The best way to develop someone is to give them opportunity.
Today I took my third call from someone (who I like) who was asking for feedback. They’ve asked me three times in the last three months.
I love giving feedback. I think I’m good at it. But in this case, I think he was asking feedback so he would know he was ready to move forward.
But this time I didn’t want him to ask for feedback. I wanted him to get movin’. I felt like he was asking for me to review his backstroke, and I wanted him to get in the pool.
You aren’t ready to get in the pool. Until you get in the pool.
The best way to develop people isn’t to try to prepare them perfectly for the next thing. It’s to let them do it. Staff training initiatives pale in comparison to the opportunity to do it. The risk of actual failure is a far better teacher than a staff manual.
Don’t send ’em to a class. Give ’em a chance. Don’t hand them a book, hand them the reins.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing in the modern world is trying to get experience when nobody will give it to you!
If you are hiring or promoting: Don’t look for experience, look for hunger. Hungry people will always learn. Experienced people won’t always grow (or contribute). In fact, people who are resting on their experience often underperform those without it.
The best thing for the people on your team is to give them opportunity.
If you are job searching or promotion: Don’t wait for someone to hand you the reins, they almost never will. Start. Go. Lead! Initiate.
The secret to starting is to start. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you it’s your turn.
I write about leading, connecting, and changing every week. You can stay in the loop here.