Developing Others in Challenging Times

I’ve worked with many leaders and emerging leaders over the years and I’ve noticed several themes emerge in these engagements. One central concern is how to develop others when your time is limited, your responsibilities are great and the circumstances are taxing.

While difficult organizational realities are here to stay, there are three simple strategies that can help you grow other people, even in demanding times.

  • Assess your own readiness to take on the task of developing others. If you are not ready, what do you need to become ready?
  • Evaluate the “readiness” of your subordinates to grow, change, take risks and learn to do things differently. If they are not ready, help them prepare. If you don’t know what they need, ask them.
  • Ask questions that inspire others’ ideas for solutions rather than automatically providing your own best answers.

These strategies can be used in most developmental conversations. For example, they can nurture high potential leaders and they can assist when you coach managers who are facing situations that are operationally or emotionally challenging. They can also guide you when you are providing constructive criticism.

These and similar practices can help you and all of us become more reflective. As we engage others in the hard work of becoming better leaders, we ourselves are similarly engaged. We grow, too. We become more humble, more self-aware, and more powerful. The process greatly benefits us – and it benefits those with whom we work even more.

Portions of this article originally appeared in Nurse Leader.

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