Small things make a big difference: 7 easy ways to get the best out of your people

Small things make a big difference: 7 easy ways to get the best out of your people

Your organisation is defined by its people. So, it can only go as far as they go. That’s why it’s important for you as a business leader to constantly and actively help your team members grow in their career.

Because when they succeed, you do too.  

Here are some small yet effective strategies you can implement from today to help your people level up.

1. Be genuinely interested in your employee’s career goals

Before you do anything else, take the time to get to know your team. As people.

Because no matter your good intentions, you shouldn’t be forcing your team members to pursue something that you think suits them – that they have no genuine interest in.

Start by organising some more regular meetings or casual coffee catch-ups.

This will help you identify their strengths and find out what they’d like to improve on. It’s also important that you ask them about their goals and what they want to achieve in their career.

Once you know them on a deeper, more personal level, you’ll be in a better position to support their development, ongoing.

2. Foster mentoring and role shadowing

Pairing a senior team member with someone newer or less experienced is an easy and effective way to encourage an individual’s growth.

Mentoring provides a more informal space for employees to observe, learn, ask questions and gain support. Besides teaching them tangible skills, it’s also a nonconfrontational way to impart your organisation values – and embed your unique workplace culture.

The best part? It’s not just a one-way street.

As mentors, your senior team members will benefit from fresh ideas and perspectives themselves. Plus, being entrusted to guide someone else allows them to feel valued, develop their own leadership skills – all while giving back to the organisation. It’s a true win-win!

3. Show recognition and appreciation

Positive reinforcement is always important – but too often neglected.

We’re all hardwired to respond better to praise and encouraging words. And we all feel more motivated when we know we’re valued.

So grab all the opportunities you can to acknowledge and appreciate your team’s effort. Give them room to share their ideas, reward exceptional work and give credit where credit’s due.

And it doesn’t always have to be phenomenal contributions. It could be someone putting in extra time to learn a new skill or being proactive in responding to a client.

Be quick to ‘catch them’ doing the right thing whenever you can.

This will keep your people engaged, build their loyalty to you – and inspire them to keep growing.    

4. Provide feedback regularly

Most employees want to know how they’re doing, whether good or bad. Preferably immediately or on a regular basis – instead of having to wait for the bombshell during annual reviews.

This gives people the chance to continuously improve, develop the areas they struggle with and keep them on track.

Employees who are left fumbling about in the dark are more likely to feel demotivated, quickly.

5. Allow space to learn

If you want your employees to grow, you need to create opportunities to make it happen.

Yes, this means sending them for courses and supporting them through qualification programs. But more than that, you need to allow your team members to rise to the challenge and trust them with assignments.

And sometimes, that might mean stepping away, not hovering over them – and empowering them to problem solve without you.

When they know that you believe in them, they’ll have a greater sense of ownership over the task and the organisation. And they’ll work harder to meet your expectations.

6. Support work-life balance

All work and no play makes everyone dull. It’s also not sustainable – and can ultimately lead to burnout.

So it’s never a good idea for your staff to live their lives around their jobs.

Encourage them to work efficiently and discourage late hours in the office. Respect their personal time and support their non-work interests. Remember, just because they have a life outside work doesn’t mean they can’t give their best professionally.

Plus, happy staff are more likely to stick around – and go further.

7. Have a succession plan in place

Professional development, seminars and industry conferences are all important. But nothing will motivate your staff as much as succession planning.

Having a succession plan in place sends an incredibly powerful message. It shows people that you’re not only willing to invest in their growth – but that you actually want them rising to leadership positions within your firm.

Having attainable promotional paths in sight is a strong incentive to improve and progress.

It’s often said that when something stops growing, it starts dying. And that’s true to an extent. Especially in the workplace.

If your employees feel that they aren’t growing professionally in your firm, it’s only a matter of time before they start to lose interest, become less productive, and look to move elsewhere.