The Five Most Powerful Ways to Unleash Potential
One of the most frustrating challenges facing leaders in any industry is the ability to unleash the potential in the people they lead. Finding ways to get their teams to see their own potential and strive to reach that potential eludes many leadership teams. In researching approaches to motivation for my book, A Garage Full of Ferraris, I uncovered the following five approaches used to successfully unlock potential.
1) Educate: People are frequently hesitant to put forward their maximum effort when they are uncertain as to which course to take. A fear of taking a wrong step results in indecision and inaction. Earl Nightingale, one of the greatest inspirational speakers of all time, once characterized knowledge as one of the greatest motivators. The more educated your team is, the more confident they will be in taking action and the sooner they will reach their full potential.
2) Empower: Most people will refuse to take action if they do not believe they have the authority to do so. Many managers are either poor at communicating their expectations or are hesitant to empower their employees for fear they will relinquish too much of their own power. They may not have adequate confidence in their team’s ability to perform tasks the way they believe they should be executed. As a result of the dilemma facing these managers, they send mixed signals to their teams. When managers fail to empower their teams, they get less than stellar results. Managers who are anxious to achieve significant results will show confidence in the people who work for them and clearly encourage them to take action. When people believe they are empowered and accountable, and they have been adequately trained, they will frequently achieve results that far exceed expectations.
3) Listen: When managers do not listen to their teams, they send a message that they do not value their input. When people feel that their input and ideas are not being listened to or valued, they will not be motivated to move forward. Managers who take the time to listen to the members of their team show that they respect the ideas that are being put forward, and by so doing they instill confidence in their team. By listening they become aware of obstacles that may be keeping their employees from taking action. With this knowledge, the manager is able to remove the obstacles, thus enabling the team to move forward more rapidly.
4) Trust: Trust is one of the most powerful motivators. When people feel trusted, they will respect themselves and feel more confident. With this confidence comes the inspiration to take the action and risks needed to achieve extraordinary results. When people feel that their managers do not trust them, they lose confidence and are less inclined to take action or risks. Lack of trust can also produce debilitating fear. A side benefit of showing trust in people is the reciprocal affect – people who have the trust of others tend to feel the same way back. When people trust their managers they are less likely to question their mandates and therefore less likely to hesitate in taking the actions needed to reach their goals.
5) Believe: Communicating that you believe in your team’s ability to accomplish a goal is key to instilling confidence in them. When people receive a clear message that their managers believe in them, they will begin to have confidence in themselves. Their belief in their own ability to succeed will inspire them to take the actions necessary to reach their potential. In most cases, this belief will help your team reach far greater results than they would have believed possible without that expression of confidence.