Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


Four Ideas to Better Develop Employees

Volume: June 2016

4 Ideas to Better Develop Employees

Staffing levels go up. Staffing levels go down. Seems like these days most leaders are challenged to do more with less staff. As such, it important to develop team members so that they can maximize their productivity potential. The leadership challenge, of course, is to accomplish necessary individual tasks, while allocating an appropriate amount of time towards properly coaching team members. A difficult conundrum, no doubt. Research tells us that skilled team members leads to better, more profitable results. So let us examine four actions that leaders can take to ensure that team members grow, and sales and profits do too.

  1. Mindset. Yes, yes, here I am using this concept of “mindset” again. However, remember what Yogi Berra said: “Baseball is ninety percent mental, the other half is physical.” As a side note, Yogi’s son once said: “You can’t compare me to my father, our similarities are quite different.” Back on task. Here is the mindset I encourage leaders to embrace: Developing team members is constant. Growing people is not a one-time or an annual event. Informal coaching should occur each day, while formal development should occur at scheduled intervals. 

    Lesson for Leaders: The process of developing team members begins with envisioning outstanding outcomes, and then creating a plan that brings desired deliverables to life! 

  1. Catch People Doing Something Right! Several management gurus have popularized this phrase, and I love it. In so many workplaces, leaders only notice the things that people do wrong. Negative or constructive feedback is the low hanging fruit of staff development. In addition, if the main source of feedback is correction-oriented, workplace morale will be slanted toward the negative. The key to developing productive team members is to reinforce their many positive contributions. A leadership mantra of “catch people doing something right,” creates a positive culture and an opportunity for team members to accelerate their positive accomplishments.

    Lesson for Leaders: Team members thirst for positive reinforcement regarding what they are doing correctly – even if they are executing an expected part of their job. Seek to share very specific feedback regarding what is correct, and be certain to describe the positive impact that the team member’s behavior has on other team members.

  1. Ownership. Counter-intuitively, it is the leader’s responsibility to drive coaching activities. While team members certainly have a huge stake in positive outcomes, the learning process should be driven and monitored by the leader. This ensures quality, on-target results that will benefit the entire team’s performance. 

    Lesson for Leaders: Manage team member performance and team member development!

  1. Partnership. Without team member buy-in, development activities are meaningless. So how do we, as leaders, create buy-in with team members regarding our coaching activities? First, create an environment in which team members share important feedback with you, and in turn, you share meaningful feedback with them. Second, request a one-page summary from the team member after each formal coaching interaction. Their summary will highlight their key takeaways, and give you a barometer regarding their level of engagement with the process.

    Lesson for Leaders: Informal and formal feedback can expand collaborative relationships. In addition, the feedback will help to solidify what team members have learned, and serve as a measure of your leadership effectiveness.

Bottom Line: Developing your team members has incredible benefits. It builds a healthy culture. It creates positive connections. It increases retention rates for your top performers. It will increase your top and bottom line. And, perhaps most importantly, when leaders develop team members, they enhance their own development in the process. There you have it. Now go forth and coach, develop, and given the opportunity, quote Yogi Berra!

Until next time, be well.

Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based executive coach, leadership development expert, and strategic planner. To learn more about leadership development programs, coaching, strategic planning, or to have Doug speak at your next event, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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