with? This is a hard question for many leaders to hear — much less answer — because they are simply trying to make their organization or team profitable and productive. But the pathway to sustained profitability and productivity often runs right through development. Development requires a commitment of time and resources. Maybe your team needs more training. Maybe they need encouragement (are you doing this?) Maybe they need inspiration (this might come from you OR from outside sources. Don’t be so proud to think you have to be the one to inspire them all the time.) Ask your team members what would help them to be more productive and to become better employees. Then, do everything possible to give them what they are lacking. In doing so, you will be on your way to developing, — and not just managing — people.  And then maybe I’ll hear you talking about how awesome your employees are!

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