Encouraging employees to pursue their dreams can lead to the deepest levels of motivation, inspiration and retention. It’s amazing how people light up when they talk about their interests.
And ultimately, isn’t good leadership about connecting with people? Politicians understand this. They make people feel special. A few interests staff have shared with me over the years:
- Languages they wanted to learn
- Launching a business or starting a restaurant
- Buying a home
- Becoming a better public speaker
- Musical instruments or interests
- Advanced education or certificate programs beyond the scope of their role
What to do:
1. Begin your next meeting (or hold a separate meeting) and ask the question: When you were in grade school, what did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?
2. Create a development plan. If you don’t have one for each employee, it only requires some notes on successes and achievements, development areas and dreams. I keep all employees on the same document.
3. Start some of your meetings with 3 to 5 minutes about them. “Did you sign up for that language course you discussed?” Almost every interest out there has transferable skills. All of the items above can teach commitment, continual-improvement, maturity and so much more.
Here’s the catch: Take a genuine interest, and whatever they say, encourage them to do it at least quarterly or monthly. Be their mentor and watch their faces light with enthusiasm.
I’d love to hear your ideas on leadership and management. You can share them with me directly or post to the comments section!