Qualified managers and leaders are integral to a smoothly operating workplace and the growth of your organization. But what separates the average and highly effective managers? The ability to develop their staff. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article,
“Job seekers from entry-level to executive are more concerned with opportunities for learning and development than any other aspect of a prospective job. This makes perfect sense, since continuous learning is a key strategy for crafting a sustainable career….employees’ direct managers are often their most important developers.
Consequently, job candidates’ top criterion is to work with people they respect and can learn from. From the candidate’s viewpoint, his or her prospective boss is the single most important individual in the firm.”
Did You Know?
The people analytics team at Google examined data from thousands of employee surveys and performance reviews to find out which behaviors characterize its most effective managers, and the skill that topped the list was coaching, and helping with career development was also in the top tier of priorities for effective managers. Ensuring that your managers and executives can communicate to manage performance in the workplace is the first step to effective leadership. This includes the coaching skills identified by Google (and other respected sources, such as Gallup), and creating a career plan with each employee.
The most effective managers “…care about employees as a person, talk to them about their career progress, encourage their development, and provide opportunities to learn and grow have lower turnover, higher sales growth, better productivity, and better customer loyalty than work groups in which employees report that these developmental elements are scarce.”
What Is Your Focus?
As leaders, we all ask ourselves how we can build the most productive team possible. When you sit at your desk tomorrow morning, consider this question, instead: “How can I flex my communication style to be most effective with each member, and help them grow? Your own skills in performance management, coupled with a strong general competency development program for your employees, such as Increasing Personal Effectiveness or Professional Presence in a Casual World, sets the stage for addressing both communicating and helping with career development, as identified by the Google analytics team and Gallup.
Are You Consistent?
- Regular, consistent feedback (both positive and negative) is the hallmark of an effective leader. Stay in touch with each member-as a person, not just a member of a team or department-will improve productivity and effectiveness. Continue the conversation about regular career development, throughout the year. The annual review should be just a recap of what you have already been talking about all year long!
- Prioritize engagement. When your are planning the team’s work, ask employees 1) how they think they can best contribute, and 2) what they would like to learn. This integrates their career plans right into their daily work. This will ensure that their job will work in tandem with their life plan.
- Share detailed information about current operations across the organization. It’s easy to forget that as a leader you see all the organization’s accomplishments and plans, but your team members usually work in a silo in their own position, or team. Helping them feel like they are part of a larger, mission-driven enterprise. This will further solidify their commitment.
Ready to learn more? Here are 10 Reasons Why Your Company Should Invest in Management Training