We are constantly looking for ways to grow our business, but our biggest asset isn't our strategy, or monthly revenue, it's the people behind it driving that success: Your employees. In an article she contributed to Entrepreneur entitled "Want Your Business to Grow? Help Your Employees Succeed," Abigail Phillips writes: "We’ve all heard the saying that 'a team is only as strong as its weakest link,' but the number of business leaders choosing to ignore this sentiment is staggering, as they are more concerned with their own development and less so with their employees. Not a smart move. Investing time in your employees and giving them the tools they need to develop is incredibly important for output quality, morale and retention."
Want to empower your employees? Identify clear opportunities for growth
Lead by example
The focal point of leadership is to guide a team of individuals to success. It's about using failure as insights and obstacles as experience. Ultimately, it's about serving as a role model for your employees and leading by example. And it's a two-way street: If you want your employees to be dedicated to your company mission, you must also be dedicated to your employees. Take an active role in your employees' success by making opportunity for growth apparent, helping your employees develop new skills and empowering them to take the lead and make smart decisions that will benefit the company as a whole.
Encourage your employees to expand their interests
In today's professional world, interns are very prevalent in the workplace. If this is the case for your organization, or much of your leaders started in entry-level positions, use their career moves as a chance to replicate success by offering advancement opportunities. While promotion is typically the first thing to come to mind, it's not the only way to encourage new responsibilities and individual growth.
Consider supporting each member of your team with opportunities for employee shadowing or training to help them develop the skills they need to take initiative and build momentum overtime. When your employees are made aware of the opportunities available to them, they're likely to feel valued and thus envision a future with you.
Offer focused feedback
Do you want your employees in for the long haul? Of course you do. The truth is, people—managers, employers and employees alike—are often quick to focus on negative performance instead of acknowledging the positive. It's more effective to focus on what your employees are doing right, than what they are doing wrong. In fact too much time spent finger-pointing rather than providing constructive feedback may leave your employees feeling bitter and disconnected from their roles. Instead of simply pointing out what an employee did wrong, use every conversation as an opportunity to empower your employees through focused feedback.
Finally, remember that a little can go a long way with your employees. According to Training Magazine: "Employees who are recognized for their accomplishments are twice as likely to feel a sense of drive and determination in their organization. So give praise, write thank you notes, celebrate your people. Be specific about what was done and the effect it had on the organization."
Play to their strengths
Phillips continues: "Leadership is about more than overseeing a team of people, it's about ensuring everybody on that team is working to the very best of their ability. Make sure all your people are in the right position within the company. Help your employees identify their strengths and make them aware of opportunities that suit their key skills." If some of your employees exemplify dedication, but they aren't in a role where their talent can flourish, don't resolve the issue by letting them go. Chances are they are highly capable of succeeding—they just need to find the right position.