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Five Quick Ways Busy Managers Can Develop Their Staff

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.



Five Quick Ways Busy Managers Can Develop Their Staff

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In their book, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go, Bev and Julie compare developing employees to eating properly and exercising. Managers know it’s good. They know they should. Yet, for a variety of reasons -- mostly TIME -- they just don’t do it as well or as frequently as they (and their organizations) would like.

Here they lay out five strategies for making development more doable in today’s workplace where time constraints are always a factor.

1. Transfer ownership - Managers don’t own their employees’ careers, their employees do. All that managers can (and should) feel accountable for is guiding, encouraging, collaborating on, and supporting the effort. When employees have some skin in the game, engagement, interest, commitment, and results grow.

2. Cultivate curiosity - When ownership for development is transferred to the employee, career conversations suddenly become a lot easier and less stressful for managers. Managers don’t need to have all the answers - only the right questions and a genuine interest in learning from others.

3. Iterate the IDP - Re-think the formal, lengthy individual development planning processes. For the manager, it’s a huge time-sink, and for the employee it’s frequently like drinking from a fire hose. So break it up. Do a little bit each month - or better yet, each week. These smaller, iterative chunks better accommodate the cadence of business. Equally importantly, they better accommodate how development really occurs: little by little, over time.

4. Engineer experiences- Contrary to conventional wisdom, development isn’t dependent upon promotions or new roles. It can be as simple as jointly identifying activities, tasks, or responsibilities that leverage talents and build the skills that employees need... right where they are.

5. Carpe coachable moments- Career development opportunities occur countless times each day and when managers are sensitive to the cues around them, they can seize these coachable moments. An authentic and intentional two-minute touch-base can drive greater development than many well-staged formal career meetings.

Managers who consistently find the time to engage in career development that employees appreciate don’t have more time than others, they just have a mindset that allows them to use the little time they do have for maximum impact.

And maybe they eat more vegetables than the rest of us.