Imagine your doctor just told you that you have high blood pressure. That’s important information. However, unless you do something with that information, such as starting medication or altering your diet, nothing will change. You will continue to have high blood pressure. Making a plan and taking action is required to change the situation.
The same can be said about professional growth and development. If you want to master new information or develop a new skill, simply knowing that something is important won’t result in growth or change. You have to define a developmental plan and then take action.
Whether personal or professional, setting a goal for growth and then taking action on your own is easier said than done. Most people benefit from the support of others when they decide to make a change.
Managers are in a great position to offer this much needed support to their direct reports—many of whom already have either a formal or informal development plan for themselves.
If you are a manager, here are a few suggestions you can make to your direct reports to help them progress toward their goals.
- “Link your development to your job.” Suggest they thoughtfully consider how their learning and development goals will specifically make them more effective at work.
- “Practice what you learn.” Have them identify one or two behaviors they want to hone and think of where they can practice those behaviors on the job. For instance, they could practice during one-on-one meetings with you or in weekly team meetings with their peers.
- “Keep your development top of mind.” To stress the importance of their growth, regularly touch base with direct reports around their progress. Ask them to set a specific date by which they will share a success story with you on how they successfully implemented their learning.
Being someone’s support system doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort—after all, the person you are helping is doing all the heavy lifting! That said, letting a direct report know you care about their growth and development and cheering them on can make a huge difference in their success.
Are there opportunities where you can help someone grow? If so, try the ideas above and let us know what impact they made!
About the Author
Joanne Maynard is a senior coach with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.