Leading Others

The Biggest Mistake When Developing People

So today I'd like to share something that might seem to be the opposite of the advice you've always heard, and it may bring up something really uncomfortable for you. And you may instantly disagree with me. And I hope that you'll extend grace for a few moments. Just kind of hear me out.

The thing that I wanna talk to you about today is I actually want you to stop believing in people's potential.

For the types of leaders that I speak to this is a very tough thing to hear. The challenge for us is that we really do believe in everyone's potential. I get it. My nickname growing up was Tigger and I'm pretty sure a family member used to call me gullible because I really believed in optimism and anything somebody said to me, and this actually contributed to my success as it has to yours, because you believed anything was possible.

Sometimes it can become an overuse of a strength when it comes to developing our team members as a coach, I very much believe in people's potential. My mission is to help loyal leaders like you, that take really good care of other people. I wanna help take care of you. And sometimes we need to know that we can take care of people a little too much. Here's what I'm talking about. You have a team member that, and you hire them and you believe in their potential. They are absolutely right for the job. And you set them up for a success. You give 'em a great training program or you give 'em on the job training and you help onboard them. And you don't give them too many goals in the beginning. You just wanna help them settle in and get a feel for the culture and the people before they get going. Over time, though, you may realize that they aren't actually meeting the standards that you would like for them to meet, but you still believe in their potential.

You still believe it's possible for them. So you give them a little extra, additional training and support because they say they really wanna do a good job for you. And you being that type of loyal leader, you believe them, and you wanna believe that they are able to meet the potential you believe is possible for them. One thing I want you to consider though, do their actions match their words? Do they take action? Do they look for resources for themselves on the things that you've asked them to work on? Do they Google answers? Do they ask others to show them things? Do they reach out to people and ask for help? Do they create daily habits and practices that allow them to work and focus on the things that you've asked them to work on. Do they read books? Do they tell you what they're reading?

Think about how you would do it. If you've decided that you really wanna learn something, this is most likely the approach that you would take. This is what is probably contributed to your high performance. And if you aren't seeing this type of action matching their words, this is the evidence you need to start having a different approach and that's to stop believing in their potential and start believing in their actual abilities. Once you do this, you can have a very realistic approach on how best to utilize their strengths on your team. There's one thing, one very important thing. I also wanna share with you. That is a huge pain point. When we believe so much in people's potential without the evidence to support that belief. When we believe in their potential, but then they do not realize that potential, it can actually cause a lot of pain for them and for you, it's painful because they feel like they're disappointing you.

And nobody likes the feeling of disappointing someone when we're honest and let go of the hope that they will meet that imaginary potential. And we start to accept them for who they actually are. We start to work within that reality and that makes them feel truly seen and valued and heard in the ways that we all want and the ways that we all want our team members to feel. And at times that means that you might have to help them transition into another role or company because you really do want them to have that experience of feeling seen and heard. Every culture is different. Every team has different needs. Every leader has different standards and expectations, and everyone deserves to be on a team that feels great for them. So we have a tool that'll actually help you identify some of those standards and expectations and needs that you have because that's often one of the toughest things for us to figure out for ourselves. So we'd like to invite you to go over and download that and going forward, you'll be able to channel your hope and belief into the people that are capable of meeting your standards and values. I hope this was really helpful to you today and helps you kind of think through this a little bit differently.

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