With the new year brings new goals for your PR teams and their clients. The new year isn’t just for personal goals, people! Successful, growing businesses are comfortable with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goal setting when it comes to planning for growth with clients, but what about internal employee growth?
The new year is a great time to reflect with your individual employees about what they accomplished in 2017 and the new things they want to try in 2018. From accepting new responsibilities and challenges to learning new skills, here are some ideas to help you push your employees out of their comfort zone this year.
Pitch New Ideas
Do you have a long-term client that could use some more energy in their campaign? Sometimes it’s easy to put on blinders when a communications strategy is working well for a client, but if you want to exceed expectations, upsell, or turn a client into a source for new business, you need to push the boundaries. Turn a dull client into a challenge for your team. Ask the team to come up with new, researched campaign ideas and pitch them internally. Turn it into a Shark Tank-like competition where the best pitch will win lunch or some company swag. This exercise will help your employees think tangentially and practice presentation skills. The benefit for your company is the exercise could result in a few new ideas you actually pitch to your clients.
Change Team Members’ Roles
As the team leader, you’re most likely setting meeting agendas, delegating work, and informing your team of new industry changes and news. Instead, rotate some of these responsibilities to your team members to help hone their leadership skills. Ask a relatively quiet member to set a meeting agenda and lead the group. Ask another to debrief the rest of the team on some interesting industry news that they read over the week. Do one of your employees have a particular specialized skill? Ask her to lead a short teaching session about it to help others learn a new skill.
Encourage Respectful Discourse
Conflict without hostility is the key to growing your team and their skills. If everyone on your team is a “yes” person, then who is going to feel comfortable speaking up when someone’s idea is a little less than stellar? Encourage your team to ask questions and respectfully poke holes in each other’s work. While not everything needs to be designed by committee, soliciting feedback and offering other perspectives will strengthen your campaigns.
Help Your Team Overcome Their Nerves
Challenging your team to push themselves out of their comfort zone can be met with some resistance. Most people like their comfort zone and don’t want to be challenged. Also, everyone isn’t a type-A extrovert, so you shouldn’t treat everyone like they are. Be sensitive to your employees’ wishes and individual goals while also encouraging change and offer solutions for how to overcome nerves and nervous responses. Menswear company Tommy John developed this handy guide to help others step out of their comfort zone and better manage their nerves – this guide covers solutions for everything from stumbling over your words, sweating, and restless pacing.
Are you challenging your team to get out of their comfort zone this year? Let us know any other leadership strategies you use!
Shannon Burns is the Community Manager at Tommy John. You can check them out on Instagram @tommyjohnwear!