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How to nurture and develop people’s potential


Part of every Manager’s role is to develop their people. Over recent years there has been a shift of emphasis from ‘training’ to ‘learning’ and the importance of the Manager’s role in this.  Increasingly Managers are being expected to encourage individuals to take responsibility for their own development and to identify appropriate learning opportunities. People management training courses focus on showing Managers how to do this effectively.

Managers are also being encouraged to create opportunities to coach employees which reinforce the change of emphasis for empowering people to take charge of their own learning and performance levels. In order for managers to be able to act as a facilitator for the development of their staff, and to be able to monitor and measure progress, it is important that they are equipped with the appropriate knowledge and skills to perform this function effectively. Attending good people development training will ensure that Managers can excel in this area of their job.

Follow the suggestions below to improve your ability to nurture and develop people to perform to their full potential:-

1)     Treat people as individuals

Each person within a team requires their own unique set of development opportunities. It is the Manager’s job to find out what these are by assessing performance levels, identifying gaps and encouraging people to find their own solutions. It is about giving responsibility for learning to the individual and a Manager does this by discussing, advising mentoring and coaching people to improve their performance.

2)     Engender a learning culture

This means that if mistakes are made, people learn from them and move on. If people are afraid to make mistakes in the first place they won’t stretch themselves and they won’t learn. This may seem alright in the short term, but in the long term it means that you get a team of people who stay stuck, don’t improve and don’t move the business forward. The best way to create a learning culture is to create as many opportunities to learn as possible. This can be through traditional courses or on-the-job training or via team meetings and joint project work.

3)     Identify high performers and stretch them

Once you have identified high performers in your team, and every team has them, then you need to make sure that you work hard to extend them even further. There is a tendency to overlook the training of people who are doing well as there seems no need for further development. Consider this though, a 10% improvement in the performance of a high achiever will make a significant difference to the overall performance of your team. So isn’t it worth investing the time and effort in doing this?

4)     Raise poor performance levels

It can be easier to ignore poor performance and hope that it will get better than tackle it head on. The downside of this is that the longer you leave poor performance unchallenged the worse it is likely to get. The trick to raising poor performance levels is to uncover the real causes of it. Poor performance is a symptom of something deeper so you need to find out what’s going on and how to address it. The truth is that 99% of people come to work wanting to do a good job and so if they are falling short of the mark they need to aware of this and supported to improve.

Dale Kirk works as a learning and development specialist at Thales Training and Consultancy  focussed on growing leadership capability, building great teams and encouraging high performance. Dale has designed and delivered a range of learning and development solutions specialising in the areas of leadership and management, people and performance management, interpersonal skills and team development.

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