In Deci and Ryan's work on Self Determination Theory the link between manager/leader behaviours and the ability of the employee to motivate their self is explicitly made with 15 behaviours. This post looks at one of those 15: reflecting upon what your employees say or do.
In many ways this is the simplest and yet the hardest practice.
As you think about each employee the quality of your reflection is predicated on how you have engaged that employee to date.
By demonstrating genuine interest, you are likely to have been told more and got a broader / deeper context for the individual. If you have asked questions and listenEd attentively you will have been able not only to understand the facts and information of what they tell you, you are likely to have garnered insights into their feelings, emotions, values and beliefs. And with all those in place you are now better informed to reflect.
How have they grown and developed?
What challenges have they faced and how did they overcome them?
How have they achieved versus target(s)?
What impact do they have on the people around them?
How invested are they in learning?
How invested are they in teaching and mentoring?
For each question have a least two or three examples to illustrate your point.
Now ask yourself what patterns or trends you observe and with those, how will you coach or develop them in the future. And when you talk to them about that development, share the process you have followed - letting them know your commitment to their growth and giving them an insight into a valuable leadership process.