You’ve done your due diligence and hired an amazing team. But, are there days when you think that they’re not living up to their full potential? You’re not alone. According to Gallup Research, organizations make use of less than 20 percent of their employee’s potential.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways for you to change that around. And, here are 10 of the best ways for you to unleash your employees’ full potential.
1. Work on yourself so that you won’t make mistakes.
If you want to get the most out of your team, then you need first to improve your leadership game. After all, your employees are relying on you for guidance and support. And, if you spend a majority of your barking out orders, and not listening, then how can you indeed find out what your team is made of?
The first place to start would be to strengthen your soft skills and emotional intelligence. This way, you can effectively communicate with your employees and become empathetic. As a result, this builds trust since you’re listening to what your people are saying — it also allows you to pick up on nonverbal cues. Work on building an unstoppable team with your leadership skills.
Another area to focus on would be avoiding common leadership mistakes. Frequently this includes:
- Publicly criticizing or bullying people.
- Micromanaging and not delegating tasks.
- Failing to provide and receive feedback.
- Discouraging creativity and innovation.
- Constantly redoing your employee’s work.
- Putting a band-aid on pressing problems.
- Resisting change.
- Failing to set goals.
2. Schedule frequent one-on-ones.
I understand that you’re calendar is already packed. But, meeting with your team individually needs to become a priority. It’s hands down the best way for you to learn more about your employees, such as what motivates them and if they possess any hidden talents. It also allows you to provide constructive feedback or exchange ideas in a less formal setting.
Most importantly, one-on-ones allow you to assign the right goals, incentives, and tasks to specific people. This way, you can properly motivate them and handoff the specific responsibilities to the right individuals.
3. Encourage a supportive work culture.
In other words, foster a culture where flexibility and vocalizing ideas aren’t just the norm. They’re encouraged. Additionally, they provide opportunities for employees to show off their strengths or unique talents. You can do this either by having them take the lead on a project that suits them or doing something more lighthearted like hosting a talent show.
4. Stretch their boundaries.
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to get more of your employees is to push them outside of their comfort zones. Pushing someone outside of their comfort zone doesn’t mean setting them up for failure by asking them to work on a task that they can’t accomplish.
Instead, it’s challenging them to work on something where they’re experts, but still have some of the skills to get the job done. It may even by helping them get over a fear. For example, if someone dreads public speaking, suggest that they join an organization like Toastmasters and then have them lead a future meeting.
5. Make it easier to turn ideas into action.
“It’s no good to get lots of maybe-great ideas, and then just have them sit there,” writes Meghan M. Biro, founder, and CEO of TalentCulture, in Forbes. “It’s all about action. You must have a mechanism in place (and this means allocating resources) that allows your intrapreneurs to model, prototype and test their ideas.” Remember that sometimes the best ideas will make the least sense.
If not, “your credibility is damaged and, more importantly, you’ll never know if the idea is good, great, or not viable,” adds Biro. “Never ever belittle or dismiss an idea out of hand.” And, always grant it “a respectful hearing even if you feel it’s not viable.”
6. Help them improve their time management.
Because the rules of time management are different between leaders and employees, you may not realize that this is a daily struggle for your team. But, what does time management have to do with helping them unleash their full potential?
If they’re overestimating how long a task takes to complete or wasting time on unproductive activities, then when will they be able to be coached? When will they receive training or learn new skills? And, when can they work on a side project that they’re passionate about?
While you can’t control exactly how your team spends their time, there a couple of ways that you can guide them in improving their time management. For example, suggest that they track their time for a couple of weeks so that they can see where their time goes. It may even help them find out when they’re most productive so that that’s when they’ll schedule their most important tasks.
On your end, you may want to ask what their capacity is before loading them up with more work. And, resist the temptation to interrupt a person when they’re engaged in deep work or during off-hours.
7. Allow employees to be themselves.
When you encourage your employees to be themselves, they’re aware of their strengths and weaknesses. And, they have autonomy so that they can work however they like.
Not only does that make them happier. It also makes employees’ goals clear. And, it encourages them to learn more so that they can improve their weaknesses and enhance their strengths. In turn, this will push their limitations.
8. Let them know how they fit into the bigger picture.
Do your employees know how important they are to your business? If not, take the time to let them know this. Show them exactly how they’re affecting your business.
Showing graphs, analytics, and explaining in detail how an employees work builds the business will keep them more engaged, which will boost productivity. The team may not see the big picture if you don’t show them. But, as an added perk, because they have a purpose, they’ll push themselves so that they’ll give 110 percent.
9. Connect them with the right people.
According to Liz Wiseman, author of Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work, leaders who bring out the best in others are called “multipliers.” Multipliers, as she writes in an article for Harvard Business Review, “pull people into their orbit with the explicit understanding that accelerated development is part of the deal.”
They also “look for talent everywhere” and “recognize that deep smarts are manifested in many different ways in a company, and so they pay little attention to org charts.” And, they “take the time to understand the capabilities of each individual so that they can connect employees with the right people and the right opportunities—thereby building a virtuous cycle of attraction, growth, and opportunity,” adds Wiseman.
10. Reward and incentive.
When you notice a team member who has exceeded expectations, then definitely recognize and acknowledge their hard work. Identifying a great job doesn’t have to be extensive — it can be as something as simple as saying “thank you” or promoting them to a higher position.
Other ways to reward your employees for going above and beyond could also be by offering free food, sabbaticals, presents, or unique options like debt repayment or VIP access to concerts or sporting events. The key is to match the reward or incentive with the employee. For example, rewarding a team member with NFL tickets sounds excellent on paper. But, what if they have zero interest in the sport? That’s not going to encourage them to continue to unleash their full potential.