The world is moving faster, with increased pressure to meet quarterly quotas and strategic goals. Amidst this rush, developing the next generation of leaders and managers can seem daunting. As a result, new supervisors and high potential leaders are directed into formal training programs, but follow-up mentoring and coaching may fall short.
Here are some ways to build your managers and leaders in achievable steps:
- Follow-up on training: identify one key action. Training provides managers and supervisors with valuable workplace skills. Maximize this investment by asking what attendees learned or took away from a recent training and how they want to apply it. From this discussion, identify one action or new behavior that would benefit the attendee. Then, follow-up on that point by asking about it on a regular basis.
- Assess highest impact approaches. Look at your current team or program structure. Is it a flat organization, or do you have multiple layers of management? Your structure may help point to the highest impact interventions with your managers and leaders. For example, a flat organization may benefit more from core communication and project management skills – raising everyone’s game. A more hierarchical organization may lead you to invest more in senior development, focusing on the mentoring and coaching skills that your second line managers then deploy across the team.
- Identify core technical capabilities that need support. Often, managers are more comfortable in technical domains. What goals have been missed recently, or where has customer feedback highlighted a problem? Often, even the most technical challenges have underlying people-based problem, like role clarity and communication. Use technical problem-solving sessions to collaborative identify these problems and shape action plans.
- Find teachable moments and projects. Look for opportunities to focus on the specific skills needed by subordinate supervisors and managers. For example, instead of crunching to complete a briefing over the weekend, assign the task to a manager who needs to develop those skills the week before. This extra time gives someone a chance to practice those skills, and may save time for you as well, as editing often takes less time than creating. Use the time saved specifically for providing feedback for next time.
Developing managers and leaders can feel daunting. Finding small steps in everyday activities can quietly build succession planning into your culture – one day at a time.