Today, one of the biggest challenges faced by managers is keeping the team members engaged and motivated. To help the employees grow professionally, managers should push them out of their comfort zones. Aspects like helping them learn new skills, and facilitating them to accept new challenges and duties contribute to this. The benefits of stepping out of one’s comfort zone are many.
The purpose of this blog is to provide you a few ideas that can help your people to perform to their highest potential.
The Idea of a Comfort Zone
A comfort zone is a situation or state where one has a sense of safety and predictability owing to familiarity and routine. At work, it can be the position you've been in for a long time or the people you interact with daily.
Regrettably, remaining in your comfort zone can eventually put you in a career rut since you miss out on new challenges, learning, and growth. Research has found that one can greatly increase productivity, creativity, and the ability to cope with change by stepping out of the comfort zone.
Several experts claim that one should move of their comfort zone to achieve career progression and personal growth. However, some have been dubious if leaving one’s comfort zone really leads to greater satisfaction and career advancement.
If you think your team’s quality of work is suffering, letting them break free from their comfort zone at work can help. Here are a few tips to aid you to achieve this feat.
Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone
- Promote Career Development
- The majority of today’s workforce belongs to Generation Y and Generation Z. Studies have revealed that individuals belonging to these categories value developing their skillset while they work for an organization.
- Job promotions in the form of changes to job titles and pay raises often do not suffice when it comes to satisfying employees' desire to develop. Your employees should be provided with opportunities to gain new skills, work with new people, or enjoy greater autonomy. Offering career development programs have also been associated with employee retention.
- Managers should have an individual development plan for their employees to discuss their long-term career goals, and thereby, make them more competitive. Even while your teams work remotely you can encourage them to register in online learning and skill development courses that they are interested in. This helps enrich their skills and can also enhance new employee training.
Fact: 59% of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job. (Gallup, 2016).
- Give them stretch assignments
- Industrial experts like SHRM have been reminding businesses to set goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound). For a business to be successful, it must provide its employees an experience that enables them to attain their goals and objectives.
- The act of assigning employees projects or tasks that are beyond their current knowledge or skills level is expected to ‘stretch’ them developmentally. When you do this, you need to tell them why you think they’ll be able to handle it, by pointing to great work they’ve done in a similar area, or talking about strengths you’ve observed in them.
- Handing over projects that involve upskilling or using old skills at a higher level helps enhance their confidence to leave the mundane and undertake tasks that are challenging.
- Inspire Your Team Members to Take Up New Roles
- It is likely that as the team leader you'd be setting meeting agendas, assigning tasks, informing your team of the latest industry changes, or sharing news updates. You can assign some of these responsibilities to your team members and thus, help improve their leadership skills.
- If you people possess good skills (whether it be good communication and presentation skills or any technical expertise), they can be asked to conduct a short teaching session about it to help others learn the skill. You may ask one of the members to debrief the rest of the team on some interesting industry news that they recently came across.
- Encourage Them to Establish Connections
- You can suggest that people interact with other teams and learn about their work. For instance, a software developer could spend time with a sales colleague so that they can pool their knowledge and brainstorm possible new product proposals.
- Letting your teams generate company-wide connections can help ensure that the entire company is on the same page. SHRM recommends that the assigning of buddies in various departments helps when making sure projects are getting completed and productivity is high.
- Help Your Crew Overcome Their Anxieties
Do you know that the process of challenging themselves to push out of their comfort zone isn’t that easy for everyone? Some could go through bouts of anxiety while others undergo the process smoothly. As a manager, you shouldn’t expect everyone to have the same state of mind. Be sensitive to your employees’ wishes and individual goals while also encouraging change and offering solutions to overcome their nervousness. So, how do you do it?
- Take baby steps, not giant leaps: If you aim to execute something novel, like introducing a work process, make sure you don’t do it all at once. You may trial a small part of the process, with a small group of people. And, if this turns out to be effective, then look to expand it.
- Practice can make your people perfect: Always remember that preparation is key. If your objective is to let one of your teammates handle a tricky presentation, they have to prepare and practice before committing to the meeting room delivery.
- Don’t be afraid to embrace failure: We all are aware of the maxim “failure is the stepping stone to success”. If your team member messes up a task, don’t lose your temper with them. Just ask them to prepare better and try again the next time.
Note: Remind the employees that they will inevitably make mistakes, but that these missteps are an essential part of the journey to mastery.
- Maintain a culture of Acknowledgement & Appreciation
- Being a manager, you need to recognize the employees’ individual efforts as well as their teamwork. Doing so motivates them to work towards achieving greater goals and boosts their morale. They’d also start valuing themselves.
- When you notice their efforts, it makes them feel that they’re making a difference to the business. This has proven to have positive effects on improving productivity. At the end of the day, who doesn’t like to feel appreciated?
Fact: Several studies have highlighted that employees prefer on-the-spot recognition to formal reviews.
Encouraging your teams to step out of their comfort zones not only results in their personal development but also benefits the company as a whole. As managers, it is your responsibility to facilitate the process and help them advance their careers. We hope you implement the above-mentioned tips to witness a growth in employee performance and productivity.