When we’re learning about areas where we have great passion, we feel accomplished, fulfilled, and ultimately part of something bigger. We start to feel like we have more to contribute and give back. It gives us greater meaning, especially when we feel like we’re staying on top of our industry and relevant regarding challenges that face our local and global markets. Being current in what we do is a key factor to moving our companies forward. Essentially, the more people we can engage in what’s real and important today, the more people we’ll have to bring us into a future of productivity and relevance. When we support our teams and provide this type of learning opportunity, good things start to happen.

One of the best investments we can make is in our people. If we’re going to distribute our time effectively at work, it’s important to allocate as much of it as possible to developing a fantastic team. Depending on what we do, great people with the ideal skill set can be hard to find, so once you’ve got them, put some love into helping them grow, learn, and reach the next level on their professional path to success. Chances are, someone helped you do the same, so learn from that experience and do the right thing: develop great people, just like you.

When your team members know you’re putting in the extra effort to support their growth, they’ll be more connected and engaged. They’ll pay it forward as mentors to their peers and new hires, deliver impeccable customer service, invest their efforts back into a company you both believe in, and be your best team players – all because they feel valued and supported. Those are some of the very best feelings you can ever give someone.

I’m a huge proponent of continuing education and professional development. I’ve learned so much by attending conferences, reading books and articles, and going to trainings – it’s all key to driving success. Some of the most important things I’ve learned, however, came from being mentored by truly incredible leaders. People who have invested in me have left a huge mark on my professional development, and I’ve never forgotten their efforts. They’ve made a difference in my life, so now I do my best to make a difference in the lives of other eager and growing professionals.

One of the scariest things about developing people is worrying about what will happen if they leave. If we invest immense time, effort, and money into a team member who gains vast knowledge and skills and then moves on to a competitor or another company, haven’t we wasted our time? No. Not at all. Don’t worry about it. We’ve done the right thing by putting our people first. Our goal should always be to train, improve, and grow our team members in a way that fosters success and fulfillment. If they leave, then that’s okay. You might even pat yourself on the back and call it an accomplishment. It’s not easy to develop people, but if you do, and you do it well, you’ll be the one everyone wants to work with because they know they’ll be able to succeed and improve under your wing. Call it a good problem to have, and you’ll be okay.

Be proud when you invest in someone who moves on. Yes, you’ll want them to stay and give back, and quite honestly, most of them will. When people feel supported, they’re in, and its likely for the long haul (or at least for a significant amount of time to make it worth your effort). Your commitment to their development is all they need to stay. But when they don’t, it’s okay. Don’t ever take it personally. You’ve still done the right thing, and you’ve helped them get recognized as a professional with valuable talent. That’s a win, and something to be extremely proud of. You’re a leader. You’re a mentor. You invest in your team. You do remarkable things to support remarkable people. That’s a win no matter how you shake it.

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