Today’s guest writer is Liz Weber, noted speaker, leadership coach and management consultant. She blogs regularly on mentoring, leadership development and succession planning. She is a Certified Management Consultant and President of Weber Business Services.
At a recent meeting, every group of senior managers seemed to complain about the weak or under-developed personnel management, delegation, strategic thinking and personal accountability skills in their direct-report managers.
Interestingly, almost all of these senior managers are individuals who themselves had these same weak skills just a few short years ago. Huh. I wonder how they strengthened them…??
Obviously, they gained stronger skills by being coached and mentored, by reading, by acquiring exposure and experience, by leading difficult projects, by attending training programs and by focusing when at work. They gained many more skills by being mentored and held accountable by me, The Dragon Lady of Accountability, (or others like me) and by being “forced” to learn, to try and ultimately to “naturally” do the things effective managers and leaders do.
The key is: They were taught. Someone experienced shared insights and mentored them.
Now it is their turn to share what they’ve learned with their next generation of leaders.
One of the fundamental responsibilities in management is to develop the people for whom we are responsible. We’re supposed to help them continuously develop enhanced or new skills to ensure they’re capable of performing at a level our company will need them to perform several years from now. We wouldn’t expect a computer to support upgraded software programs 1, 2 or 3 years from now without enhancing its capabilities and yet we hold that expectation of our employees. We naïvely assume they’ll just figure things out.
More often than not, the most often studied trainer in your company is the CEO. As the President or CEO, you are the one the staff pay attention to every day. You’re the one they model and take their cues from. Your staff seeks to develop skills to emulate you. You’re it.
So it’s time to conscientiously analyze how you do what you do and segment it so others can learn in bite-sized pieces, just as you did. Your managers won’t need to learn everything you learned or in the same order – because your organization is different now than it was when you learned select skills. And you can speed up the process by mentoring them and having your best managers mentor the next group of high potential employees.
Your managers need to learn many of the same people skills you’ve struggled to master. Let’s face it – dealing with and managing people is the most difficult challenge any of us face in our lives.
Most importantly, remember, you’ve learned these skills. These skills can be taught and shared. Mentoring and coaching is key to spreading those skills throughout your organization.
The next time you feel frustrated with one of your staff, take a step back mentally and ask, “Did I ever do something like this? If so, what lesson did I learn that helped me through it? How can I share that lesson now?” Don’t get frustrated. Teach and Mentor. It’s the way you will develop your next generation of leaders. Your lessons learned need to be shared.
Copyright 2011 – Liz Weber, CMC –
Weber Business Services, LLC. www.WBSLLC.com
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Sharing What Works is the motto of Mentor Resources, the premier provider of tools for the administration of formal mentoring programs. WisdomShare® is used by Fortune 500 companies, professional associations, universities and alumni organizations, government employees and non-profits.