Last week we started a discussion on leadership development and how your organization’s culture shapes, leadership networks. This week we get even more specific, focusing on how leaders develop more leaders. Because while great leader’s inspire action – poor leaders inspire exits…
Great leaders engage with their teams. We’re not talking about surveys, happy hour, or pizza parties. We’re talking about real conversations. Find out what they think is working, and what they think is lacking. Ask them what they need to be successful. Discover their professional goals. Doing this, not just once but regularly, will help you develop their trust and improve how you work together. According to global research from the OC-Tanner learning group –
Looking for ways to engage on top of regular conversations? Consider how often you formally or informally recognize employees. Try catching up over coffee with someone, who reports to someone, who reports to you. These small acts of engagement and appreciation go further than you think.
Good leaders will challenge you to get out of your comfort zone. This does not mean you should call out your employees in team meetings or be otherwise disrespectful. It does mean you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable, and helping your team to be too.
Give stretch assignments, assign unfamiliar tasks, or even create experiments. For example, if an individual contributor expresses wanting to move into management, assign them an intern or junior employee to lead and mentor. This will require you to give them more autonomy. It will require them to make sure their mentee meets goals, stays focused, and works well with the team. While this is risky for you both, and the junior employee, it will supply the experience and knowledge toward what’s next.
To inspire leadership as a mentor you must “walk the talk” and be a role model. Support them in gaining basic skills, like networking and influencing others. Give them an opportunity to practice. Help them to discover their strengths and areas of opportunity.
As a coach your role is to listen and champion their potential in-line with their personal strengths. Ask questions to foster shifts in thinking and challenge blind spots. In this way you can help them develop their self-awareness and, as a result, strengthen their mental game. Both are essential if they are to be effective and satisfied in any future leadership role.
Leaders need to work on the quality of their inner game, or their capacity to tune into and regulate their emotional and mental states, before they can hope to develop their outer game, or what it is they need to actually do.
Thanks for joining us today, come back next week when we begin our October blog series – Scary Stories from the Employee Experience with “An Interview that would scare your Mummy.” Do you have a short story you want to share, anonymously of course, about a less than ideal employee experience as you were recruited, developed, managed, or even exited? Please send them to us at email@example.com
Lisa Crockett is a leader and professional development coach with more than 20 years of experience in Human Resources, Organizational Effectiveness, Project Management, and Learning & Development. To learn more about her professional career visit her on LinkedIn.
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