Bryant: The Bittersweetness of People Development

Oct. 13, 2023
The process can be a tricky balance between pushing people to grow, avoiding stagnation, and premature advancement.

When it comes to people development, there's no denying that it can be a difficult and often painful process.

Developing our people is an investment we make for ourselves, our company, and, most importantly, our team members. When we work to improve the skills of our staff, they become more empowered and confident in their roles. This often leads to increased productivity and improved morale throughout the organization.

At the same time, it's important to remember that people development doesn't happen overnight. Without consistent, innovative growth and development of the people within your organizations, they will not be able to remain competitive in today's marketplace. While investing time and resources into cultivating your team members may seem daunting, realizing the immense potential it holds for you and your business should be reason enough to prioritize it. People development allows you to expand your team's capabilities and streamline processes within the organization while creating more meaningful relationships with customers.

Understand the true purpose of people development – to empower team members and create a better workplace.

What if we failed to invest in the development of our team members? Would our workplace be any better? The answer is no. The true purpose of people development goes beyond just acquiring new skills and knowledge. It's all about empowering our team members to become the best versions of themselves and creating a positive work environment that fosters growth. When we invest in our team, we show them we value their contributions and care about their future success. This results in increased motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction. By understanding the true purpose of people development, we can create a workplace that benefits both our team members and our organization as a whole.

Reward progress, but also be willing to give constructive criticism when needed

Rewarding progress is an important aspect of any growth process, but it's crucial to remember that constructive criticism can be just as valuable. When dealing with these scenarios, it's important to have a plan in place and approach the situation with a level head. Don't allow your emotions to cloud your judgment or change your approach. Whether delivering feedback in a group or one-on-one setting, always be mindful of how it is received. No matter how well-intentioned your criticism may be, it can be hard for anyone to hear negative feedback. By giving constructive criticism with empathy and a clear plan for improvement, you'll be on the right track to helping individuals achieve their goals.

Let team members know that failure is an opportunity for learning, not something to  fear

Fear of failure is a natural instinct all humans face when attempting something new or challenging. It's easy to retreat when things become overwhelming. However, it's important to let team members know that failure should not be feared or avoided. Instead, it's an opportunity for growth and learning. Encouraging team members to embrace failure can lead to more innovative ideas and solutions. When team members feel supported in pursuing new ideas, they are more likely to take risks and push their boundaries. Remember, failure is not the end of the road but a stepping stone toward greater success.

Recognize that not all team members are equally suited for growth and development

Building a successful team requires recognizing that each member brings unique strengths and weaknesses. Understanding that not everyone is equally suited for growth and development is essential. As a leader, I have personally witnessed this firsthand. Despite my exuberant amounts of time and energy invested into some team members, their growth potential remained limited. This realization can be disheartening, yet it's crucial to identify individuals who are passionate about learning and receptive to guidance. By doing so, we can cultivate a team that thrives and achieves collective success.

Acknowledge that finding the balance between growth and stagnation may be challenging

It's no secret that finding the perfect balance between growth and stagnation can be a tricky feat. After all, not everyone responds to success and failure in the same way. While some may thrive under pressure and constantly push themselves to new heights, others may feel overwhelmed and prefer to remain in their comfort zone. The problem with premature growth is that it can often lead to false confidences that they already "got it," or even failure if not approached carefully. So, how do we find that elusive sweet spot? It takes effort and patience, but with the right mindset and approach, it is possible to strike a balance between growth and stagnation that works for you.

How do you find the motivation to do it repeatedly when team members move on, get promoted, or decide it's not for them?

Team dynamics can be unpredictable, and it's not always easy to find the motivation to keep going when people move on, get promoted, or simply decide to leave. However, it's important to remember that how you respond to these changes will influence your success. Some team members may respond positively to the changes and continue to push forward. Others may need time to adjust and progressively improve at their own pace. Unfortunately, some may retreat and give up altogether. Finding the motivation to keep going in these situations can be challenging. Still, you can maintain a strong and productive team despite the changes by focusing on the team's overall goals and communicating effectively with the remaining members.

People development is an integral part of any workplace, and it's essential to keep investing in empowering team members. It can be a tricky balance between pushing people to grow, avoiding stagnation, and premature advancement. Regular positive and constructive feedback is essential to successful development; reward progress, but don't shy away from pointing out areas for improvement. Finally, always remember that failure is not something to be feared or avoided — it should be seen as an opportunity for learning. Owning this mindset will help create a healthy team dynamic that values growth and personal development. Investing in your team members now will reap real rewards down the line, so take stock of who you are investing your time in — are they the right candidate or just in the right place at the right time?