Make a list of five of your good employees. Not the stars, and not the laggards, but people who come in everyday, do a good job, and go home. (This applies to telecommuting roles too btw) Now take a look at that list, and take a minute to think about each of those five people. What percent of their potential do you think they’re delivering at work? 50%? 60%? 70%? Can you imagine them taking their performance up a notch or two? What would that mean for your organization’s results?
It would mean a lot! So why not rethink employee engagement and retaining your talent that shows up every day?
Unleashing Career Potential Matters
Great leaders inspire people and find ways to unleash their hidden power. And from that, flows success. And satisfaction. And energy. And innovation. And profits. And a better workplace culture.
The key is to unleashing this potential is to reach people on an emotional, visceral level. To find their passion, what they love, what excites them, what turns work into something closer to play.
Locating Employee Power
Pick one of those five employees on your list. Schedule a talk with this person. Nothing formal like an employee review, but find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Ask this person what they like most (or even loves) about their job, and what they like least (or even hates). Some people, for example, love social media and are able to use it as an amazing work tool. Other people consider it a chore and/or a distraction from the work they enjoy.
As they answer, look for growing excitement in their voice; watch the body language for signs of engagement such as leaning into you and increased animation in their face. Now ask about career passions, specifically for ways they intersect with her job, and for ideas on how to increase that intersection. What you are uncovering is untapped power and potential.
Tying In Skills And Strengths
After the meeting, if at all possible tweak the job so that the focus is firmly (obsessively?) on what your employees loves and their passions. Cut out anything extraneous. Make it clear to that your employees own this new job description. This means if they fail maybe they are not truly cut out for this particular career choice. Am I really suggesting this? Yes. Just try it.
Of course, no job can be all passion/fun all the time, and all employees — even stars who roar into work every day — have to spend at least some time on stuff that’s a drag or boring. We’re not going to create a perfect world of work. But we can get a whole lot closer. This is about unleashing that extra 10%, 20%, 30% that will cause employee (and your company’s) happiness and performance to soar.
Seeing Power Takeoff
Watch what happens with that first employee. I’ll bet you anything you’ll see this person reach new levels of performance, and quickly. Why? Because you’ve made this person a partner in their own work life. You tapped into what they love to do. And you’ve made concrete changes to a job that demonstrates your respect and commitment to your employee’s (and your joint) business success and career future.
And what really turns this into a twofer is that you’ve unleashed some of your own untapped power as a leader.
It’s all about passion. Always curious to hear your thoughts.
A version of this was first posted on Forbes.