Recently I completed the evaluations for my team and I did something different this year than in years past in that I asked the associates to help me evaluate themselves. This is not the normal process for my company but I wanted my team to value their progress in the company versus me telling them what I think and where I believe they should move to next. After evaluating them on their current skills I asked them, “What do you want to do within the company?”
This one particular associate is new to my team but has been with the company 12 years. This was my first eval of him and he looked puzzled by the question so I led the conversation with I see the leadership that he exhibits and that he would make an excellent supervisor. He said, “Sean, You think I have what it takes to be supervisor?” My response was, “Do you come to work and start your day without asking me what needs to be done? Do you coach and counsel your co-workers on how to do their jobs better so that management doesn’t get involved?” He looked at me and said, “Yeah I do.” You have what it takes then.
I also told him to think about what he would like to have included in his progression plan and let me know. Two days later he tells me what he wants to do and I design a training course for him that allows him to shadow me and other supervisors and learn what we know. I add this to his eval and now he has an action plan. The last thing I said to him was, "There is a glass ceiling but you have to bust through and be the best you can be."
I did the same thing with my other teammates and that one question sparked lengthy conversations about growth both personal and on a corporate level. One guy has aspirations of being a rapper but he wants to make supervisor so he can use the money to fuel his growth outside of corporate America. When he applied for a position within the company I took him in the office and mock “interviewed” him. I taught him what we look for and how to sell himself.
Another guy wants to learn the systems but he was nervous about them and consequently felt overwhelmed when sitting at the desk with the computers in his face. He is Latino and his English is good but I know that if he sat with another co-worker of Latino descent he would feel more at ease and learn faster. I gave him a 30 minute window everyday to sit in the office with us and develop his skills. Now when I come in the office in the morning I see him well after the 30 minute window BUT he is smiling and learning a set of skills that will help him grow personally and professionally.
By using this evaluation technique I learned more about how my team felt concerning themselves and it allowed me to foster worthiness within them. It also allowed me to reflect on how I value myself. I like helping people find their potential. I like watching people develop and grow beyond what they thought they could do even if that means their value becomes greater than mine. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Even though I described situations from work I apply these principle to my everyday life. What I want you to do is ask yourself, “How do I value myself? How do I value and add value to others?