What a tragedy it would be if you lived your entire life without discovering who you are, without reaching your full potential. – Ray Mancini
One of the greatest human motivators is to identify, tap into and then release potential inside of ourselves and of others. Releasing potential in its simplest form is improving and taking clear steps towards being the best version of our-self. Great managers harness this and create a culture of releasing and realizing potential, one where staff believe getting better is not only necessary but possible.
Great managers harness the motivational power of releasing potential in their staff.
Staff will only realize their full potential when a culture of professional development is created. They need to have bought into and embraced that getting better at what they do is part of their job. They also need a leader who understands their work personality and identifies how to align this to achieving objectives within their work. Also the leader must have built up an emotional bank and know how to utilize this to push the staff member to aim for greatness.
The emotional bank should be used to harness potential.
With all new staff or staff new to a position, I always start their training emphasizing the importance of personal professional development, the idea that how much they develop is dependent on them. I let them know they been selected because of the great potential they have but whether or not this potential is realised will depend on 3 things. Their natural abilities which i for simplicity term “nature”. The physical and emotional environment in which they work which i term “nurture” and thirdly their own determination and commitment to success which I term “self”.
Potential is dependent on 3 things: “nature” i.e. our natural abilities. Nurture i.e. our physical and emotional environment in which we work and thirdly “self” – our determination and commitment to achieving success.
I use the slide below to help indicate that potential is released via these three forms but also show they are not of equal importance. 1st is nature itself i.e. our own natural – starting – ability. “Nature” encompasses our skill sets and work personality. I never down play the importance of “nature” as of course our abilities are what we need to use in our work to achieve our set goals. However what I do always leave clear is that being good at most modern work encompasses having many many abilities and hardly ever does a person have all the skill sets needed, hence why one can argue the capacity to learn more is more important than existing skill sets. Also i leave clear that no “ability”, whether something we are great or poor at, is fixed as we can both improve and worsen in skill sets but that improvement (or not) happens more because of our “self” than it does cause of the skills themselves.
“Nurture” is likewise very important as the environment one has to work within will naturally influence the staff member’s capacity and willingness to progress and develop. “Nurture” encompasses the physical space and emotional and practical support network someone works within. After getting staff to be inside out about developing potential, it can be argued that “nurture” is the part the manager is most responsible for getting right for their staff as managers often directly determine (or influence) the physical and emotional environment their staff work within. However the same thing is not usually so relevant to staff as they usually have little control over this area, so I advise my staff to focus more on “self” (their actions) which they can control. Saying this of course staff can play their part if creating a productive physical work space to work within and be a positive influence on the team so that a supportive emotional work environment exists but factors which will help towards a productive nurture environment.
To realize potential we should focus on the things we can control and change and not on things outside of our influence.
The most important part to realizing potential is “self” i.e one’s own actions that push towards self-improvement and realization of potential. “Self” encompasses our attitude, self-discipline and character. We can worry about the skills we don’t have and complain about the environment we have to work in but ultimately this will do nothing to help us progress and release our potential. What will help us to progress is the attitude that forces us to accept we need to learn a new skill and the discipline that makes that learning successful. Also our character will make us see beyond the complications of our work environment and envision the success we will achieve regardless of the hurdles in place.
Our character, attitude and self control are what most helps our own potential to be released.
So from now on as you embrace your management mission, make releasing the potential in your staff as a top priority but do it via getting them to take responsibility for their own journey. You should praise their ability but likewise get them to believe and accept that lack of ability can be overcome by learning and developing. You must also provide them a productive environment in which to develop and progress, as you are responsible for nurturing their success. However most of all you must push them to take responsibility to be disciplined and motivated about creating greatness and being the very best version of themselves they can be.
Great managers harness potential.