What will it take for your organization to reach its full potential? More money? Better technology? Faster processes?
These would all be wonderful, but an organization only reaches its full potential when the individuals in that organization reach their full potential. Your job as a leader is to help people do just that. If the people under your care are continually growing and consistently generating their best work then everyone is winning – you, them, and the organization.
Here are 7 things you can do to lead others into their own potential:
1. Believe in them. You can’t expect someone to believe in themselves if you aren’t willing to believe in them yourself. See the possibilities of who they could become. Share with them where you see them going. Treat them accordingly. Expect them to grow into that potential. People have a funny way of living up to – or down to – the expectations of their leaders.
2. Give them room to grow. My three-year-old got some new shirts for Christmas this year. They were all size 4. Why? Because we believe he’ll grow into them. Make sure you’re stretching people accordingly with the assignments, the delegated tasks, the levels of responsibility, the amount of authority, and the extent of autonomy that you give them.
3. Play to their strengths. Find out what people are good at and let them know. Then lean on those strengths – put some real weight on them. Confidence is mandatory for reaching your full potential. Only when people know what they’re good at are they ready to get even better.
4. Educate & train them. No matter how many strengths someone has, there’s always room for improvement. Weaknesses need to be shored up and gifts need to be cultivated. You must give your people the opportunity to grow intellectually, technically, professionally and personally.
5. Broaden their experience. Encourage them to explore different options. This could be within your organization, within their given field, or a wholly different pursuit. You may find a hidden talent or passion. Diversification facilitates learning, builds connections, and stimulates creativity.
6. Eliminate distractions. Don’t let broadening their experience get out of hand. Ultimately, to help others reach their full potential, you’ll need to help them focus. As a leader, one of the best ways you can help someone focus is to protect them from things that dilute their focus.
7. Ignite their passion. Find out what floats their boat, what rings their bell, what lights their fire. Fuel it. Channel it. Harness it. For someone to reach their potential, they must be self-motivated. Help them find their passion – not one borrowed from parents, or friends or social norms. Only their own passion will help them stay the course.
Notice that you can’t make someone else reach their potential. All you can do is set the proper conditions. Its been my experience that human potential is held under positive pressure, meaning all you have to do is find and remove the barriers, then BOOM! potential flows freely.
What’s missing from this list? How do you lead others into their potential?