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How to help employees to develop and change

Helping employees develop skills and change attitudes is an important part of any business. But, it can be a challenging process at best. To achieve the best results requires leadership and management but can be an ultimately rewarding experience when successful.

The key to changing and developing employees is determined directly by the ability of the person attempting to affect the change. If you can harness the skills required to be a change enabler it can benefit every aspect of your life, be it at home or at work. It can even help you to change yourself.

But, what are the skills required to enable change?

  • The ability to inspire others – There are different ways that you can go about trying to motivate individuals to change. One that doesn’t work too well is by forcibly telling someone they need to change and backing this up with frequent reminders. It’s far better if you can identify what someone else wants to achieve and make a link between that and the change you’re looking to make. As an inspiring leader you will understand the need for making an emotional connection with colleagues.
  • Identifying issues – It’s not always easy to read between the lines. Quite often we hear about people covering tasks, supposedly temporarily, and then ultimately inheriting them for the long haul. The more that people are expected to do this the more it impacts on their ability to do the job they were hired to do in the first place. Having the vision that allows you to see these problems is a valuable skill to possess. Highlighting areas where processes are broken is of the utmost importance as is differentiating between hard work and areas where people are being stretched too far.
  • Clear goals – Initiatives for change work best when everyone is aiming for the same target. Start any conversations about change by focusing on the strategy the change will serve.
  • Challenge everything – To be truly effective at driving meaningful change you have to challenge even those rules and methods that are seemingly set in stone. Having the confidence and foresight to do this will enable you to maneuver more effectively through the minefield of outdated practices.
  • Build others trust in your judgement – Asking others for advice before arriving at a decision is a sign of strength rather than weakness. By talking with your team to gather information and opinion you show faith in their knowledge and ability. This approach will also help improve your own judgement but also raise others’ perceptions of it too.
  • Show courage – Whenever change is considered you need to confident in your reasoning for making a change. Having the courage of your convictions is essential, particularly others may be uncomfortable about it. A great deal of what leaders and managers do demands a willingness to live and embrace discomfort.
  • Make change a priority – Too often efforts to change feature as just one of the other jobs to be done. Whether you’re looking to change a particular person or revamp a process, there must be a daily focus on the effort with progress tracked and analysed.

Driving change in people and methods effectively is based on strong, clear management. It’s not enough to simply be nice or will it work through incessant requests or nagging. Only by encouraging trust and respect and by maintaining a clear focus on the way ahead can change be implemented positively.

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