Pushing employees to be their best involves making sure they realize when their decision making and ability to take on responsibility is greater than what they currently do. It’s not hard to tell when people are smart or talented enough for more of a challenge, what is hard is making sure that they create opportunities to take charge of things.
Fear of stepping on your boss’ toes might make you hesitate to push for more responsibility. However, once you establish a role, you will be expected to do that next time. Your boss isn’t going to be upset when they have less work to do, so stop being afraid to take on something.
Recently a Baby Boomer told me a story about an employee of hers (who she doesn’t directly manage) who is talented but plateauing. When she asked that employee who would be giving lower level staff performance reviews, the employee said she assumed it would be her boss, even though she directly managed those people. The Baby Boomer told her to just put together materials for the reviews and then when the moment came up, she would be ready to tell her boss “I’ll handle this.” Then the next time she’ll be assumed to be in charge of it.
The Baby Boomer concluded with the powerful thought: “I’ve never been promoted, I’ve promoted myself several times though.” As a manager it is your job to help your employees with talent and smartsmanship take those moments and grab more responsibility.