We need to remember that the appropriate challenge is key. With a challenge, we are taking someone out of their comfort zone. However, pushing someone too far out of their zone could also result in unhappiness and that defies the purpose. It’s all about pushing them just enough to get them inspired.
Here are a few tips on how to challenge your employees or teams the correct way.
Ask for suggestions and solutions
Don’t keep decision-making to yourself. Put it out for the team to come up with solutions or suggestions. If you give feedback, you need to be willing to receive it as well. Give team members the opportunity to brainstorm and come up with ideas.
Don't take advantage of employees
Employees are responsible for staying motivated and challenged within their positions. As a leader, it is, however, your job to create an environment that encourages and rewards hard work. Don’t take advantage and push your employees to the point of burnout. When you challenge your employees, their hard work must be recognised. Don’t fall into the trap of just pointing out what they are doing wrong.
As a leader, you have an idea in your head of what is expected or how a project should run. At some point, you need to change your goal of being right all the time and actually listen to your team and take note of their ideas and concerns. Giving your team a fair chance to come up with an idea will encourage them to move out of their comfort zone.
Show employees you trust them
The best way to help employees develop is to show them you trust them. You need to give them a clear indication of what you expect from them in order to succeed. Give them the chance to show you they can do it. This will force them to take greater ownership of their work.
Provide consistent feedback
Always be honest about how you feel about your employee's performance at work. Praise is a great motivator, but constructive criticism also pushes employees to make improvements in areas that could use a little more attention.
Remember to give praise and constructive criticism on a frequent basis. This shows that you care about them. When someone feels appreciated and valued, they will work even harder.
Challenging employees will help you discover their uniqueness, strengths and where there is room for improvement. This is information you as a leader can use to give them the opportunity to excel and reach their goals within the company.
In closing, as Richard Branson once said: “Give your employees a mission that matches their ambitions. When you challenge people, they surprise you.”