Alan was a young software engineer who was struggling to get better at estimating. Every project he worked on was an opportunity to get better but he struggled.
Bill was a more seasoned programmer who wanted to speak at conferences. But he had neither the time nor a sense of how to get started.
Amy worked remotely and wanted more leadership opportunities but wasn’t sure how she’d do it, or if her company would even offer it since she didn’t work in any of their offices.
All three of these folks wanted to learn something and spent the next year or two learning it. And it all came down to a single question. It’s a question that great leaders regularly ask the people they lead.
How can I help you grow?
Here are other ways to ask the same kind of question (from the lighthouse blog):
“What are your long term goals? Have you thought about them?”
“Do you feel like you’re making progress on your big goals here? Why or why not?”
“Do you feel we’re helping you advance your career at a pace you would like?”
“What are your super powers? What powers would you like to develop?”
“Could you see yourself making progress on more of your goals here? What would need to change?”
“What work are you doing here that you feel is most in line with your long term goals?”
However you ask it, make sure you’re asking it.