Helping Others Develop Their Potential
Most of us find ourselves in a position to help others achieve more of their potential than we realize. Sure, as leaders, supervisors, and parents we can see ourselves in that position; but the fact is that all of us are uniquely qualified to help at least one other person in our lives reach their potential. I believe it is part of our purpose in life to serve others in this way ? to encourage and support people we care about in becoming their best selves.
Many books (some of which sit on my bookcases) have been written about coaching and helping people develop their skills. This article won't be a definitive list, but it will share my perspective on the essential ingredients in helping others reach their potential.
Help Them See
The first step in developing the potential in others is for the "others" to recognize that they have potential and to know for themselves what it is! We've already talked about his but you can't forget it ? it is a critical step. Our goal should be to help them get where they want to go ? even if their vision is slightly different from ours.
Potential is about passion. If people don't have passion for the future they see, they are much less likely to get there (and likely it isn't the right future!)
Be Them Focused
Many years ago I had a manager who saw great things in my future. He was very supportive of helping me reach his vision. While I will always be grateful to him for seeing potential in me, I continue to shake my head at his approach. He never wanted to know what I saw for myself and my future, instead, he assumed I would want to become what he saw for me. Even when I tried to explain to him that our visions didn't match, he focused on providing me opportunities and support that were right for his vision, not mine.
Remember that you are helping people reach their potential, helping them discover their agenda and goals. This is not a platform for you to exert your influence based on your belief in them or your vision for them.
Yes, if you are a supervisor or manager you may have organizational goals you hope this person can achieve. Be upfront about those goals, and look for the matches with the person's passions and unique abilities. Perhaps there is a perfect fit, or maybe the best thing you can do for everyone is help the person move into a new or different role inside or outside of the organization.
To truly serve others in this way we must keep this process completely about them, and not our best judgment, our agenda or our vision for them.
As a developer of potential our role is to draw the answers from others. Too often we want to share our wisdom and advice. We will be more effective when we spend less time talking and more time asking and listening. Ask people questions about their passions, their ideas regarding their greatest areas of potential, and about the other areas in this article.
Ask questions without bias and questions that encourage the other person to think. Then be patient and keep your mouth shut after you ask. Your only job then is to listen.
Help Them Set Goals
All of us know the value of goal setting, but many of us don't do it very well or very consistently on our own. We can guide and encourage people to set them. We can help them define and clarify these goals through the questions we ask. Help people describe their current situation then set goals that will stretch them from their current reality towards their potential.
Use your questioning skills throughout this process and encourage people to write their goals down.
Help Them Identify Options and Opportunities
As a part of the goal setting process, people should begin to identify some options to help them reach the goal. Here is where you can begin to provide more direct advice. Perhaps you have experience that you can share to help them identify approaches they can use. Perhaps if you are in the role of a supervisor, you can offer specific training or learning experiences to help them.
At least as important though, is that you are now in a unique position to help them in the future because you know their goals and their vision. As time goes by you will be become aware of situations, courses, lectures, books, people and all manner of other things that will help that person advance towards their goals. Make sure you share those ideas and opportunities with them.
If we want to help people reach their potential, we know they need support. They need encouragement, advice and even feedback.
You expected me to mention feedback, and it is very important. Sometimes though, people have more feedback than they want or need. What they are often lacking is encouragement. Be a person who is supportive, interested and encouraging and you will provide great value to others.
Be a Model
Want to help others reach their potential? The most important thing you can do is be on that same path for yourself. Model the behaviors you are encouraging in them. Have your own development goals. Be a willing and eager learner. Be open and flexible to new opportunities yourself.
You will have much greater influence and much more success in developing others if you are serious about developing yourself first.
Taken individually each of the suggestions above can be a powerful aid to you in helping others reach their potential. Taken together they will astound both you and those you are helping. The best way to apply these ideas is to get started. Identify at least one of these suggestions that you will implement today.
Getting started is often the toughest step. Seeing the success that comes with action will encourage you to continue. Doing it (rather than just shaking your head and agreeing with these ideas) will be both gratifying and life changing - to those you are helping and to you too!
Follow these steps and you are on your way to unleashing the massive potential in others.
I wish you great success.
