Minimize investment in development, limit responsibility, avoid opportunities for learning through failure and hope they never leave.
No parent would ever raise their child this way. So why do so many leaders “raise” their talent this way. In a world of instant analytics where we manage our assets with an endless stream of data on productivity, profitability and ROI we fail to recognize the human condition of our most important asset, our team.
As an entrepreneur or executive you will spend more time on average with those you lead than your actual children. We can discuss how sad that is at a later date but for now let’s focus on the point at hand. Knowing this, why wouldn’t you do everything you could to develop them into the best they could possibly be? I understand the reasoning behind the fear of developing someone to a point that they are recruited away or leave but is there a bigger compliment to be made of a leader?
If you are a leader worth your wait in salt this makes sense to you but I would challenge how often you actually practice this philosophy. How long since you sat down for a one on one with your team individually to find out what’s going on in their world? When was the last time you recognized a member of your team one on one for no reason other than you appreciate their attitude, work ethic or the way they represent your brand? When was the last time you handed off one of the 500 projects you keep telling yourself needs to get done to a team member and let them run with it? Have you ever asked a team member what their career goals are? Try it sometime, you may be surprised. If you want to be a real leader find some way outside your organization to support their goals.
I challenge you as a leader to find a way to recognize, support and empower a member of your team in the next 24 hours.
If nothing more, I hope this made you think to reach out to your team for some genuine human to human conversation, not a text or an e-mail. In a world flooded with technology, analytics and HR remember it is relationships that create opportunities to change the world and at the end of the day that is your responsibility as a leader.