Shawn Kent Hayashi's article, "Mentoring An Age-Old Idea That Works Now" is highlighted in the May/June 2012 edition of Insights & Strategies.To view the Insights & Strategies magazine, please click here.
We are lucky to have several interns this summer who are bright, creative and resourceful. It is important that they know how to create conversations and engage people. To work for The Professional Development Group it is not a requirement that a person already be a gifted conversationalist - it is expected that they want to learn how to create meaningful conversations.
Here's an example of a mistake I've seen too often: Juan receives feedback from his manager, Kristi, telling him he needs "to do a better job of communicating with the staff." Kristi is frustrated; it shows in her curt tone in the hallway as she and Juan walk out of a meeting together. Others around them overheard and Juan didn't have a chance to respond-Kristi simply turned and walked away.
People get off-track; your job as a manager or coach is to get them back on course. Helping people navigate through a difficult point in their career is one example. Although these conversations aren't always easy, they do build trust and respect when they are carefully navigated.
Imagine this: You have an employee who desperately wants to develop a new ability or skill. As their manager or coach, your first step is to get them thinking about the ability they want to master. Questions to begin this conversation include:What is important about this ability to you?How will this ability benefit you?Whom do you know who is particularly strong in this ability?What do they currently do differently than you do?
Effective leaders know that it's just as important to play to your strengths as it is to know your blind spots. This is why conversations about developing strengths are so important. It can be as simple as a chat with a colleague, your boss or even an employee, and realizing afterwards you learned how to do something you didn't know how to do before.
Imagine hearing your boss say, "Because we see so much potential for you to be a star performer here, I want to provide you with an Individual Development Plan that will help you grow in your current role and for future roles in our organization." Would that be inspiring to you?
Create a step-by-step plan that shows people how to accomplish more and achieve proven results. There is a fine line between fixing people and inspiring them to grow. Training managers to inspire employees and teams is vital to an organization's success. Want to know how to do this?
Individual Development Plans, or IDPs, show you care enough about your employees to focus on developing them for the future. The plan is a signal we are making a long-term investment together. It's also the start of a conversation about how to achieve goals and get to a desired future. Continuous learning is a part of any IDP.
In order to develop your team members, you need to understand their talents so you can create assignments focused on strengths and abilities. It's your job to know their weaknesses, and to help them eliminate them. The best way to optimize capabilities and talents-as well as their blind spots-is to talk about them. Ask the right questions and you'll help your team member figure out what it takes for them to become star performers.