Friday, July 29, 2005

Training New Leaders

As this year's leaders, we have a responsibility to train next year's leaders. Johanna Rothman's article, Management Myth #4: Managers Don't Need Training, reminds me how important this a job this is. In the article and her upcoming book, Johanna focuses on training new managers for dealing with the common situations they encounter such as the one-on-one meetings. I'm looking forward to this resource.

I want to highlight the importance of teaching new leaders and managers before they face the job on their own. You shouldn't just pluck the most promising individuals out of your teams and throw them into a leadership role. This won't be effective even if you spend time training them in their new role. We need to start training new leaders and managers even before they realize we are training them.

Who are the potential leaders in your teams, and what are you doing to make them ready to take your place? Train a replacement not only prepares our future leaders, it builds capacity in your team. Here are some ideas:

  • Have them tag along with you to a variety of meetings.
  • Have them give your presentation to a customer with you there for backup.
  • Have them review memos and contracts before you send them out.
  • Give them increasing levels of problem solving responsibilities, with real opportunities to fail.
  • Ask their opinion about difficult problems, and share with them what you decide to do.

After all these situations, I find it valuable to debrief. This helps the leader-in-training to see things that they otherwise might miss, "Did you notice how I asked everyone in the meeting to share their ideas about the proposal? Some people will never raise an issue unless you ask them directly." This debriefing time also helps me think through why I do things, thereby honing my own skills.

This process can take time. It's not something you can rush through with only one month of notice when you realize the need is imminent. Be thankful if you have eighteen months to two years lead time. And, you should work to fill the leadership pipeline with multiple successors if you can. So become a leadership mentor today. Some future new manager will thank you.

1 comment:

my life goals said...

I’m about to make you think.
It might be painful.

Have you done anything earth shattering lately?

Read anything that really sets your mind on fire with a passion to do good?

How about doing something important for yourself?

Have you?

Do you know without a doubt where you will be living a few years from now, what you will be doing, how big your bank account will be?

Got a Plan?

Know how to get there?

You gotta have goals!

I’m accomplishing one of mine right now – getting more people to set goals, personal, family, business and even spiritual.

Often we don’t practice what we preach or do what we know we should be doing.

Are you guilty of this? If so, this here’s a little “nugget” for you today.

What will you do with this “nugget”? Ignore it or use it…

Here’s yours;

Write Goals Down

This crystallizes your goals and gives them more force. In writing your goals down, you are better able to keep up with your scheduled tasks for each accomplishment. It also helps you to remember each task that needs to be done and allows you to check them off as they are accomplished.

Basically, you can better keep track of what you are doing so as not to repeat yourself unnecessarily.

Keep Operational Goals small

Keep the low-level goals you are working towards small and easy to achieve. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it.

Keeping goals small and incremental allows you more opportunities for reward. Derive today's goals from larger ones. It is a great way to accomplish your goals.

Set Performance Goals, not outcome goals

You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. There is nothing more dispiriting than failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons that are beyond your control.

These could be bad business environments, poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck. If you base your goals on personal your performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and get satisfaction from achieving them.

Set Realistic Goals
It is important to set goals that you can achieve.

All sorts of people (parents, media, and society) can set unrealistic goals for you which is almost a guarantee of failure. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions or flat out disinterest.

Alternatively you may be naive in setting very high goals. You might not appreciate either the obstacles in the way, or understand quite how many skills you must master to achieve a particular level of performance.

By being realistic you are increasing your chances of success.

Do not set goals to low

Just as it is important not to set goals unrealistically high; do not set them too low.

People tend to do this where they are afraid of failure or where they simply don’t want to do anything.

You should set goals so that they are slightly out of your immediate grasp, but not so far that there is no hope of achieving them. No one will put serious effort into achieving a goal that they believe is unattainable.

However, remember that your belief that a goal is unrealistic may be incorrect. If this could be the case, you can to change this belief by using imagery effectively.

Good Luck and Happy Goal Setting!
Want some more “nuggets”? Pick up a few here; effective goals