Seven tips to bring you and your staff to their full potential

Neal Burgis

Possibly, the greatest untapped resource in any organization lies in its employees. These days, "giving 100 percent" is not enough to get ahead; you need to become more effective in unlocking your staff's potential strengths, creativity, and resourcefulness. The best companies have the best people, and the top people are those who think and act faster and better than others. According to Gallup Research, organizations make use of less than 20 percent of their employee's potential.

I believe the following seven tips what I believe are the specific ingredients in bringing the leader and his or her staff to their full potential:

1. Leadership –Being an effective leader helps you and your staff as they look to you for all of the specifics in getting their work done. Allow your staff to think on their own, have trust in them for accomplishing the tasks assigned to them, and in return, you will find that effectively managing your employees will help them perform at their optimum level. The job of the leader is to help increase their staff's effectiveness and to recognize and work to improve whatever limitations affect an individual's performance.

2. Communication –As a leader, talk to your staff and share with them how best to get the task or project done. In doing so, use optimism to motivate and inspire your staff, and most importantly, ask your staff for suggestions on how they would get the task accomplished. Having clear expectations and direction from the leader is important so the staff can understand what they are expected to do. The leader is then able to give support to their team to get the job done more efficiently and with less stress and strain on the leader or their staff.

3. Empowering Employees –Allowing your staff to take responsibility and make decisions on their own is what many consider as a boost of self-confidence to employees. Getting your staff more involved in the work they do gives them a sense of accomplishment and helps them build up their self-esteem. Recognize their limitations and assign them tasks where they can use their strengths.

4. Talented Employees –Attracting and retaining talented people with exceptional skills is necessary for any organization and is a problem for many. The demand of hiring talented employees is extremely competitive. In finding new employees, or even in keeping the employees you already have, evaluate each person to see if it is worth your while and theirs in training them for challenging tasks that they will be required do. Developing untapped employee potential is a key competitive advantage for any organization. As a return-on-investment, developing your staff's skills motivates them toward job satisfaction, as they prefer job challenges to performing the same functions week after week and year after year.

5. Emotional Intelligence –You can easily stick with the way you have done things in the past. But having your staff members shift gears in using their "emotional intelligence" skills assists them when it comes to excelling in their job or being "star performers". Emotional Intelligence is defined as each staff member and leader having a set of competencies to develop and apply their "people skills" effectively. There are several emotional intelligence skills that affect all aspects of work, and they include: self-confidence, self-control, conscientiousness, adaptability, innovativeness, commitment, initiative, optimism, understanding others, conflict management skills, team capabilities, communication, and the ability to initiate or manage change. Team members clearly understand reactions and how to channel their energy into more productive results.

6. Recognition –Give your staff praise and positive feedback when it is appropriate. Through genuine appreciation, recognize the positive behaviours and achievements of your employees. Look for ways to increase employee motivation by recognizing excellence in the workplace. Celebrate the successes with your team members when they complete a job "well done".

7. Team Work –Creating an effective team is a challenge to many leaders. Besides the fact that a team player is valued, your staff contributes to the success of the whole team as well as to the project or task, and even to the success of the organization as a whole. For the team to accomplish what they need to, the leader must get the right resources to the team. This goes along with your team members communicating with each other, problem solving on their own, being flexible and adaptive, and most importantly, working together.

Your team members typically will have a variety of unique styles that are significantly common and complement each other. These are (source: Honey P., 1994, Teams and Leaders): The Doers – those who make sure the job gets done and gives the team drive. Doers are prepared to get involved to help others. Also, Doers want to see progress and hate wasting time. The Achievers – Achievers become impatient with delays, and also want to succeed and strive for results. The Thinkers – Thinkers have good ideas and reject bad ones. Typically, they think the problem through and see solutions. The Carers – Carers keep the team together, ease tensions, promote harmony, and are sensitive about relationships within the team. Carers are concerned that everyone is fitting in.

In optimizing the full potential of you, the leader, and your staff, incorporating a number of the ways we have discussed to develop your staff for job satisfaction is essential. If this does not take place, there will be no staff cooperation. As a result, miscommunication will be dominant, teamwork will fall apart, deadlines for any projects or tasks will be missed, and you will end up with high employee turnover. Take full advantage of your biggest asset – your employees. Using what has been outlined here will attract the best people to your organization, create the team any company would admire, and will take you and your organization to the next level and beyond.

Neal Burgis, Ph.D. is the founder and CEO of Burgis Successful Solutions, an executive coaching firm. Neal has 18 years of experience helping people with their goals and performance. He specializes in executive coaching on work balance issues of performance, leadership development, and improving skills, as well as being a sounding board. Dr. Burgis is a National Certified Psychologist and a Certified Executive Coach. www.successful-solutions.com


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