How to inspire your direct reports to grow

If you want to inspire growth in others, stay focused on them. Here are the four top tips to do so.

  1. Revelation not presumption: Our key task, as a contributor of other peoples' growth, is to reveal their inspiration. Keep asking what sparks their interests to avoid clunky conversations full of  mismatches in inspiration and hidden blocks to behaviour change. 
  2. Don’t judge: Once we reveal their inspiration, the next task is to withhold judgement. Judging will not help you stay curious, by default it will introduce opportunities for clashing conversations.
  3. Build: The third task is to look for ways to build their existing inspiration. Enable them to see that their potential is greater, or that their purpose is bigger. If someone wants to make a real difference, explore what this means for them: How do they feel they are going with that goal? How can you as their manager, or the business support them with it?
  4. Stay curious: The fourth and most crucial step is to enable their inspiration to change and develop as they grow. Remain fluid in your expectations of what inspires them. Don’t get caught out by thinking, ‘but they told me that ‘X’ was what motivated them and now they are saying ‘Y’ motivates them. What is going on?’. Keep stretching to hear and do not assume that the conversation is over because you understand. Keep talking and exploring, and remember you are dealing with a human who is fluid, not an algorithm which is fixed (which is why once annual reviews don't help growth).
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