"Untapped Potential" - Do you have any idea who Skipper Roberts was? How about Tutti and Todd? I didn't either. Skipper was Barbie's little sister. Tutti and Todd were twin siblings who were younger still. Still not ringing a bell? I thought not.
Much like Tutti and Todd, I am the youngest in my family. As we all know, the oldest gets all the attention, the middle child gets less and the youngest is often left to stick his fingers in the socket. It wasn't that bad in my house, but I was definitely the black sheep. Although my sisters would disagree, there are those that might say I was a tad bit overlooked.
In hindsight, I truly believe that I am a better person for being the youngest child. I have always had to fend for myself. If there were things I wanted, I found a way, by hook or crook, to get my hands on them. As a teenager, this was "rebellious" and "disruptive", but in my adult life, this is considered "ambitious" and "resourceful". I am convinced that this particular aspect of my childhood taught me to look at all possible solutions to a potential problem or challenge.
In our businesses, we often have employees that excel and are our "Go To" people in the office. Therefore they may receive more attention than the other staff. They are strong performers and it's easy to rely on them. If you give them a project, they will get it done. Our time is so valuable, that a "delegate and forget it" relationship is worth its weight in gold.
But what about the employees who are not given the project? What about the one who made a minor mistake early on and has never been given the training, or trust, to get it done. These folks will not learn to meet your expectations because you are only using a fraction of their capability. Learning how to utilize the strengths of your employees takes work. It's as easy to over promote a hard worker to the point that they are no longer capable of the job as it is to fail to recognize the true potential of another.
Your challenge is this: Find an employee who you have overlooked and give them a meaningful project. Find out how much guidance they need and ensure they get it. Then, step back and see what they are capable of! You may very well find that diamond in the rough. Give them the support they need to shine and you'll be thrilled you did.