How To Challenge Employees To Perform Outside Their Comfort Zones: 9 Managerial Tips



What is one way you challenge your employees to perform outside of their comfort zone in 2021?

To help managers get their employees to get outside of their comfort zone, we asked HR professionals and business leaders for their best insights. From dismantling limiting beliefs to allowing room for mistakes, there are several ideas that can help you expand your employees’ skills for growing your business. 

  • Here are nine strategies to get employees outside of their comfort zone. 
  • Dismantle Limiting Belief Cycles
  • Create an Open Door for New Ideas
  • Encourage Learning a New Skill
  • Allow Room for Mistakes
  • Challenge Yourself First
  • Ask Employees About Their Goals
  • Acknowledge the Efforts Taken
  • Offer Goal-Based Bonuses
  • Generate Company-Wide Connections

Dismantle Limiting Belief Cycles

One way to challenge your employees past their comfort zone is to break down any limiting beliefs holding them back. Many times it’s the fear of the unknown that creates a blockage from the first step being taken. While some people can imagine the task or project completed and standing on the other side, others need to focus on the first three steps to not get overwhelmed. Providing a safe and trusting environment will allow your employees to achieve more than they ever believed possible and the confidence to stand out on the skinny branches. 

Jenn Christie, Markitors

Create an Open Door for New Ideas 

I think it’s important to challenge your employees to offer new ideas. Sometimes, they may feel like it’s not their place. I want everyone at our company to feel like they have a voice, and can offer a really neat idea to help our business that no one has ever thought of before.

Abraham Rahmanizadeh, Leafwell Botanicals

Encourage Learning a New Skill  

At the start of each month, I challenge my employees to learn something new yet relevant to their position or the company. Whether it is a new online tool or strategy, this encourages them to either step out of their comfort zone to learn on their own or reach out to someone on the team that is knowledgeable on the subject. This allows for growth and advancement for the employees as individuals and together as a team at large. 

Jacob Dayan, Community Tax

Allow Room for Mistakes 

Once I identify that an employee is too comfortable within their role and is not experiencing any growth, I challenge them by giving them new tasks/roles that are slightly outside what they are used to. I make it clear that they do not need to do a perfect job, but they need to try and get it done well. Allowing them to make mistakes and reassuring them when they do helps give them the confidence to keep at it, learn, and grow.

Joe Flanagan, VelvetJobs

Challenge Yourself First 

One of the best ways to challenge your employees to perform outside of their comfort zone is to be fully transparent about where your fears and vulnerabilities lie. What’s at least one thing that would be outside of your comfort zone that you could do to model that behavior for others? What can you continually do to demonstrate your transparency about what excites you and/or what might challenge you?

Parissa Behnia, Sixense

Ask Employees About Their Goals 

Our quarterly performance development process focuses as much on future career growth opportunities as it does on evaluating past performance. We use the process to identify what a consultant wants to learn and work on next and then challenge them to work on something that allows them to learn and grow over the next 12 weeks. Every consultant knows that they are supported in this learning opportunity and that we've "got their back" with a life preserver if they find themselves in the deep end of the pool. As a firm, we definitely do not shy away from a challenge and have had the opportunity to work on different projects this year that have allowed us to perform beyond expectations as individuals and as a team. 

Jennifer L'Estrange, Red Clover

Acknowledge the Efforts Taken

When helping employees grow and reach new potentials, offering incentives to do so is a simple way to ensure that this type of behavior becomes commonplace. Let your team know that you are constantly watching their efforts and that you enjoy moving your employees into new, better roles that allow them to show off their new skills. 

Greg Gillman, MuteSix

Offer Goal-Based Bonuses 

We invented a profit share system where all my team members get a percentage of their markets. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they get paid only with profit shares. They are also compensated by tasks and hourly to perform even better. The more they challenge themselves to perform outside of their comfort zone, the better their payment will be. Our motto is “we thrive in uncertainty!”

Johannes Larsson, Financer

Generate Company-Wide Connections

If only one group has great interaction and the others don’t, then the entire company might not be on the same page. In order to keep your team strongly connected, there should be a direct channel of communication between everyone that’s being used daily. Along with this, quarterly meetings where the whole company gets together and talks about how work is going are immensely helpful. Lastly, the assigning of buddies in various departments helps when making sure projects are getting completed and productivity is high. This will help to challenge employees to grow outside of their comfort zone.

Nina Jensen, 8x8

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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