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John Coxon

Interestingly Steve in a recent mini survey of our clients, all managers in healthcare, aged care and nonprofit organisations, when asked to rank eight management behaviours, they rated 'developing others' as the 3rd most important. Of course there is a biasing element as those surveyed have been exposed to my philosophies, thoughts and in many instances coaching so therefore they have discussed people development with me - but still . . .

I once read that the reason for being in a management role is purely and simply to develop the potential of others so that the job gets done.

For the record, my survey respondents rated the management behaviors from most important to least important as being;

1: Being seen to be honest and trustworthy
2: Understanding the root cause of an issue
3: Developing the potential of others
4: Make an informed decision
5th equal: Delegate work and Be aware of the emerging enviroment
6: Build relationships
7: Facilitate conversations

Of course I chose the eight behaviours, as those I felt strongly were expected of effective managers. Another list, compiled differently might have shown a different result. Which merely proves we can make statistics tell any story we want them to tell.

Daniel Rose

Stretch goals are a fantastic idea, Steve. If you never stretch, how do you hope to improve? I like to take things a step further with what I call "acute capacity challenges", which are basically short term assignments that are a huge stretch. They're an excellent way to drive organisational capacity. I think I wrote a brief post on them at some point if you are interested...

Mary Jo Asmus

Steve, other byproducts of developing others is that 1. you become known as a "talent magnet". The best people often are continual learners and want to continually develop themselves - so they'll want to work for you. And 2. How will you get promoted if you don't develop others and have them ready to take your place?

Bay Jordan


What a constructive post. I found myself saying "Hear! Hear!" as I read.
I think looking on people as assets rather than just as as employees will provide the catalyst that will turn personal development into a partnership and give it the emphasis that is clearly so dear to your heart.



Steve- Great post. I truly believe that one of the most important things a leader can do is train their successor. In order for it to be successful it all begins with the things you mentioned here.

Robyn McMaster

Your clients are tapping into the brain's working memory when you ask them to stretch to perform new tasks. Causes discomfort since it breaks routines stored in the basal ganglia. But at the same time, we receive great satisfaction through the growth and change. Helps keep our brain mentally sharp as well.

Steve Roesler


Thanks for tossing that into the mix. Indeed, we could play with any kind of numbers we might choose. And, if we're in a position to do so, can influence responses in various ways, overt and covert.

It would make sense that your people would rank "developing others" higher if they are working in a corporate culture where that is highly valued and discussed openly. I'm always somewhat surprised when I read a new survey that shows "developing others" toward the bottom of the list. The reason? All one has to do is read a host of annual reports and see the claims about "people being our most important asset" blah blah blah. However, as one who is inside of various companies each day, the truth remains that "people development" isn't at the top of the list when it comes to reality. Honestly, I'm not sure why not because I can't seem to get what I would consider to be totally honest answers.

Steve Roesler

Hello, Daniel

Sure, send along the link to the post. I'd enjoy reading and learning from it.

Steve Roesler

Mary Jo

Your term "talent magnet" is alluring. Who wouldn't want to have that kind of reputation?

#2 is equally true. I confess, managers' eyes glaze over when we discuss that. At some level they know it to be absolutely true. At some other level, I think they believe they'll be promoted anyway if they just "get results."

Steve Roesler


So good to "see" you again! And I can always use a good "Hear!" "Hear!"

Now, we simply have to continue doing what we do in order to address the issue of assets vs. employees. That's why we've chosen our path, eh?

Steve Roesler


I like how you phrased that so succinctly. You've got me thinking how important it is to ask a client directly, "Who are you developing to be your successor?" That's a lot more powerful than speaking philosophically about the importance of "developing your people."


Steve Roesler


So that's where the rub lies with development and stretching, from a brain-based point of view? Thank you.

I am literally going to share your one-liner at the outset of working with learners. It will offer a sound explanation for what they will "feel."


Great post Steve. At times, some leaders forget this. Seeing your team members grow,not just as a team but as individuals,is a great fulfillment for a leader. And with this, the leader also grows himself.
I could not agree more with stretch assignments as they really are great avenues for growth. If employees just do redundant tasks for long periods of time, there is less opportunity for improvement. Redundant tasks will also make the employees feel as if their leader does not trust that they can do more and thus, will lead to low confidence and motivation for his work.

Carpii Lane

Great post Steve. Though I am not a trainer by job title or job description, I do have the opportunity to train new employees or employees new to the position. I find it very rewarding to pass on the knowledge I have gathered over the 10 years in my position. When I first started, I worked with a manager that made it extremely difficult for anyone to learn and/or advance. I feel that those type of people are afraid of someone gaining the knowledge and passing them by.


The post is very intellectually written, with lots of valuable information.

Account Deleted

The post was needed not only for the current managers but also inspiring managers. I agree managers today are so busy taking care of tasks that they forget that developing others is as important a responsibility as getting the work done.

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