Physician (Manager), Heal Thyself Too

You probably sit down at least annually with each of your staff to have a conversation about their growth and development in their current job and perhaps with an eye to future roles. You look at an array of possible learning vehicles, such as external courses, internally provided workshops, special assignments, job shadowing, coaching, mentoring, webinars and so forth. If you are serious about supporting them you schedule at least a quarterly check in as to what they have been learning and … [Read more...]

Link Your Training to What the Business Needs

I am amazed at how the training strategy in so many organizations is no more than a catalogue of training courses from which people across the enterprise can pick. In some cases courses are linked to specific competencies and stated corporate priorities but, in fact, more often they are not. Why is this so commonplace? Three possible reasons immediately jump to mind: HR goes to line leadership and solicits the critical skills required to support the strategic direction. But the line side … [Read more...]

Developing Gen Y Leaders

What leadership competencies do newly minted Millenial employees need to develop, from the get go? And what strengths do they, as a cohort, bring to the workplace? We hear so much "gen Y bashing" these days. We hear the stereotypes: unfocused, texting obsessed, ADHD prone, the world owes me recognition and, BTW, I'm pretty well ready for the C-suite…now! The Center for Creative Leadership set out to learn more. They conducted a study of about 500 managers and reported the results last year in … [Read more...]

Plant Your Talent Investments in Fertile Ground

I recently heard an interesting presentation by Holly Kortright, Senior VP, HR of Deltek. She was talking about where her company has decided to direct their available resources for employee capacity development. They target four areas: High Potentials for leadership positions High Performers People possessing critical, hard to replace, skills People in key positions (e.g. long experience and intimate knowledge of key work processes) With the US government entering a time of … [Read more...]

Let’s Tackle the Skills Gap at 3 Levels

We are hearing so often these days that there are tons of well-paying jobs for which companies simply can't find qualified people. Of course, skilling up alone won't solve the unemployment and underemployment problems we face. But we do need to skill up as an adult population. I think we all have a part to play, at three levels at the same time: At the national/macro level. This is the realm of public policy around economics, education and the accommodation of technology changes. At the … [Read more...]

At the Heart of Development, Awareness

A manager I was coaching recently explained (away) the behavior of one of his supervisors: "He isn't an angry person. He means well. It's just that he's often sharp with people. And sometimes they take it the wrong way. He's really a good worker. I've told him that people can be intimidated by him, so he knows he sometimes comes across this way." But does he really know this? He may acknowledge it in his head but does he recognize it when he is being curt, or better yet, just before he is … [Read more...]

Are You the Expert, the Doctor, or the Process Guy?

In his short, wonderful book, Helping, Edgar Schein presents us, whether we are a professional  coach or a manager playing a coaching role, with three ways to respond to a request for coaching/mentoring help (or, for that matter, advice with a problem on the job). We can be: an expert resource who provides information or steps in and solves the problem, more like a doctor who prescribes a solution for the client to follow, or a process consultant who works to get the client to come up … [Read more...]

Talent Magnets

In my leadership workshops and keynote speeches I sometimes ask the group/audience to think of the best boss and worse boss they've ever had, what each did, and what effect it had on you. People come up with all kinds of descriptors and behaviors of both bosses. But one thing emerges about the best boss ever (BBE). He or she is someone you want to work for…and keep working for. Furthermore, a BBE is almost always someone that others in the organization would like to work for too. When an … [Read more...]

Praise their Process Over their Competence

The name and work of Carol Dweck keeps coming up in discussions among experts in cognitive development. I wrote a review of  her important book, MindSet. In it she talks about two fundamental mindsets in people (and, therefore, of course, in employees): Fixed and Growth. Someone with a Fixed mindset believes they can't get any better, improve their skills, or turn around a failure. Growth mindset people believe the opposite. Therefore, they are much more open to feedback, to learning from … [Read more...]

Do We Stop Growing after Schooling?

I ran across a recent posting from the Gallup Management Journal that made a point have I never thought about before: "Raised through a childhood in which each new year brought novel opportunities, playing at ever more difficult levels of sports, growing physically, educated in a system of cleanly delineated grades -- freshman, sophomore, junior, senior -- many employees find themselves several years into their career wondering what happened to the momentum they used to enjoy. Being both … [Read more...]