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The 10 Pillars Of Growing Your People

Header image of the article: "The 10 Pillars Of Growing Your People". Leadership lessons, picture representing the pillars that support the growing of your team as a leader.

It doesn't matter what the occasion, one of the last things anybody wants to see on a box at the store is the phrase “Some assembly required”

Unfortunately for us as leaders, our teams always come with some assembly required, and so do each of the members of our team.

As leaders it is our responsibility to make sure the members of our team are as fully developed as possible.

John Maxwell even said “Growing value in your people is the core of leadership”.

So how do we grow our people especially in terms of adding value to them, so they in turn can add value to our team?

That's why I created the 10 Pillars of Growing Your People. Let's spend some time exploring each of them:

The 10 Pillars Of Growing Your People 

1. Prepare Them

Every field of endeavor has certain basics that have to be mastered. However mastering the basics is seldom enough to excel, sometimes barely enough to tread water!

The first step is to make sure each member of your team is solid on the basics.

Then focus on building the skills and traits that make them even more valuable to your team.

2. Really Get To Know Them and What Makes Them Tick

This step not only helps you grow value in the members of your team, but motivate them as well. We forget to often as leaders that not everybody is in the same stage of their career.

Not everybody is on our team for the same reason.

One size fits all is lazy leadership, and almost always doesn't work very well.

One of the first thing I ask a new member of any team I'm working with is “What's the dream ?”. You also want to get to know about their families, hobbies etc. This will be useful intelligence as you go about building and motivating your team.

3. Get Them Thinking About The Next Step and Get Them Ready

An early career person will be looking for the next promotion. The later career person most likely more interested in retirement.

Whatever a person sees as their next step, help them prepare for their goals.

This will enable you to have much happier team-members that feel higher satisfaction in their current role.

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4. Help Them Visualize

I worked with a very good Vice-President years ago. He supervised several branch offices including ours which was on the floor above his. He found out that one of our reps had a dream to buy a certain expensive car.

On his way to work one day he stopped and got the brochure for that car! He then brought it upstairs and personally gave it to the rep involved

Talk about helping your people visualize in detail!

This guy had his rep picking out options on his dream car from the actual list! Note the level of personal involvement shown here. You think that didn't make this rep feel like a valuable member of the team? You bet it did!

5. Encourage Them to Take Chances

People that don't take chances, don't grow.

But people will naturally shy away from taking chances if they fear they will be hammered for every little mistake.

When your people over extend or out right mess up, try to think of it as a teaching moment to help them grow not a chance to jump down their throat !

6. Spend Time With Them 

Is the only time your team-members get your attention when they do something wrong?

Over 30 years ago everybody was hot about a book called the One Minute Manager. The book spoke about how a multitude of one minute conversations with our team could make us better managers and leaders

One of the things it suggested was to catch your people doing something right. To do this right you have to really take a minute. Tossing a casual “good job” in their general direction will not be good enough.

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7. Encourage Balance

We've all heard the same advice: Be the first one there, the last to leave, and out work everybody else in between.

If we were all robots with nothing but our careers in our lives that might work.

For example: what good is it to work so you can have a family if you wreck your family in the process? 

Remember the vice-president from before? Being downstairs he would review our schedules for the coming week every week. Inevitably newer people would load up their schedule with office hours etc, to impress the big boss. More than once I saw the man hold somebody's schedule up to them and go “Where's your son's little league game?” or something like it.

As leaders we should never forget that it is almost always about more than a paycheck, and we shouldn't let our people forget it either!

8. Help Them Identify The Forces and Attitudes That Are Holding Them Back, and Mow Them Down!

None of us are perfect. That simple fact have left all of us with a certain amount of fears, perceptions etc. that are holding us back.

Help your people find ways to identify these limiting factors and deal with them.

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9. Give Them Chances to Lead and Teach

It's been said a million times that there is no better way to learn something than to teach it. The same thing can be said for leading those who do something

Give your people a chance now and then to spread their wings.

This also relates to steps 3 & 4 above. Let them see and feel in small doses what the future looks like. Let them actually practice being there.

10. Work to Be Open to Questions, and Truly Effectively Listen.

People ask questions to learn, to be sure they understand.

If you don't encourage questions you will miss out on valuable information that could help your organization blast through its goals.

We sincerely hope that you can become a better a leader after reading these 10 pillars of growing your people.
Share these leadership lessons with other leaders you know and help them grow their team too!


Robert A. Crutchfield is a bi-vocational minister, and veteran leader based in Katy, Texas. He has led everything from small work teams to sitting at the board table. His leadership experience spans private business, government/politics, and the non-profit sector. He can be found across social media including Linkedin.


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