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How To Use Employee Development To Turn Good Employees Into Great Leaders

By vts | March 18, 2017
How To Use Employee Development To Turn Good Employees Into Great Leaders

It costs a lot to replace a good employee—some estimates put the cost at equal to or greater than the annual salary of the employee.

And as 76 million Baby Boomers retire, there simply aren’t as many experienced Generation X employees to take their places. Yet more than ever, employees want growth opportunities and paths for employee development to stay at a company. By helping good employees become great leaders, you not only position your company for success, you increase employee retention in the process.

How vital is it that employees discover more about how they are wired to lead and succeed? Very.

A Harvard Business Review study engaged 125 highly successful leaders across a wide range of ages, industries, races, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds.

They analyzed more than 3,000 pages of transcripts from extensive interviews to find what made these leaders effective.

What they discovered surprised them:

Our team was startled to see that these people did not identify any universal characteristics, traits, skills, or styles that led to their success. Rather, their leadership emerged from their life stories.

Consciously and subconsciously, they were constantly testing themselves through real-world experiences and reframing their life stories to understand who they were at their core. In doing so, they discovered the purpose of their leadership and learned that being authentic made them more effective.

Authenticity. Knowing who they were at their core. That is the one thing that most positioned them to lead and succeed.

An employee empowered by self-awareness is best positioned to be an effective leader in your company over the long run.

To grow yourself, you must know yourself—strengths and struggles, interests and opportunities, personality styles, values, and natural behavioral hardwiring.

Employees are often so focused on production—what do I have to do and achieve—that many have an unexplored world within. The discovery process requires times of personal reflection—a rarity in most workplaces—to ask probing questions about themselves:

  • Who am I?
  • What do I truly love?
  • What am I good at?
  • When am I happiest?
  • What matters most?
  • What gets me going?
  • What holds me back?
  • What do I want for my life?

Use Assessment Tools to Help Good Employees Grow

Your leaders can help good employees engage that discovery process by encouraging employees to take and apply personal development assessments.

In our Discovering Your Authentic Leadership Style workshops, we use an assessment tool called RightPath, because it reveals an employee’s behavioral hardwiring, his or her go-to settings when under stress.

Your teams can choose a different assessment, of course, but we find the combination of RightPath 4 and RightPath 6 assessments to be powerful. The first gives a snapshot—more like an X-ray, while the second takes a deeper dive—more like an MRI.

The key advantage to the tool is its simplicity. It provides a powerful learning platform, enabling employees to easily apply what they learn about their natural tendencies.

And simplicity is what your employees need most to understand their natural tendencies.

In addition to a unique personality and set of personal values, everyone has natural behavioral tendencies. Not being fully aware of those tendencies can lead to an employee’s frustration and job dissatisfaction—even when your managers do everything right.

Everyone tends to naturally gravitate toward people whose personalities are wired in similar ways to theirs. As the relationship grows, however, those similarities can produce friction.

On the other hand, everyone struggles to understand the perspective of people who are wired differently.

Consequently, two people whose strengths are at opposite ends of a behavioral factor have a greater chance for disconnect.

When they better understand how they are wired, your managers can take advantage of both similarities and differences to produce a synergy that yields impressive results and fulfilling work experience—and that means higher employee retention rates.

Fish are most successful at swimming. Horses gallop best. Birds excel at flying. Your good employees can become great leaders in your company when your leaders and managers help them discover how they are best wired to lead and succeed.


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