The decision to not grow is a decision to regress.
Leaders must intentionally make a decision to grow their team and create a plan to do it. This is especially critical for leaders of Millennials, as 71 percent of Millennials who are likely to leave an organization within two years are dissatisfied with how their leadership skills are being developed.
Should employees be responsible for growing themselves? Yes.
Should leaders be responsible for growing employees? Yes.
Growing a team must be a both/and decision. Leaders need to invest in employees and employees need to invest in themselves.
In a recent interview with David Hoyt, the former president of The John Maxwell Company shared with me how he intentionally grew his Millennial employees. Hoyt asked every employee to create a personal growth plan. Considering 80 percent of Millennials say an emphasis on personal growth is the most important quality of a company's culture, this was an effective way to engage and retain these employees. (Hoyt then committed the organization to making a monetary contribution to everyone's personal growth plan.)
Here is what Hoyt asked for the personal growth plan to cover.
- Timeframe: One year
- Length: One-two page written document
- Content: List books to read, items to listen to or watch, mentors to meet, and events to attend.
- Employees were provided a template and best practices, but it was up to the individual to list the specifics (titles, frequency, names, etc.). Hoyt's own personal growth plan consists of a minimum of one book per month, one podcast episode or learning experience per week, one mentor meeting per month, and two events (one personal and one professional) per year. In addition to having paid time off, employees received personal growth time off to attend events.
- Accountability: The leader and employee revisited the personal growth plan on a quarterly basis. This positions the leader as a coach, which is the leadership style that resonates most with Millennials and Generation Z. Leaders asked:
- What help do you need (time, budget, access, etc.)?
- What are you learning?
In the same way the ocean's undercurrent will cause an unsuspecting individual to drift away from where they want to be, the undercurrent of life and work will cause professionals to drift if they are not committed to personal growth.
Your team is either growing or regressing -- there is no middle ground.
As a Millennial and Generation Z keynote speaker and trainer, I help companies lead, engage, and sell to the emerging generations. If you'd like help solving tough generational challenges inside your organization, click here.