As I think back through my 25 years of business experience, there are some people managers that really stand out in my mind – both because they did something that really helped me be successful or because they failed to do it.
For example, I had one manager who was superb at offering a sympathetic ear to challenges I was facing in getting decisions made via a cross-functional steering committee. As therapeutic as his sympathy was in the moment, it did absolutely nothing to help me move forward, get my work done, or meet my urgent deadlines. One or two choiceful interventions by my manager would have made all the difference. As you may have guessed, I left that organization (actually, as data shows us time and again, what I really left was that people manager).
Here are 3 ways you can ensure you set your team members up for success – and retain key talent.
1) Provide Role Clarity: Ensure people know what to do, how to do it, by when, and why it is important. Role clarity also reduces anxiety, which can be a major distractor to getting things done. Having role clarity means there is no ambiguity as to what should be accomplished or produced, by when. If your team member doesn’t have the skills to do the job at hand, help them get the skills. If your team member needs hands on support to get started, ensure you or someone else is there to provide it. And when that team member is ready to take flight, remember to get out of the way.
2) Get Resources and Remove Obstacles: Ensure your people have the tools they need to perform well. If they don’t, make a ruckus until you can get them what they need to fulfill the expectations you have put on them– or make sure you change your expectations. Nothing demotivates people faster than aggressive goals with a lack of tools or skills or resources to get the job done. The same goes for obstacles – if something is in their way, help them remove it so they can focus on their work. Stay in frequent contact with your team members on this topic – you never know when the landscape may change. (If the manager I referred to in my anecdote above did this well, I may still be at that organization).
3) Empower Them: Assuming you have qualified team members, make sure you are letting them make decisions and you step in only when needed. This one can be tricky when people are learning; sometimes it means letting them make mistakes and then helping them get back on track in a supportive manner. Still, it’s worth it in the long run. Empowerment gives people ownership and frees up your time for other activities.
Cheers to your leadership success!
HR Strategy | Executive Coach | Leadership Development
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