David Greer, former co-owner and president of Robelle, a global software firm, notes that many leaders are forever encouraging their charges to “do your best.”
But Greer believes that most people are usually doing their best – in fact, that’s the problem. Their best just isn’t good enough. Or, put another way, their current best is nowhere near as good as what they would be capable of doing if their leaders helped them more fully develop their potential.
Here, in Greer’s own words, are six ways leaders can help their followers continually improve their best.
1. Paint an incredible vision of what it will look and feel like for the person to achieve their next level of performance. Keep reminding them of this vision when they are stuck.
2. Believe in the person. Many people have never had someone else truly, deeply believe in their capabilities. Let them know that you truly believe they can reach their next level.
3. Hold them accountable for both delivering the very best performance they can while stretching themselves into their future capability.
4. Let them fail safely. People have to be able to fail in order to learn. Give them challenges that will stretch their capabilities, while at the same time protecting the organization from complete failure should they fall down in their attempt.
5. Acknowledge the baby steps along the way. Growing into your new best self is a journey of many small steps. We often experience that giant leap in capability, but if you look at someone’s growth those giant leaps are almost always preceded by many, even hundreds, of small steps along the way.
6. Model growth by challenging and growing yourself into what is the next best you. By being vulnerable, showing your failures as well as your successes, and having a champion in your corner, you are modeling the behavior you want to see in your own people.