How to get the most from your managers

A leadership development expert says there are four areas leaders should strengthen in order to become better mentors

How to get the most from your managers
One key driver for better employee engagement and retention is through development opportunities within the organisation, said leadership development expert Joseph Folkman.

“While looking at data … collected from more than 400,000 employees, I discovered that individual development opportunities was the third most significant driver of employee engagement,” he wrote at Forbes.

After studying the results even further, he found that there were four key areas that leaders excelled at in terms of developing others.

Competence in performance management
Performance management has been getting a lot of attention lately, with some companies lauding it and others eschewing the practice. Folkman discovered that it was the skill at which managers were giving the feedback that make or break the process.

“Employees were much more likely to feel positive about their individual growth and development if their manager had done a good job of reviewing and discussing their individual performance, provided them regular feedback and giving the employees stretch assignments,” he said.

Managers who kept a positive attitude towards performance management rather than a combative one viewed the process as a developmental tool rather than a punishment.

“The most effective managers take the time to regularly review performance, discuss development plans and challenge team members to accomplish stretch goals,” he added.

Involvement of team members
Rule your team with democracy rather than as a dictatorship. Folkman said employees whose managers sought their opinion on their career development, problem solving, and organisational issues, felt better about their chances for advancement.

“Team members appreciate development when they have input and involvement. When development opportunities match up with a person’s passion, they are energized,” he said. 

“Involving team members more will increase their satisfaction with the growth and development achieved.”

Recognising achievements
Acknowledging the great work employees did made them feel more positive about their development, he said.

“When leaders are more effective at recognition, their employees feel more positive about their development. Development without recognition is like home work that never gets graded or reviewed.”

The right fit
“The best managers help their team members discover their genius,” he said.

It’s part of a manager’s job to ensure that the employee is in the right position. Match their skills and strengths with the right job and watch them flourish, he said. 

If a particular team member is underperforming in their duties, good managers will assess if there are areas they are good at encourage those skills instead of berating them for their incompetence, he added.

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