If you’re feeling the pressure to get more done with fewer resources, you’re not alone. One of the coping strategies managers frequently employ in these situations is to rely on employees who they know they can trust to get the job done. The problem with this strategy is that you’ll never develop the strengths and talents of employees who are relying on you to help them grow.
In a Smartbrief.com post, Joel Garfinkle points out the types of mistakes managers often make in their haste to get the job done. For example, if you’re racing to meet a deadline, you may know that Sally in operations can finish projects flawlessly and quickly. Sally may be great at these projects, but what happens when she’s out on vacation? If you haven’t taken the time or initiative to develop anyone else’s talents, you have a problem. To avoid falling into that trap again, give an assignment or two to some of your untested team members now. Watch how quickly and accurately they complete the task. The next time you’ve got a hard deadline to meet, give the project to the team member who demonstrated the ability to work well under pressure.
You can also develop talent by bringing more people into your meetings where you are analyzing problems, managing complex projects, or setting a course for the future. If some team members seem reticent at first to speak up in meetings, follow up with email and ask each participant to develop his or her thoughts about a specific topic that was discussed and to send them out to the group. The email exchanges may create a non-threatening environment where individuals can contribute in a meaningful way. Over time, encourage these team members to speak up in your meetings. As their confidence builds, they will become resources for you and develop hidden talents.
If you don’t take the time now to develop the hidden talents of team members, you’re selling them and your organization short.