Let me be clear: if you are a LEADER, it is your job to develop the people who report to you.
This means that you need to figure out enough about each of these people to be able to work effectively with them to develop a plan to maximize their strengths, and, if their weaknesses are critical, to address their weaknesses in such a way that at least they won’t undermine their future success!
It’s your job to get the people who report to you prepared to move UP in your organization – either into your job, or into another job that will be a better fit for them.
If you don’t do this, who will take your job when you are promoted, or when you want to move on to another challenge or into retirement?
I’m seeing a lot of people in positions of responsibility who aren’t doing one darned thing about developing their direct reports beyond writing periodic performance appraisals. If performance appraisal time is the only time your direct reports really learn how you feel about their contributions, don’t be too surprised that their performance is disappointing!
And if you don’t understand what each one of your direct reports wants out of his or her career and the particular job he holds right now – what he wants to learn more about, what she’s concerned about or wants to get better at doing, what he feels great about and wants more of – you are not on the road to success as a leader.
What is taking up executives’ time … if not developing their direct reports?
- Meetings. Wall to wall, back to back, too many meetings that don’t have real agendas and last too long. Try conducting them standing up.
- Email. If you think you’re going to “finish” it, think again. Most people are spending too much time behind their screens, and too little time talking with humans.
- Your personal “book of business.” If you’re in a business in which you are both a leader of people AND a person who has your own group of clients, I’m betting that, when you have a spare moment, you work on your personal clients, not on motivating and growing your direct reports.
- Your short attention span, and maybe even your focus on yourself. Some people’s response to too much information, too much to do, too much of everything is to narrow their focus to … themselves. Such people should not be leaders. You know who you are.