I often get calls from clients about various leadership-related scenarios they face. Sometimes they already know the answers but want to hear alternative ideas. One thing is for sure; there isn’t just one way to handle leadership questions on the front line.
Questions from the Front Line
Here is a sample of a client’s recent call and the highlights of the suggestions I provided: “Some of our senior managers struggle with the younger staff on our team. A few believe they want too much too quickly. Our managers don’t delegate to them very well, and as a result, we often stumble in delivering our services. I wish there were a way to help both of these groups. We need to be building this next layer of management in our organization. I also don’t want to lose any more young people to our competitors.”
Job Descriptions are Crucial
Make sure the individual job descriptions are in sync with the role and responsiblities. I’ve seen several issues arise when job descriptions aren’t current and relevant. This is needed to have accountability focused on certain job functions.
The description should contain examples of specific behaviors that highlight success in the role. You want to talk about these to highlight the expectations and address any questions. You want confirmation and understanding. The description should also evolve because someone in a starting role should perform differently than someone in the position for five years. Also, show a career path in this description.
A personal development program is needed to outline the learning path clearly, so the individual keeps pace with social and organizational needs. By illustrating the core skill sets needed to be successful, you are laying the foundation for performance.
Real Life Performance Evaluations
I could write for hours about the do’s and don’ts of conducting performance reviews. Teaching senior staff to become coaches isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Evaluating senior managers and your young talent using formal and informal methods is an essential part of growing people in the organization. Consistent coaching and counseling are necessary to speed up the learning curves.
Senior managers can be teachers and mentors but frequently are still doing the work themselves. You have to remove the “threat” that they will be put out to pasture when teaching others their job functions.
Don’t be fooled by the term. A senior person could be 24, 41 or 77 years old. It is more about the individual’s knowledge level vs. how long you’ve been with the company.
Young people with talent also need to be taught that certain behaviors are necessary to succeed. Explain what it means to succeed and to underperform. Formal and informal reviews need to be frequent if the behaviors do not align with the goals and objectives.
Rationale & Solutions That Work
Senior managers can create unnecessary risks when challenged by young people with different energy and talent. If they are close-minded to new ideas or feel threatened, this isn’t healthy for growing talent in a company. Changes need to be made to how they view their roles and how performance is measured.
Make sure senior staff know it’s their responsibility to grow the younger talent while also showing them their path to more success in the company. When they share and grow this talent, they need rewarded and recognized. You don’t want to hold a young talented person back from being more successful. You can help them achieve their goals by teaching them certain methods and subjects.
Implementing solutions requires an understanding of your company culture and how your staff perceives they are treated. Yes, their perception is their reality. Check out these other articles on these and other subjects that should help you along. There are also several others on my website that are great resources.
There are ways to help these managers become teachers and mentors to another generation of leaders. There are also ways for the younger generation to learn from senior people. Give me a call, and let’s explore your options.