How To Help Each Member Of Your Team Flourish

AdVance Leadership » How To Help Each Member Of Your Team Flourish

Welcome to Friday 411, issue #066. In 4 minutes, with 1 insight and 1 action, you’ll discover 5 ways to bring out the best in every member of your team.

1 Insight

In order for your team to succeed as a whole, each individual member of the team needs to flourish under your leadership.

When I (Garland) was growing up, my grandmother had a garden. Unfortunately, she was too old to do the gardening. Instead, she perched herself in a lawn chair like a queen on a throne and barked orders at my dad and me.
I hated gardening – and still do. But I learned an important lesson from my grandmother. You don’t care for a “crop.” You tend individual plants. When individual plants flourish, then the whole crop is healthy.
The same is true in your leadership. You need a healthy team to accomplish big goals. But the team is actually a collection of individuals in community with each other. The more each member flourishes, the healthier the team will be.
There are five ways your leadership can help each individual on your team flourish.

1. Create Clarity of Roles

It takes more than a well-written job description to create clarity of roles.
Cal Newport points out, when someone isn’t clear on their priorities, they devolve into doing whatever is easiest. This isn’t beneficial for you or for them. It’s unfavorable for you because it means that your team is getting the lowest value productivity from the person. It’s detrimental for them because it means they’re doing the least engaging work.
Help each person on your team know:

  • What constitutes success
  • What they will be evaluated on
  • New responsibilities they are taking on
  • How to earn an “exceptional” versus  “satisfactory” review
  • What their three highest priorities are for each month/quarter/year

2. Give Autonomy

For years, we both worked with bosses that expected us to be at our desks from 8:30 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday. On top of these hours, our jobs demanded frequent late-night functions and traveling. These unrealistic expectations drained us of energy and lowered our motivation. We resented our supervisors for caring more about office hours than productivity. We both craved autonomy.
Autonomy is the need that people have to direct their own lives and work. According to Daniel Pink’s book Drive, your motivation grows when you are able to control what you do, when you do it, and who you do it with. It enhances both creativity and innovation. Giving autonomy demonstrates your trust in your team’s competencies.
When you become clear on each person’s role (see #1 above), it becomes easier to give autonomy. You establish what they are accountable to achieve. They determine how and when they do the work.

3. Provide Development Opportunities

According to a recent survey of HR Trends, 40% of employees said that they feel valued when employers “provide growth opportunities.” Good leaders go beyond basic job training. They provide opportunities to develop in all areas of life. These opportunities come through books, digital courses, workshops, conferences, or mentoring opportunities.
Scott Ferguson of Builders FirstSource is a leader who we greatly respect. He runs a Truss Plant in Orlando, Florida, that employees hundreds of people. Before he took over the plant, his people felt undervalued and overlooked. Many of them had few opportunities for advancement. Their previous bosses provided occasional upskilling to them so that they could get better at jobs that they didn’t love.
But Scott took a different approach. Last year, he launched the TDEC (Training, Development, and Education Center) for his plant. It’s created dozens of Development Opportunities to enhance employees education and life skills.

  • Critical Thinking
  • Personal Finance
  • Problem Solving/Conflict Resolution
  • English/Spanish as a second language
  • Listening with Intent
  • Emotional Stability

His employee satisfaction and retention rates are exceptional. He explained his secret: when your team has a more satisfying life outside of work, they do better work. They feel valued.
Development Opportunities spark curiosity and learning which spreads throughout the team. They spark new ideas that help solve business challenges.

The launch of the TDEC in Orlando, August 2023. We had the honor of hosting the first training there. 

4. Create Stretch Challenges

In the same survey on HR Trends, 40% of employees reported being “dissatisfied” with their current job because “there isn’t room for growth.” As humans, we are wired for growth. We intuitively know that what isn’t growing is dying.
As a leader, one way that you can provide on-the-job growth is through Stretch Challenges. Stretch Challenges push people to move slightly out of their comfort zones. They start when you recognize the potential in others – often potential that they themselves are blind to.
Stretch Challenges include:

  • Learning a new skill
  • Learning how to do an old skill in new or faster ways
  • Applying current skills in a different context

Stretch Challenges are different than growth opportunities in two ways. First, the boss normally initiates them. Second, they have specific ways that they help the business.
Early in my career, I (Garland) once had a boss who assigned me to a new, cross-functional team. The organization had just gotten to the size that required the formation of an HR department. I had experience in guiding teams to formulate their Purpose, Mission, and Values. But I had zero experience with HR or with cross-functional teams. (In fact, I had to google “cross-functional team” to find out what he had signed me up for.)  His Stretch Challenge forced me to apply current skills in a different context while also learning a new skill of interdepartmental teamwork.

5. Give Freedom to Dream

Be honest with yourself. If you’re like most people, you don’t have a job because you love to work. Instead, you work to fuel your dreams.  It’s the same for the people you lead. Whether it’s owning a house, putting their kids through college, or traveling to all seven continents, every person on your team has dreams.
The more you know and support those dreams, the more you will kindle their passion at work.
Give people opportunities to talk about their hopes and dreams with you and with each other. Help them think through how they can create a better future. In The Dream ManagerMatthew Kelley encourages getting your whole team talking about their dreams with each other. Doing this, he says, helps everyone on the team support each other’s goals.

1 Action

Identify three Development Opportunities you can provide to your team in the next month.


Want to help your company unleash its leaders?

  1. Get your team to subscribe to the Friday411 newsletter.
  2. Get your copy of Gettin' (un)Busy, named by Forbes as “one of the books everyone on your team should read.”
  3. Email Garland to train your company’s leaders. We will equip them with 7 traits that solve 95% of their leadership challenges.
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