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Opening the Door For Others

Take a Chance on Great People: Part II

This article is part of a series. Start with Part I.

If you have the power to open the door for someone, do it. Take a chance on great people. Believe in their behaviors and attitudes, instead of focusing only on their experience. As a manager, what you say and what you do matters, so use that power to give opportunity to the people around you who deserve it.

Here are three ways to start opening the door for others.

Door Opening
Be the leader that discovers and develops the talent that others ignore.


Broaden Your Definition of Relevance

In some cases, you need to hire someone with relevant experience, and that is okay. But challenge yourself to broaden the definition of what relevant experience means. There is almost always a learning curve when people switch companies, even if the job function is similar.

Knowing that you’re going to have to train them, and they are going to have to learn new things, how critical are some of your wish list items?

If they worked with a different type of client, or in a different environment in the past, would that really prevent success? If they were successful at managing a retail store, could they also be your law firm’s office manager?

How to do it:

Force yourself to look beyond the titles and companies listed on the resume. What do the bullet points say? What did this person do all day? If the tasks seem relatable and the candidate shows signs of success and good work ethic, they are worth interviewing.


Know When to Step Back

As a careerist, it is tempting to consistently raise your hand and take on more responsibility. This is likely how you became a leader in the first place. Eventually there comes a point where you need to say no. Instead of just a straight no, couldn’t you use this opportunity to elevate someone else?

How to do it:

When you get asked to join another project, try, “This sounds like an awesome initiative. I actually think Julian would be a great person to lead this from our end, given his experience working with our marketing data. Can I make the introduction?”


When People are Great, Call it Out

Respected leaders have the power to change the way that people feel about themselves, which can act as a catalyst for those people pursuing something great. When you see someone who is crushing it, even if they don’t work directly with you, tell them.

While I never want people to sit around and wait for opportunity, I know that some people need a push. They need people with respect and influence to pick them out of a crowd and notice their potential. You can be that person.

Respected leaders have the power to change the way that people feel about themselves.

How to do it:

Next time you see someone being awesome, single them out and say: “You are a great [communicator, project manager, writer, etc.] Where do you want to take your career?” It doesn’t matter if you can deliver on that desire now or ever, you’ve just given them space to think about it and permission to want it.


So all of you managers out there, open the door! This is how you become an advocate for people. This is how you have a transformational impact on people’s lives. Don’t just choose what has already been chosen.

This article is targeting managers, but anyone who has influence, even if it feels small, can take this advice.


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