Zig Ziglar said that the only worse than training people and losing them was not training them and keeping them. I have shared this quote in many of the conferences I’ve led for leaders. I am committed to lifelong learning, and I am just as committed to seeing that those who work with me have the opportunity to learn and grow as well.
Through his many books John Maxwell has been one of my leadership mentors. He is well known for writing that everything rises and falls on leadership. That includes not only the top leadership but everyone in a leadership role in an organization. If the leaders of an organization have a leadership lid of a 5 the organization cannot go past a 4 in effectiveness. However, if the leadership rises to an 8 then the organization can rise to a 7. This is why it’s critical that everyone in an organization is given the opportunity to grow. Investing in their growth is one investment that will reap great dividends.
The question then is should you help people grow in the areas of their strengths or their weaknesses? My viewpoint is that we grow best in the areas in which we are already gifted and strong. If the weakness is moral in nature, then growth is obviously needed there, but for most people they need to be built up in the areas in which they are already strong. You can always find ways to work around someone’s weaknesses.
I know I am not a great administrator. I am not real good with details. I need someone to help me in those areas, and it’s a simple thing to have someone handle those things while I focus on the bigger picture which I am better at doing. I’ve told every administrative assistant I’ve ever had that they made me look much better than I really was. My strengths are found in leading others so I’ve focused much of my ongoing training in becoming a better leader. I’ve also tried to help others focus most of their training in the areas of their strengths.
Another question is what do you do with people who don’t want to grow? I do not understand such people, but I’ve known a number of them and had some work for me. Such people usually remain in entry level positions until they leave or they are asked to leave. No successful organization can use many people who have no interest in growing. It’s probably best for both the organization and the individual to let them go so they can find a better fit for what they want to do with their lives.
Growing people takes time, money and energy, but it’s worth the price you pay. Such people will add value to your organization and help make it more successful. You will also create a sense of loyalty among those you help grow. Why would someone want to leave an organization committed to their long-term growth and success?