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Unlocking Employee Potential:
Nurturing Employee Aspirations for Success

This article was original published on the Artemis OD blog. Author, Heli Nehama Ozery, is a performance consultant and owner of Artemis OD.

In a recent coaching session, an Executive leader openly shared a stark revelation: he expressed the view that a substantial number of his employees dislike their lives and are unhappy in their jobs. This disclosure initially evoked a sense of concern, yet it became a catalyst for a profound realization — It’s a wakeup call for leaders to recognize the immense opportunity they have to make a positive impact on their employees’ lives while driving business success.

The Power of a Simple Question

The key lies in a simple yet profound question: What’s your dream? Surprisingly, many managers rarely ask their team members about their long-term goals or aspirations. However, this inquiry can be a catalyst for positive change, creating an environment where employees feel valued and supported.

A Transformative Example

Here’s a compelling example that underscores the transformative power of acknowledging and supporting employees’ dreams. In my role as an Organizational Development (OD) leader within a company, privilege of working with an outstanding team member who was the ultimate professional, quite literally, the employee anyone would dream of having.

Upon asking her about her aspirations, she revealed a desire to become an HR business partner. Admittedly, my initial assessment led me to question whether this role would align with her strengths and interests. However, recognizing the importance of honoring her aspirations, we embarked on a journey of exploration together.​

We delved into a conversation about the essential skills required for success in the HR business partner role. Uncertain about her specific gaps, I proposed a proactive approach: interviewing several HR business partners within the organization. The intention was to gain valuable insights into the role and pinpoint areas where she could enhance her skills.

After a few weeks of in-depth interviews and self-reflection, a surprising revelation unfolded. It became evident that the HR business partner role wasn’t the right fit for her. Instead, she discovered a new passion for leadership development – a realization that caught both of us off guard. This unexpected twist not only redirected her career trajectory but also breathed new life into her current role.

In essence, the experience was akin to a conscious re-choice. By honoring her dreams and facilitating a thoughtful exploration, we uncovered a path that resonated more authentically with her aspirations. This transformative journey not only enriched her professional growth but also deepened her already high engagement in her existing role. It served as a testament to the notion that supporting employees in pursuing their dreams can lead to unforeseen benefits, fostering a workplace where individuals thrive in roles they wholeheartedly choose.

A Suggested Framework for Leaders

Here’s a suggested framework for leaders to adopt:

  1. Explore Aspirations: Begin by asking your employees about their dreams, long-term visions, or even short-term professional aspirations. This simple inquiry can unveil hidden passions and desires that may not be apparent in their current roles.
  2. Assess Skills: Collaborate with your employees to identify the skills required to achieve their dreams. This step involves a thoughtful analysis of their goals and an exploration of the competencies they need to develop.
  3. Align with Current Role: Explore how these skills can be integrated into their current role. Recognize the skills that can not only benefit the employee’s personal growth but also contribute positively to business results.
  4. Create a Development Plan: Work together to create a tailored plan that helps employees develop the identified skills. This plan should be a roadmap for both personal growth and professional advancement, aligning individual aspirations with the company’s objectives.

Connecting Personal and Professional Development

For example, if an employee aspires to lead a team, they can begin by taking on responsibilities aligned with their current role. This might involve leading a small project, offering mentorship to new hires, occasionally managing team meetings, or proactively initiating a project within their current capacity. By strategically aligning their skill development with their existing position, employees not only enhance their capabilities but also make tangible contributions to the team and overall business objectives.

The Impact on Employee Engagement

When employees perceive a direct correlation between their personal and professional development and the success of the organization, they tend to become more engaged and productive. This approach goes beyond the conventional career path discussions; it delves into the individual’s aspirations, fostering a sense of purpose within the workplace.

It’s crucial for leaders to acknowledge that their team members possess aspirations beyond their current job roles. By actively supporting and nurturing these aspirations, a positive work environment can be cultivated, benefiting both the company and the individual.



Fostering employee growth involves more than just achieving business goals. It’s about acknowledging the dreams and aspirations of the workforce and providing a platform for them to thrive. So, leaders, the next time you engage with your team, ask them, “What’s your dream, and how can I help you achieve it?” – you might be surprised at the positive impact it can have on both your employees and the overall success of your organization.


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Written by Dawn Baron


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