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Change is inevitable, but you can’t drift to high performance. Good leaders know how to challenge people, and successful challenge releases human potential.

Facing challenges will:

  • Improve self-confidence

  • Improve self-respect

  • Increase fulfilment

  • Improve performance and productivity

  • Earn respect from others

  • Strengthen relationships

  • Develop and maximize talent

Fostering a work environment where people are encouraged to face challenges and embrace ongoing growth and development will lead to a more positive environment, increase morale, and boost business dramatically.

Challenge people by challenging yourself

Most leaders are excellent at challenging others, but not so good at challenging themselves – or allowing other people to challenge them. Unfortunately, leaders who challenge others yet do not model this by challenging themselves, can bring about resentment from others.

Staying in your comfort zone is not always what is best for us. Have you heard the phrase ‘feel the fear but do it anyway?’ The more you step out of your comfort zone and continually challenge yourself, the more you will grow, and the more you can achieve.

Challenge people by understanding their talents and aspirations

“Don’t challenge lions to eat grass”

Make sure you have a clear picture of what areas your employees excel in. Identify their career and personal goals. Use their strengths for goal setting. Recognizing and building on employee strengths will lead to greater productivity and better morale. Drive the ‘growth mindset’, and employees will naturally look for challenges to encourage their own growth.

Challenge people to challenge themselves

Begin by asking the questions below:

On a scale of 1 to 10 how challenging is this skill you’re working to develop right now?

Follow up with:

Why didn’t you choose a lower number? Discuss what they are good at. What makes you say it’s challenging?

How might you increase that challenge number?

Trying harder isn’t an answer. Transform challenges into actions.

Treat failure as a learning process. Everyone will fail at one time or another in their professional career. Create a setting in which people can take risks, without fear of failure. Turn failures into growth opportunities and you will find employees will not be fearful when it comes to facing challenges.

Challenge with grace

Don’t rush to help but do offer it at the same time. Don’t assume you’re being helpful. I, ask them, “what does help look like to you?” Rushing to help at the first sign of difficulty will only prolong incompetence.

Leading and challenging with grace is essential in building an environment where your team want to come to work, are motivated to accept challenges, and develop their potential through growth. In turn this will lead to greater outcomes for your business!

- Robin Olivier (ActionCURVE NZ)

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