Although certain types of employee development require a financial investment (e.g., seminars, professional memberships, subscriptions), the best return is generated from an investment of your time and energy. Even though time and energy are always finite, purpose-driven leaders invest these precious resources into their teams.
When employees know you have a vested interest in their success, tough discussions become easier, issues are addressed rather than avoided, and solutions are presented by rather than prodded from employees.
Andrew Carnegie was an excellent leader and inspiring coach. He came to America from his native Scotland when he was a small boy, did a variety of odd jobs, and eventually ended up as the largest steel manufacturer in the United States.
At one time, he was the wealthiest man in America. To put his wealth into perspective, he sold the Carnegie Steel Company to J. P. Morgan in 1901 for $480 million. Today's equivalent value is nearly $400 billion. Carnegie was also a great philanthropist. He donated the current equivalent of $79 billion to various charities, universities, and libraries.
At one point, Carnegie had 43 millionaires working for him. In the late 1800's, a millionaire was a very rare per- son. A reporter once asked Carnegie how he had managed to hire 43 millionaires. Carnegie responded that those people had not been millionaires when they started working for him, but rather had become millionaires as a result of working for him.
The reporter's next question was: "How did you develop these men to become so valuable to you that you have paid them this much money?" Carnegie replied that men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold, but one doesn't go into the mine looking for dirt--one goes in looking for the gold.
Inspiring coaches see it as their purpose to look for the gold in their employees. Once these coaches find it, they coach their employees to refine that gold. They help their employees build better lives for themselves and others while producing winning results.
In the crunch of daily demands, it is easy to forget a fundamental law of leader ship: If your employees are successful, you are successful.