Bridging employee potential


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Maria, a full-timer in her early twenties, was a self-starter who made my life as a store manager much easier. What I loved most about Maria was her desire to grow and develop. She wanted to get ahead in the company. We would talk often about what she could do to reach her potential.

Joan also worked in my store. She was a part-timer in her mid-thirties who worked when her kids were in school. What I loved about Joan was her dependability and how she got things done. We would talk often about what needed to happen in the store. 

I look back now and see what a huge opportunity I missed with Joan. She had so much potential. She could have made an even bigger impact on the business – if only I had focused on helping her discover it. 

Employees like Maria are easy to develop. They’re go-getters who are always looking to be better. All we have to do is point them in the right direction, give them some guidance, and they’re racing across the bridge to their potential.

Employees like Joan are easily overlooked. They come in, do their job well, and aren’t looking to get promoted. Even if they don’t realize it, they’re still full of potential. Potential that, when realized, will benefit both the employee and the company. 

Joan would have benefited from being more engaged in other parts of the store and making an even greater contribution. She might even have decided she wanted to move up in the company. Even if she didn’t want to, reaching higher potential could well have benefited her in her personal life. The company would have benefited in more ways than I have room to share. It would have been huge.

Every employee has potential. Some of them build their own bridges to it. Others need us to help them create it. Some employees race across the bridge. Others need to be led. Some employees know exactly what it takes to cross the bridge. Others need to be shown. Some employees believe in themselves. Others need you to believe in them until they do.

The most important thing we do as leaders is to help people reach their full potential. Great specialty retailers and other customer-focused companies don’t succeed with people. They succeed through people. The other side of that bridge is not only where employees reach their own potential, but it is also where the store finds even greater success, too. 

So let me ask, what about your team? Is every employee on her/his own bridge to discovering her/his potential? What can you do to make the journey even more fulfilling for the employee and for your results?

– Doug

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


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