Sometimes we get so caught up in our own careers we forget about the people who work with us. They too have career goals and ambitions. However, we don’t always take the time to listen and figure out what their aspirations are. I found out the hard way.
It was time for my annual review and I was feeling pretty good about it. I had one of the best operations in the district and half expected the red carpet to be rolled out for me. That was not the case! The review started out as I had expected. I was thanked for my performance throughout the year and congratulated for my team’s top performance. Then lightning struck. My manager asked me if my people were ready to take my place. He asked me if I would recommend anyone of my people to step in and do what I currently do.
To those who manage employees, this answer should come instinctively. I drew an immediately blank. I realized that I lost focus of my people and their development. My attention centered around achieving results so much so that I lost touch of the people who helped me reach those goals. It was a necessary but embarrassing moment. This was my mangers way of telling me what I was lacking, development.
I needed to be more proactive in my employees’ development. My manager was right. My employees were uncertain about the direction of their career and where their future lies in the organization. After hearing this, I knew that I had really failed.
I encourage you not to make the same mistake. Take a moment to set aside time with your employees and ask them about their goals. Use this information to help them develop in their areas of interest. Be as proactive about their career as you are about yours. Make their development a priority and schedule regular meetings to accomplish this. Don’t differentiate their development from yours, they are one in the same.