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8 Steps to Developing People - 4 of 8

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
- Pablo Picasso

Continuing with our series on developing people, we come to the area of giftedness, fourth in our series of eight. Good leaders are always searching for better systems to deliver the outcomes they’re looking for; great leaders are continually developing better people to work those systems. Unless you want to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, you need to be serious about growing your people.

Many organizations spend time and money searching for that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – “the competitive edge” that gives them an advantage over their competitors. Many leaders fail to realize their organizations already possess the asset that gives them that “competitive edge.” Your people are your most appreciable asset; the “not so secret” formula to gaining a step on your competitors is developing the people you have.

You must have confidence in yourself and those around you. Believe that those you employ are gifted and make it your highest priority to unlock and release their potential. Developing people within your organization and taking them to new levels of effectiveness requires recognizing their areas of giftedness. I always recommend that those you’re developing within your company begin with a simple leadership assessment. (1)

Level Up

In John Maxwell’s book “The 5 Levels of Leadership,” he discusses Level 4, which is People Development. People development is where leaders go from high productivity to reproducing themselves by helping others to utilize their gifts and talents at increasingly higher levels. People development multiplies the effectiveness and influence of your leaders.

Developing people takes time and effort; persevering during the process entails understanding the return on your investment in them and helping them understand the long-term value they’ll derive from the process.

Before you begin searching for people to develop, stop and ask yourself who’s on your team? I start with the understanding that those around me are in some respects a reflection of me. In some measure, you and I attract who we are; sometimes, we need to understand our giftedness before developing others.

We connect with others to the level of our self-awareness. It’s vital to identify who and what we’re looking for, then learn to connect with your people carrying the gifts your company needs.

Identifying and developing people in their areas of giftedness increases your influence while adding value to them, your company, and your customers/clients.

Simple ways you can begin developing your people

  • Make personal and team development a priority.

  • Develop a culture of mentorship (everyone is helping someone).

  • Include Leadership Assessments in your onboarding process. (1)

  • Focus on character and interpersonal relations (soft skills).

  • Make excellence the standard (celebrate it wherever you see it).

  • 75% to 80% of employee responsibilities should always be in their highest area of giftedness.

John Maxwell adds, “…if you oversee people and you wish to develop leaders, you are responsible to: (1) appreciate them for who they are; (2) believe that they will do their very best; (3) praise their accomplishments; and (4) accept your personal responsibility to them as their leader.”

The returns for developing and keeping people in their strengths benefit employees and their organizations long-term. According to Gallup analysis, “people who use their strengths every day are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life, six times more likely to be engaged at work, 8% more productive and 15% less likely to quit their jobs.” (2)

“You can take my factories, burn up my buildings, but give me my people, and I’ll bring my business right back again.”
- Henry Ford

End Notes

(1) You can help your people discover and begin developing their giftedness here

(2) Seven Reasons to Lead With Strengths by Jim Asplund - Gallup Analysis

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