New Manager Handbook: Developing Your Team

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Good leaders develop teams to upskill them, increase their capabilities, and keep them motivated. Supporting the continued growth of your team is far more important than being technically excellent. Overall, supporting your team members’ development involves:

  • Understanding their career vision

  • Giving candid feedback

  • Coaching high performers

Understand the Vision

Having a clearly defined career vision has significant benefits for both an individual and the company. It develops their intrinsic motivation and gives makes it clear which skills they should work on in the immediate future.

As a manager, you should be aware of the following when deciphering someone's intrinsic goals: be honest and open in your approach; ask people for several routes they could see their career taking and dig to find real aspirations; understanding someone’s career gives you insight into their future motivation.

Reflect on what is important to you

It takes time to understand and unearth what is really important to an individual. Keeping reflecting on the below questions, talk them over with trusted peers and mentors, and you should start to recognise some patterns.

  • Who are the people that you admire most? Why?

  • If you appeared in a magazine in the future, what the article to be about

  • What are your proudest achievements? Why this achievement?

  • If you overheard people speaking about you, what would you hope they say?

  • Imagine looking back on your career in 10 years time. How have you acted, and what are you glad you did?

Give Feedback

Feedback is the easiest way to support one's development goals, and high achievers often often actively seek this. View your feedback as a way of supporting team members’ career progression and an excellent way to stretch top performers.

Reflect on what is important to you

  • Give feedback with the intention of helping that person grow. If you hold back honest feedback, you are holding back their progress.

  • Prioritise what you see as the biggest gap that person has towards developing towards their potential.

  • Feedback should be a two-way process. Make sure you ask for honest feedback from your team, your boss, your clients etc

You're the Coach!

Coaching is a technique for developing your team members by asking them open questions to develop their resourcefulness. In contrast, mentoring can guide them on the best way to approach problems. As a people manager you will often employ both techniques, but it’s worth carving out time for coaching, it's that sets apart great managers.

When to coach people

Coaching takes more time and energy, however, people learn much better by thinking through the options themselves and then committing to them. Coaching is a great asset when developing someone's potential!

How to coach people

  1. Asking open questions: Open questions result in a fuller answer. Questions that start “how” or “what” work well, whilst starting with “why” can make people defensive.

  2. Listening actively: Don’t jump to conclusions. Listen attentively and try to understand how the person is feeling. Repeat back what you have heard to confirm your understanding, and ask some more questions.

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