Why Growth and Development are Essential for Healthy Workplaces
The blueprint for what the modern workplace looks like has shifted over the past couple of years, and as employees navigate these changes, they are becoming increasingly aware that their own needs and priorities have shifted as well. Now more than ever, employees are looking for organisations that support their development, value them as individuals, and care about their wellbeing. A workplace survey found that 94% of participants felt that they would stay longer if their company invested in helping them learn. Leaders, like yourself, have the ability to encourage this learning and development, especially among your own team members. However, in order to create a supportive environment, it is important that you are equipped with the right resources to do so.
That’s where we come in. Here at The Conscious Leadership Company (TCLC for short), our goal is to provide leaders, just like you, with the support they need to lead in an effective, conscious way. Our framework is based on five pillars of conscious leadership. One of these pillars is 'Growth' which includes the idea that learning is constant, and curiosity drives performance. So how do you begin to facilitate an environment of learning and growth among your team members? We have outlined our top tips for getting started below.
When one of your team members is developing any skillset, they need to walk before they run. It is natural that they’ll have questions, and when they do, they need to feel comfortable and psychologically safe enough to ask them. You may have heard us mention the concept of psychological safety in our previous blogs, but something so essential to conscious leadership bears repeating. First coined by professor Amy Edmondson, psychologist safety refers to the belief that one can speak up without the risk of punishment or humiliation. Simply put, this means not being afraid to ask silly questions, make mistakes, or voice concerns when you think something isn’t working.
While psychological safety may sound like a fairly straightforward concept, implementing it requires a conscious approach and constant effort. That being said, maintaining a safe environment and encouraging curiosity within your team members is crucial when it comes to facilitating growth and development.
Eliminate learned helplessness
When an employee feels unsupported and stressed by their workplace environment, they often come to believe that their opinions and work don’t matter. They may also think they have no power to change their situation. Over time, they can begin to act passively toward their daily responsibilities and avoid challenges, or anything that requires effort on their part. This is known as learned helplessness. Unsurprisingly, learned helplessness does very little to inspire growth and development within the workplace. That’s why it’s important that conscious leaders equip themselves with the means to help their team members overcome and eliminate their own learned helplessness.
Frame challenges in a positive way
To start with, help your team members view workplace challenges in a positive way. Treat them as opportunities to learn from and don’t shy away from failure.
Taking care of yourself outside of the office, and giving your team members permission to do the same, can benefit overall wellbeing in the workplace. Activities such as exercise can help lower anxiety and stress and reduce the risk of negative workplace phenomena like learned helplessness.
Don’t do the work for them
When one of your team members is displaying symptoms of learned helplessness, it might seem like the best thing to do is to give them all the answers. But this does nothing to stop the cycle of their learned helplessness. Instead, provide the resources they need to get their job done. Help them when they are stuck and acknowledge their effort to try. It may take time and perseverance but eliminating learned helplessness is key for a truly healthy work environment that supports growth and development.
Recognise team members as the valuable asset they are
It is no secret that we as humans like to feel valued, and appreciated. When we feel valued it contributes to our overall sense of stability and wellbeing. It allows us to trust that what we are doing matters and fills us with a sense of accomplishment. When organisations value their employees and recognise their full potential, they are more likely to support their overall growth and development. So how can you recognise your team members as the valuable assets they are?
Giving credit where credit is due
Start by giving them the credit they deserve for the hard work they have done. Whether this means creating an employee recognition program or simply celebrating achievements as they happen, this is an important step to letting your team members know they matter and fostering their desire for growth and development.
Prioritise a work-life balance
It is impossible to be connected every hour of the day to work. Your organisation should not expect this of you, and as a conscious leader, you should not expect this of your team members. Letting your team members know it is ok to switch off during non-working hours, shows that you value them as an individual, not just an employee. This can reduce stress, help prevent burnout, and promote the idea that their organisation supports them on a deeper level.
Professional development and learning opportunities
Typically offering professional development opportunities falls on your organisation, and it is up to them what those opportunities look like. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go to bat for your team members. If given the opportunity, advocate for these programs and their benefits. Organisations who invest in their employees are more likely to retain them long-term and lower their recruitment costs. Additionally, employees who are invested in their own development are more likely to discover new skills and advance within their companies.
Feedback, Feedback, and more Feedback
Finally, Do not be afraid of feedback. Giving feedback helps your team members know where they need to focus their efforts and what areas they can grow and develop in. Feedback is especially well-received when given in a kind and productive way, so remember to give well-structured advice and focus on the positive qualities of the person as well. And don’t forget, just as you give feedback to others, you need to be prepared to receive it as well. It is just as important for you as a leader to know what areas you can improve on, and where your opportunities for growth and development are as well. If you’d like to learn more about how to do this and become a better, more conscious leader, we’ve got the tools to help you.
Our UCL-validated Conscious Leader psychometric gives you a real-time view of how you’re doing as a leader. At the same time, our Consciously app is a digital learning and wellbeing platform that helps you build healthy environments for yourself and your team and promote their workplace learning and development.