What are the barriers to doing this?
Hiring and training members of your workforce takes time and financial resources. And, when leaders invest in people, they naturally would love for them to stay and contribute in their job role within their department so as not to continue replacing the position. I have encountered managers that have actually expressed that they prefer to hire “lifers”, or people that have no aspiration or ability to do anything but the job for which they have been hired. These managers proclaim that hiring individuals with talents or interest beyond the job for which they have been hired is a bad investment for their department. These managers believe that hiring only “career” people within their departments saves them time, money and effort.
Why is it important to do anyway?
Certainly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring individuals whose goals are to build a career within your department. It is the exclusive leadership practice and mindset described above that I would like to contrast against trustworthy leadership. Trustworthy leaders understand that once they hire an individual it is their obligation to assist in the development of that individual to their fullest potential. Robert Greenleaf, author of Servant Leadership, explained that “the best test of servant leadership is “Do those served [by the leader] grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?” Trustworthy leaders understand that the job a person is currently working may only be a stop along the way for the individual. They “get” that true leadership is focusing on the whole person so that their employees may learn, grow and contribute to the organization…even if it is in another position within the company or outside the organization.
How can you do it?
- Remove the barriers that frustrate your employees. If you want members of your workforce to develop their skills and talents to their fullest, you must remove the things that are getting in the way of that happening. Ask your workforce “What gets in your way of serving your customer?” They will tell you. Some things that frustrate your employees may be valid functions of the job they are hired to do. Possibly… that position may not a good fit for the individual. Through discovering what de-motivates your workforce, you may be able to improve processes and job matches that will allow people to enjoy their work.
- Help your workforce connect to the great value of their work. We all work for different reasons. Whether your workforce comes to work every day simply because they need a paycheck or they have a higher calling, each person adds value at some level through the work they do. Make sure they know what individual value they bring to the table. Share how what they do makes a difference for the patient or those they serve.
- Talk with people about their talents and how they might contribute to their work and the organization’s success. Some of us find fullness within the workplace. Others will combine work with outside activities to complete themselves. Support those you serve to lead a full life. Trustworthy leaders understand that when those served feel supported to be “complete”, that the payback is a more focused, re-dedicated workforce.
In your career, describe some ways you have been supported by other leaders to live a full life?
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