The most critical asset for every organization? Its people. Place your focus there, and positive results will follow. The challenge? Engaging and developing employees can be the most difficult thing that we face as leaders. Here are three key priorities which can really make a difference:
- Promote Self-Awareness. Self-understanding is paramount in life for each one of us. Staff development and team building should always start here. Many great tools are available for diving into individual personality traits, motivators, and communication styles—MPO, Predictive Index, Myers-Briggs, DISC, etc. Our organization made a commitment over twenty years ago to utilize these resources extensively, and they have become foundational to everything we do with coaching, career pathing, and conflict resolution. Setting a goal to build self-awareness among your team is, hands down, one of the best investments you can make.
- Commit to Being a Learning Organization. Embrace learning with a passion. Promote and support your team in pursuing knowledge to grow as professionals and as people. In addition to seeking education from external sources, make sure to teach your team about your organization itself. Focus on what makes it successful and connect the dots on how what each person’s role makes a contribution to the goal. Don’t assume that your team wouldn’t be interested in this stuff (they will be!). This type of communication is not only important in building a culture of transparency, but it can help individuals discover new interests in their own career path. Develop a regular rhythm for this type of education. At Home Bank, I host a session each week with one of our seven departments/branches where we focus about a wide variety of topics, all related to our lives at Home Bank. We cover everything, from how to read a balance sheet to what is a typical day for our bank’s IT department.
- Culture IS The culture of your organization ultimately drives how your team members will perceive your interest in their development. Is learning and growth encouraged and supported? Do employees feel safe to approach their managers about their desire to do something different or change course? Is it evident that you care about and have a vested interest in the growth of your team members? Will they have an opportunity to prepare for a strong future in your organization?
Culture trumps all when it comes to making an organization successful—no surprise that it is, therefore, the most important thing to remember when it comes to developing your team for the future.
Lisa Arnold is President and CEO of Home Bank SB, Martinsville, with five locations in Morgan, Johnson, and Hendricks Counties. She joined Home Bank in 1985 and has served in various other positions within the bank including branch manager, Vice President of Retail Banking, Chief Operations Officer, and most recently President/Chief Operating Officer. In addition to affiliations in the community, she was a member of the Franklin College Alumni Council, former president of the Future Leadership Division of the Indiana Bankers Association, and a past member of the IBA Board of Directors. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Franklin College and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. Arnold is also a graduate of the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking (University of Pennsylvania) and the ABA National Commercial Lending School (Southern Methodist University). She resides in Morgan County with her husband Kevin, a corn and soybean farmer.