Sustainturing the potential of your team members not only benefits them but also contributes significantly to the growth and future success of your career, role and organisation.

According to an ApolloTechnical article, one-third of new employees quit after about six months. This is not good. Retaining top talent has become a formidable challenge. The most talented employees often seek organisations where they can grow, learn and advance in their careers. If you don’t provide opportunities for their development, they are likely to look for them elsewhere. This poses a significant risk to your team’s continuity, productivity and profitability.

As a middle manager, when you nurture your team members’ potential you may find your team members have more commitment to the organisation. This aligns with Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing, Robert Cialdini, discusses in his famous book, Influence. He shares how reciprocity works, that is, “people are obliged to give back to others the form of a behaviour, gift, or service that they have received first”. If you do something nice for someone, they may feel an obligation to reciprocate and do something nice for you at some future point.

The principle of reciprocity is not something to rely on solely and is not 100% guaranteed, so here are some other approaches that you may find useful.

Individual Development Plans: Demonstrates Genuine Commitment

An effective way to develop the talent of your team is to work with each team member individually to create tailored development plans. These plans should align with their career aspirations and personal development goals. By doing this, you demonstrate a genuine commitment to their growth and show them that their future is a priority for you.

Here’s how you can approach this:

Engage in Open Dialogues: Initiate one-on-one conversations with each team member to understand their career aspirations, strengths and areas for improvement. These dialogues should be focused on them and their goals, allowing them to express their ambitions and concerns.

Set Clear Objectives: Together with the team member, establish clear, measurable and realistic development objectives. Ensure that these objectives are aligned with their career path and contribute to their growth.

Provide Necessary Resources: Identify the resources and training required to achieve these goals. This might involve courses, mentoring, coaching or exposure to specific projects that align with their development objectives.

Regular Check-ins: Schedule regular check-ins to review their progress, offer support and make adjustments as necessary. Continuous feedback and encouragement are essential in keeping them on track and motivated.

Recognise Achievements: Celebrate their successes and acknowledge their commitment to their own development. Positive reinforcement boosts morale and motivates them to strive for even more significant accomplishments.

By focusing on individual development plans, you demonstrate that you are genuinely invested in your team members’ future. This approach can significantly improve retention rates as they will be less inclined to seek opportunities elsewhere when they can see a clear path for their own growth within you organisation.

If you have frontline leaders reporting to you, then it’s going to be more appropriate that you do this work with them as well as help them to do this work with their direct reports. If you need some help with this, let me know.


Succession Planning: Prepare Future Leaders

Succession planning is the process of identifying and preparing future leaders. Succession planning, while often an after-thought, or a never-even-considered, it does help you when it comes to needing to fill a role without scrambling to just fill the seat. I’m sure you’ve heard it, “anyone will do, we need the help”: this is a potential disaster in the making. Succession planning means you have a handle on who’s ready, willing and able!

Identifying high-potential employees and investing in their development is not only a strategic move but also a morale booster for the entire team.

Here’s how you can leverage this effectively:

Spotting High-Potential Team Members: As a middle manager, you are perfectly positioned to have a deep understanding of your team’s capabilities. Identify the individuals with the potential to take on leadership roles in the future. Look for qualities like adaptability, strong communication skills, problem-solving abilities and the willingness to take on new challenges.

Discuss Succession Planning: Initiate conversations with upper management about succession planning. Present your insights about potential leaders within the team and suggest strategies for their development. By proactively raising this topic, you show your dedication to the organisation’s long-term success.

Mentoring and Skill Enhancement: If identified team members express interest in taking on leadership roles, act as their mentor. Provide guidance, support and opportunities for them to acquire the skills and experience they need to excel as future leaders. Identify projects that can help build or maintain skills that ensure readiness for higher roles.

Visibility and Recognition: Recognise and celebrate the achievements and progress of high-potential team members. This not only motivates them but also signals to the entire team that growth and leadership are attainable within the organisation.

Succession planning helps ensure the continuity of your team and organisation. By actively participating in this process, you play a vital role in securing a promising future for your team members and the organisation as a whole.


Middle managers like you have a unique position within the organisation. You are the bridge between upper management and your team members, and this bridge holds the key to nurturing future leaders and improving retention rates.

In the journey to build tomorrow’s leaders, you need to see the challenge of talent development and retention as a profound opportunity. It’s an investment that absolutely gives you a return. You must become an advocate for your team members’ growth and recognise the vital role they play in the organisation’s ongoing success.

Yes, some people you invest in will leave, some will turn out to not be as ready as you thought but the majority will be there when you need them to step up.

Additionally, this is not something that really needs a whole of organisation buy-in, you can do this with your own team, start small and build the momentum. Other departments will see what you’re doing and you will become the department everyone wants to work in! Your reputation as a leader who lifts will serve you in the long run.

I encourage you to explore these opportunities. You’ve got this and let me know if you need me to help you, I’d be delighted to if I can.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Share your insights with me and let’s continue to learn and grow together.

A new program – The Confidence Program: Middle Managers Mastermind can help you achieve better results and lead to deliver greater value to the organisation.