Develop Your Peeps!

The beginning of the year is a great time to think about what’s next for you, your career and your staff.  The number one reason employees look for another job is prompted by their bad manager.  Employees stay – where and when they feel valued.  One of the easiest ways to value an employee is to encourage and support their development.  Here are some tips for you to use to develop your employees (or yourself):

Tip 1:  It’s about them, not you.  You may enjoy taking classes, looking for new responsibilities, having new experiences or heading up projects.  You may think you know what the next step is in someone’s career.  Most likely you’re thinking what works for you will work for someone else.  Ask your employee(s) what they are interested in, what they want, what direction they want to take.  Keep your mouth shut and listen.  Ask questions, add your experience and advice, talk about what it would take for your employee to succeed in their next step.  Together create a plan on how to get there.  Their direction may not be the direction you would choose, remember it is their life, not yours.

Tip 2:  Get creative.  You may not have the budget to send your employee to training.  Consider individual coaching – from you or a professional coach.  Suggest projects and new responsibilities that will give them the skills to prepare for the next step.  Seek out a colleague who has achieved what your employee wants and suggest periodic mentoring.  If the move is to another department, find out if your employee could be part of any projects, to give them the experience they need.

Tip 3:  Grow up.  Some managers want to keep the status quo and close their eyes to their employees’ ambitions.  When you develop your staff to be prepared for what they want, you build a life long resource and relationship.  Not only are they going to work hard for you, when they move onto their next position and subsequent positions, they never forget what you did.  Life is filled with change, make the best of it.

Tip 4:  Development styles.  Re-read tip #1 above.  Yes, you as a manager have a certain style of management and approach to your staff.  When developing your people it’s about how they learn new skills, not how you teach them.  Be mindful of the most effective way of developing your employees.  Some learn from books, audio tapes, research and theory.  Others from practical application and “doing”.  Some need to learn on their own and from their mistakes – figuring it out by themselves.  Still others want a teacher, someone to sit with them and show them how to do tasks and skills.  A customized approach will speed along the process.

Tip 5:  Be a good example.  Work on your own development.  What is your next step?  How are you developing yourself?  Do your employees see someone who is motivated or complacent?  What are you doing to stretch yourself?  Your employees watch everything you do.  Make sure you’re walking the talk!

What has been your experience in developing others?  What are you doing to develop yourself?  Have you tried anything that hasn’t worked?  Share your experience below so we can benefit from your experience!

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2 Responses to Develop Your Peeps!

  • Lorraine Kost says:

    Early in my career, I had bosses who let me accompany them to meetings on topics that were, at that time, far beyond my level of responsibility. For instance, even though my first job involved enrolling employees in health insurance plans, I attended meetings with brokers, third-party administrators, insurance reps, business analysts, etc. By exposing me to various elements of, in my case, Human Resources, my boss help me understand what my career choices were and it gave us a groundwork to discuss and work on my future development.

    I absorbed information like a sponge and was really grateful for the experiences. Even though it seems passive, sometimes just exposing staff to parts of your own job helps them understand what their potential career path might be.

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