© 2004, All Rights Reserved, Kevin Eikenberry. Kevin publishes Unleash Your Potential, a free weekly ezine designed to provide ideas, tools, techniques and inspiration to enhance your professional skills. Go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/current.asp to read the current issue and subscribe. Kevin is also President of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. You may contact Kevin at toll free 888.LEARNER.
Birth Order - Understand How It Affects Your Personality
"Know thyself" is a powerful principle that leaders, managers and effective people intuitively know.
The Power of the Leader Within - The Keys to Martial Arts Life Mastery, Key#1
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
The Synergy Effect
Have you ever considered that everything you want in life comes from someone else? The greatest minds in any field are keenly aware of the value of working with and involving others in life plans, business, work and personal commitments.
What Makes A Good Leader? Ask Uncle Sam
What do the major generals who are leading the war efforts in Iraq have in common with executives and entrepreneurs who are conducting business back home? When it comes to leadership, the answer is probably a lot more than you think.
Secrets of Creating Success with Ease
Do you ever strum your fingers on the desk top as you look down at your work and think, 'Right, how can I do all this lot without really working?'
Follow My Leader - To Effect Change, Leaders Must Walk the Talk!
A leader's role
Leadership Training: The Bit They Didn?t Tell You About Changing!
A willingness to change first is one of the major pre requisites for leaders!
Thoughtleading: The Art of Separating Yourself from the Pack
Lately the age-old business dilemma of how to stand out from the crowd has been haunting companies and professional service firms more than ever before. All too many firms nowadays look too much alike, with marketing strategies seemingly unable to distinguish them from their competition. Glossy brochures, snazzy websites, press releases, advertising: when everyone employs the same methods, everyone ends up vying for the same narrow window of client and prospect attention.
Two Leadership Traps: How To Get Out Of Them and How To Avoid Them (Part 1)
You've heard of the Peter Principle: "People are promoted to their level of ultimate incompetence". But what the Peter Principle doesn't tell you is the nature of the incompetence. For the most part, it's leadership incompetence.
Ask Yourself Whats In It For WE?
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." - Henry Ford
Dont Be a Complainer
Complaining. There's room for legitimate complaining, but if you let this deadly disease of attitude - complaining ? loose, it will conquer you. Complaining can take over your life. Destroy you and leave you without anything.
A Leader?s Ultimate Goal ? Connect to Engage!
Connect and Engage! Your People Are Your Power.
Top Skills Of Extraordinary Leaders
1. Good Communicator. Extraordinary Leaders are those who can take the vision they have and communicate it in ways that their followers can easily understand, internal, and own. Then, and only then, can they carry it out! So focus on speaking and writing more clearly, and with the passion that you have for the vision you have. Use different ways of communicating, including different ways verbally and non-verbally. Above all, communicate often!
Develop a We Focus And Not a Me Focus
Leaders ARE; Are you?
Leadership, Self-Development, and the Committment to Growth
There is a common phrase that says: "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." I know that most of us have heard it. The problem is that we all too often take it, and other so-called "conventional wisdom" as truth.
Three Factors Of Leadership Motivation
Leaders do nothing more important than get results. But you can't get results by yourself. You need others to help you do it. And the best way to have other people get results is not by ordering them but motivating them. Yet many leaders fail to motivate people to achieve results because those leaders misconstrue the concept and applications of motivation.
All You Really Want Is Feeling Good
If I asked you what your goal in life is, what would you answer? Well, the answer would be as diversified as people are.
8 Questions to Ask if You Want to be a Better Leader
Those that have successfully made the transition from manager to leader have found the importance of continuously asking questions. Constantly receiving feedback from front line workers enables aleader to understand what is going right and where improvement is needed. At the same time, the leader is showing interest in the front line workers through these questions. However asking questions can become harmful if two key steps do not follow them.
Leadership and The Dirty Work
The airline, Jet Blue, has been featured in many magazines as a new company that has hard great results and success so far. A lot too has been mentioned about the challenges they face ahead and about the culture they created at the start and are working hard to foster now. One of the many things that sets Jet Blue apart is their focus on teamwork. Here's one example. They have no cleaning crews - every employee on the flight (including pilots and those not working but on the flight) cleans up the plane. This saves time and money - both things very important to any business.
|home | site map|