Engage your direct reports this year by making one or more of these resolutions a leadership priority.
Getting the most out of your talent, day in and day out, isn’t easy. It requires time, commitment, and a plan. Developing and inspiring others is one of the Top 6 leadership challenges faced by middle- and executive-level managers around the world.
If you’re ready to see a change in your people this year, start by making one or more of these leadership resolutions for yourself:
1. “I Will Take Responsibility for Developing My Employees.”
I will not ignore this part of my job as a leader. I won’t put it off until I have time, or leave it to HR. I will make sure the right people are doing the right work and having the right experiences so they’re successful now and in the future. I will support employees in their efforts to learn and grow. I will also hold employees accountable for their development.
Your employees need to own their learning and their career path. But your ability to cultivate talent can have a great impact on them — and on your own reputation and effectiveness as a leader. Here is a checklist of things smart managers do.
2. “I Will Hold Regular Coaching Conversations.”
I will set a time (and not cancel) for one-on-one conversations with direct reports or team members. I will give feedback and advice — and not save it for formal reviews. I will address learning and development goals as a normal part of work. I will get to know my people’s skills and interests at a deeper level. I will learn ways to improve my own coaching skills.
To effectively coach your people, you need to establish the relationship; incorporate assessment, challenge, and support; and push for results.
3. “I Will Shake My Stereotypes and Challenge My Assumptions.”
I will give everyone another look. I will check myself on subtle stereotypes about how people work or what they aspire to become. I will consider the unique needs of people at different levels, career stages, or demographic groups — but I will manage people as individuals. I will ask questions about their workload, challenges, and interests rather than assuming I know how they’re doing and how they want to grow this year.
The millennials in the workforce are pretty much like everyone else. Fundamentally, millennials want to do interesting work, with people they enjoy, for which they’re well paid — and still have enough time to live their lives.
4. “I Will Build Trust.”
I will be trustworthy, so people are comfortable committing to me, the team, and the work. I will demonstrate my competence, consistency, and concern in all I do. I will give trust to others, rather than double-checking or expecting problems. I will delegate with clear expectations, needed resources, and an open door if my help is requested.
Open discussions between managers and employees build trust in the workplace, setting the stage for deeper, more productive conversations about team performance. They also create stronger bonds between leaders and employees.
All of these resolutions will improve your leadership abilities and your relationships with direct reports this year. Try starting with one and building towards the rest to make this a more productive and successful year!