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How much do you really know about your employees’ professional goals? With the fast pace of today’s business world, many managers opt for a simple “how are you doing/how’s the workload going” weekly, biweekly or even monthly check-in. Even if you’ve cultivated an open door policy, encouraging employees to come to you with concerns, taking an active interest in their professional development is one of the keys that will set you apart as an effective manager.

Showing an interest in your employee’s advancement demonstrates their value to the company and fosters loyalty. A 2015 survey found that managers who know their employee’s strengths are 71% more likely to have employees who are engaged and energized. Having a better idea of each of your employee’s strengths will also help you to maximize their potential and assign tasks that best fit their skills. Employees who have strengths discussions with their managers are 78% more likely to feel their work is valued and appreciated.

In fact, taking the time to help your employees develop professionally is not only beneficial but expected. A Deloitte survey found that two-thirds of employees believe it’s their manager’s responsibility to provide them with development opportunities.

It’s important that employees take ownership of their professional development, but as a manager, you can provide guidance and help give them direction. Your employees may have some broad long term goals in mind, like attaining a management position, but they may need help developing short term goals that will lead them to these objectives. Asking the right questions can help you to both inspire and lead your employees in a constructive dialogue about their professional development.

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