How to foster a culture of people development inside your team (or company)
“We are all leaders” is a common saying we value at VTEX. More than titles, job positions, or authority, leadership for us is about mindset and attitude. We strongly believe that, before you manage anyone, you need to learn how to lead yourself.
One of the silent killers of growth inside any company is underdeveloped people. When employees don’t feel they have room to suggest new processes or ideas or even don’t find the motivation to improve their soft and hard skills, sooner or later the business will slow and get behind their competitors.
Investing in people development is not a buzzword to appear friendly to the market: it is a crucial aspect that can define if your brand will survive future internal and external challenges. And promoting people’s progress is not a practice that happens by accident at companies; it must be a continuous, intentional effort towards increasing excellence among the teams.
And how can this kind of continuous improvement be done? I want to share some takeaways I learned throughout my career about being intentional about developing people:
Self-awareness is vital to unlocking people’s full potential
A problem or opportunity that someone doesn’t know is an opportunity they can’t solve. People don’t know what they don’t know.
The fundamental base to future success is self-awareness in the present. As leaders, we can’t assume people naturally become aware of crystal clear facts to us. Through training, tools, and coaching through one-on-one conversations, we can help people create self-awareness and understand their strengths and points of improvement.
Create strong relationships
When someone starts at a new job, it’s common to hear that they need to “earn trust.” This is not the case at VTEX: we hire the best and surround ourselves with high integrity.
Everyone that works here has had a “trust battery” fully charged since day one. We believe that when you give trust, you will get back trust. The best leaders make sure their team members feel they are important and heard.
People grow when they have the opportunity to
Building programs to prepare managers and create specific pathways for development are essential tools for people’s development. Still, we can’t forget that the best way to learn is through experience. Leaders keen to improve their teams find ways to stretch people where they are and always offer compelling professional challenges when there is space for it.
Guide people’s learning by asking questions
People don’t retain knowledge when you present tons of information to them: they learn when they discover the answer by themselves. Good leaders guide their teams to come up with new solutions by asking powerful questions.
The first step to guide people is by actively listening to their answers: by doing this, you understand their thinking process and lead them towards the right path instead of preparing your response.
Failure is okay
Foster an environment where people know they can fail without receiving criticism and encourage new ideas and processes. When failure is treated as part of the process and not a flaw, people feel safe to be out of their comfort zone — that is where real growth happens.
To sum up, you don’t have to know it all to be a great leader! We are all on the same learning journey. Be yourself and show you are also working in your evolution and that you fail alongside this path. People would instead follow someone honest about their mistakes than a person who cannot assume their missteps.
If you are interested in working at a company that fosters leadership among all your employees and gives them the tools and challenges needed to grow their careers, take a look at our Careers Page and come to work at VTEX!