This article originally appeared in BOSS Magazine.
Identifying and monitoring professional and organizational goals is standard operating procedure for businesses, yet applying the same framework to personal growth and development can take you, your company, and your team members from good to great.
Many leaders, unfortunately, fall short in continually growing on a personal level and in fostering the development of their team members. It’s not that entrepreneurs, CEOs and managers don’t care about growth. It’s that they can become so focused on business goals that they forget about the importance of improving their lives – and their coworkers’ lives – outside of work.
When people invest in personal growth, it will lead to improvements in the business they are part of, manifest through a better bottom line, enhanced productivity and increased camaraderie. Additionally, success stories will begin to spread throughout your company and inspire your entire team to achieve greater success.
Here are four ways to develop the personal growth of team members within your company:
The best place to start is to ask team members to write down their personal goals. It’s important that everyone feels comfortable sharing their goals, even the goals that make them feel vulnerable, which means creating a safe environment where no one will be ridiculed or criticized.
Next, sit down with them to find out how you, as the business leader, can help them make their goals come true. Let your team know you are putting them first when it comes to their goals, and show you are invested in their success.
Leaders also should be willing to share their own goals. When the top leaders of company share what they want to achieve personally, it creates trust throughout the organization, which makes work easier and more enjoyable, because everyone understands each others’ interests and motivations.
Once everyone has set their goals, review them with each person individually to see if they are achievable. Encourage colleagues to avoid “Climbing Mt. Everest” types of goals. Smaller and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound) goals are always more effective than pie-in-the-sky dream goals.
Next, make sure everyone has a plan in place, complete with itemized tasks that are necessary to achieve the goals in a realistic time frame. Without a clear road map, it’s unlikely team members will arrive at their destination.
Finally, have regularly scheduled check-ins to monitor your team members’ progress and help them overcome any challenges they are facing. Holding follow-up meetings every two weeks helps keep everyone on schedule. It’s a rhythm that’s rooted in the Rockefeller Habits – the core of the Petra Coach process we use to develop a culture of accountability and purpose within an organization.
Nearly everyone encounters obstacles when pursuing personal goals. When that happens, and it eventually will, it’s important that each team member – including the CEO – take a step back and ask themselves, “Why did that happen?” and “What should I do to respond?” to figure out how to overcome roadblocks.
If a solution can’t be found, create Plan B. Supporting a team member’s alternative plan – and getting feedback on changes to your updated goals – should not be seen as failure. It shows the entire organization is steadfast in moving forward. The goal is the final destination.
When goals are achieved, celebrate the victories throughout the company. Set aside time each month or quarter to recognize the personal achievements of your teammates. Honoring their hard work in a group setting creates a more positive atmosphere within the company and shows team members that leadership values their efforts to improve personally and professionally.
There are two places where team members should feel free to explore their personal growth: at home and work. When done correctly, helping everyone in your company set and achieve their personal goals will improve engagement and performance on a professional level.