As a manager, you’ve got a lot that rides on your shoulders. You’re responsible for empowering your team to be the best that they can be to drive results for your organization. In discharging this responsibility, there’s a lot to think about and a lot to consider, and it’s certainly not an easy role by any stretch of the imagination! You can’t always get everything right.
Often managers can get in the way of their employee development without even realizing it. Let’s look at three sets of three ideas that might just open your eyes to how you may be holding employees back inadvertently.
What Do Managers Often Get Wrong?
- They don’t tolerate failure. Failure is a key component of any employee’s development and when a manager doesn’t tolerate it, an employee is likely to go back into their shell and never push their boundaries again. Instead, they just stick with the status quo and stagnate because they don’t want to risk failing again.
- They pigeon-hole employees. Managers can sometimes label an employee with regard to certain skills that they currently possess, thereby closing their mind to any potential improvements, changes, or expansion to that role. This is a symptom of seeing an employee as a cog in a wheel, rather than as a human with complex abilities, desires, and potential.
- They micro-manage their employees. When a manager doesn’t trust an employee and is constantly breathing over their neck, the employee is robbed of the chance to develop themselves and stamp their mark on what they are doing. Micro-managing might save some frustration in the short-term, but it leads to employees losing autonomy and morale in the long-term. This is not a trade-off you should ever be making.
What Challenges Do Employees Face Regarding Their Development?
- Managing their priorities. Employees have to split their time and resources between the daily tasks that make up their current job, as well as the training and development that pays off over a longer time frame. The differing incentives can lead to an imbalance if not managed properly.
- Lack of resources. Effective development requires high-quality resources that can guide employees to upskill themselves and make progress in their careers. If they don’t have access to this sort of material, their development program is likely to be arbitrary at best. Employees want managers who are actively involved in their development. They desire consistent and constructive feedback to know that they are valued and that they are on the right track.
- Self-doubt. Developing oneself can difficult because you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and there is always that voice of doubt in the back of your mind as an employee. Employees often require motivation and encouragement to validate their efforts and help them to keep going, even when things get difficult.
What Can Managers Do To Support Employee Development?
- Display the qualities of a good leader. As a manager, you want to consistently show empathy, communicate clearly, be decisive, delegate effectively, and display various other leadership qualities that get the best out of your employees. By setting the example with your actions, you encourage employees to integrate them into their development too.
- Prioritize it. Managers who deploy time and resources to help develop their employees are able to demonstrate how important employee training and development is. Actions speak louder than words here.
- Create a plan. Sitting down with your employees and setting out a specific development plan goes a long way to encouraging consistent progress towards long-term goals. Nothing happens without a plan.
There you have it! Hopefully these concepts can open your eyes and help you reflect on your own actions as a manager. Are you stymying your employee development without even realizing it?
Put these into practice and half the battle is won. This is what it means to invest in your employees and when you do it well, it will pay off in the long run – as you will be rewarded with employees who are motivated, highly-skilled, and have a robust growth mindset. It’s often the simple things that make the biggest difference.