People are your greatest asset. Here’s how to unlock their potential

Publish Date: October 11, 2023

Written by Kelly Rae White

- Originally published at Inman News - Kelly Rae White

Understanding the strengths of your team and empowering them through your management style are essential elements for organizational success. Brand new Inman contributor and consultant Kelly Rae White offers strategies that can make all the difference in your outcomes.

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In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape, organizations must adapt and innovate to stay ahead. While technology and processes play a crucial role in driving success, it’s ultimately the people within an organization who have the power to unlock its true potential.

As we explore strategies and best practices for harnessing the power of your greatest asset, there are three key categories that, if refined, can make the greatest impact on the people in your organization. 

Category 1: Cultivate a culture of trust and empowerment

Creating a culture of trust and empowerment is essential for unlocking the potential of your people. When employees feel trusted and empowered, they are more likely to take risks, think creatively and contribute their best work.

Here are some strategies to cultivate such a culture:

  1. Lead by example: As a leader, it’s important to model the behavior you want to see in your employees. Demonstrate trust, transparency and open communication in your interactions with your team.
  2. Encourage autonomy: Give your employees the freedom to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Empower them to solve problems and find innovative solutions.
  3. Provide growth opportunities: Invest in your employees’ professional development by offering training programs, mentorship opportunities and clear career paths. Show them that you are committed to their growth and success.

What I have seen in many organizations that prohibit a culture of trust and empowerment is top-down leadership or a micro-management style. I recently worked with a client who hired a chief operating officer to manage the employees. When this person left for maternity leave, my client quickly realized that they had been micro-managing. This resulted in an inability of the team to perform autonomously, and it limited their ability to harness the power of their own skills and thinking.

Within a matter of weeks, the CEO gathered the team together, and they discussed a structure to help everyone work autonomously toward key objectives. The cultural shift in the organization was obvious within less than 30 days.

Category 2: Foster collaboration and communication

Collaboration and communication are key drivers of innovation and productivity within an organization. When employees work together effectively, they can leverage their diverse skills and perspectives to achieve common goals.

Here’s how you can foster collaboration and communication:

  1. Promote cross-functional teams: Encourage employees from different departments or teams to collaborate on projects. This will foster a sense of shared purpose and enable the exchange of ideas.
  2. Use technology tools: Provide your employees with the necessary tools and technologies to facilitate collaboration and communication. This could include project management software, instant messaging platforms or video conferencing tools.
  3. Create open channels of communication: Establish open channels of communication where employees can freely share ideas, provide feedback and raise concerns. This could be through regular team meetings, suggestion boxes or digital platforms.

Category 3: Recognize and reward excellence

Recognizing and rewarding excellence is crucial for motivating employees and encouraging them to perform at their best. When employees feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to go above and beyond in their work.

Consider these strategies for recognizing and rewarding excellence:

  1. Implement a recognition program: Establish a formal recognition program that acknowledges outstanding performance and contributions. This could include employee of the month awards, peer-to-peer recognition or performance-based bonuses.
  2. Provide regular feedback: Offer constructive feedback on a regular basis to help employees grow and improve. Recognize their achievements and provide guidance on areas for development.
  3. Celebrate milestones: Celebrate important milestones, such as work anniversaries, project completions or team successes. This could be through team outings, social events or personalized gifts.

This is one of the key areas for improvement that I experienced as an executive recruiter. We would create a results-driven job description and key performance indicators, but the company never used them or looked at them again once the person was hired. 

A recognition and rewards program designed around achieving key objectives can not only make a significant positive impact on the company results, it directly impacts the overall satisfaction of the employee.

For me, this was a skill I had to learn because it was not natural. However, the payoff from learning and developing this skill can be immense. 

Your people are your greatest asset, and unlocking their potential is key to driving organizational success. By cultivating a culture of trust and empowerment, fostering collaboration and communication, and recognizing excellence, you can create an environment where your employees thrive.

Invest in your people, and they will positively impact your organization’s future.

Kelly Rae White is an executive consultant and business strategist. Connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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