September 9 -

As a manager, much of your time should be devoted to helping team members to be more successful and (for those interested) to prepare them for promotion or advancement. Setting their expectations against the actual workload helps them become better prepared for unexpected changes and gives them a good baseline for knowing when they’ve met or exceeded expectations.

Here are some ideas to put your team members on the road to success:

  1. Understand what the team member really wants from their job. If you are the direct manager, that means regular coaching and development sessions. If you’re the mentor, that means regular coaching and development sessions. If you’re a peer, direct manager or mentor, have regular informal conversations. The two keys here are regular meetings (formal or informal) and good communication. Don’t focus only on areas of improvement. People like to know when they’re doing well.
  2. Focus on one to two items of success and one or two opportunities for improvement each session. More targeted coaching will usually result in better understanding of the areas you’re discussing. Shotgunning five or ten different items tends to cause the team member to lose focus.
  3. Have a clear set of expectations and write them down. Giving someone a reference to look at and compare tasks and results against means they have an opportunity to let you know when they need help or when they’ve met the goals.
  4. Understand what the team member feels is “too much” work or not enough. This will help you in adjusting workload to help the team member reach a better life/work balance.
  5. Provide opportunities for special projects. People tend to feel valued when you trust them to do something outside their normal work. It also gives the team member a chance to network inside/outside the company, build relationships and show others what they can do.