Developing Your People

New to Management Series – Part 4..

The last part of being a new manager is something that does not come natural to most people. Developing your people is something that is critical. How you are developing your people will go a long way to how those very people will remember you as a manager. There are two basic steps that must be address when you are developing your people – feedback and coaching.

Look we have been learning our people, we have mutually agreed upon expectations and we have been monitoring their work – the next step is providing feedback. When I look back upon my days of working for managers, the ones that I feel have helped me the most have provided me meaningful feedback. The key there is meaningful. As a manager, you will need to really think about what is the message that you are trying to delivery, how best to deliver it and how was it received. Take the time to develop your style in providing meaningful feedback. Watch out for these pitfalls:

  • BUT Sandwich – mixed messages! See the post from yesterday. Keep praise separate from constructive feedback.
  • Miss or incorrect information. Make sure that you have enough details to point out what is going on.
  • No documentation.. Write up the discussions and the new commitments.

True developing of your people is focused on their career development. How do you best accomplish this? Coaching! Some may think that this is what feedback is for, I beg to differ. Feedback may start a coaching opportunity – because it is a two way conversation. It helps by providing you some examples of opportunities for longer term growth. I look at most feedback to be tactical and short term in nature.

The coaching model I like to use is very simple:

  • Starting off with Inquire and Listen. Listen is an art in and of itself. Inquire about their challenges, what they want to accomplish longer term. Inquire about their perspective! You must listen.. This really builds the relationship.
  • Next up, Discuss and Understand. Active listen will lead you to convey that you understand their challenges or goals. You get to offer your assessment as the manager (could be a new perspective). As the manager, you need to check to ensure your people understand your perspective. Working together to really establish that two way trust.
  • Time to Act and Collaborate. All the discuss should lead to a jointly defined best course of action. As the manager you want to make sure that everything is clear (using SMART goals) and provide encouragement and support. If all is working together – then generating results should be seen.

Key Tip: Feedback is needed for immediate performance for both positive and constructive (never mix the two together). Coaching and career development conversations develop longer term capability. Coaching leaves a very lasting impression on your people.