employee potential

Think back to those kickball days where you either expected to be picked first… or stand there and take the walk of shame onto the team with an odd number. The latter probably hits home, right? If it doesn’t and you were always picked first, you can pretend to play the other role and see where all of us normal people are coming from.

The question we want to answer here is: What do we do with the weaker players on the team?

To start, we won’t put them in the front-runner positions where the depth of experience is required. Neither party will be comfortable with those choices. A better question to start with would be, “Where is their potential?” We have to find out what our employees really have a knack for, where they can effectively be trained, and which positions they shouldn’t spend time ample amounts of time on.

This is a perfect conversation to have with your direct report when it comes to performance review time, and if that isn’t coming up on your calendar, move that date up! There’s no point in continuing to let time pass on unlocking employee potential and what could become a happier, more effective employee.

3 points to hit on in your performance conversation:

  1. Where do they see themselves headed in their career over the next several years? You can’t get where you want to go unless you know which direction to go. Most will have some sort of plan they’ve mentally built over the years, but if they have no plan, help them create one. Some folks genuinely need help and ideas from a trusted mentor.
  2. What are they happy or unsatisfied within their current job position? You can tell a lot from this question. If this opens a portal of complaints, you may have a case of the employee not fitting the role. Sometimes the role really may not fit what your employee is working hard for, and that requires a few tweaks to their job description, but other times—your employee may need to find another job.
  3. As a manager, what’s your solution and suggestions for bringing your employees to the inner diamond? Weaker employees need guidance on what foot to put forward. Sometimes they may not have the desire to be the basement, but more than likely, they want to be. As the “coach,” they need to hear what your game plan is for them. This helps to develop bigger ideas and build morale. A push from someone we look up to can always motivate us towards the goal.

This is a game where the coach makes the calls and the team gives an ear. You know your players and what they are good at—it’s time to help them see that.



WorkCompass’s award-winning performance management software is built for progressive organisations. Some of the most successful organizations in the US use it to transform their appraisals from dreaded annual conversations focused on judging the past to ongoing coaching focused on improving performance for the future.

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