Having been on both sides of the manager-employee equation, I sometimes wonder who should take responsibility of an employee’s growth and development.
This because I am a firm believer of self-awareness and constant growth of an individual.
Finding the Way
The process of identifying a development area and then working on it is now ingrained in me and I consciously work on it. However, some aspects of an individual are harder to identify and work on, than others. Some habits if not identified and worked on in the nascent stage can become an annoying trait.
These annoying traits can come back to bite an individual in the most crucial times.
I believe that in addition to an employee taking responsibility for their growth, managers should also take the time to give timely and appropriate feedback.
On Strengths and Weaknesses
Of all of my personality traits I have worked on over the years, some were easily identifiable by me. However, there were a couple of weaknesses that if not pointed out by my manager, I would never have identified the root cause and possibly never worked on them.
From my experience, each and every aspect of an individual can be worked on by carefully identifying the root of the problem and then coming up with appropriate steps to correct it. Having an understanding mentor or coach is the key to this process especially for those problems that are harder to work on.
Sometimes a couple of different solutions may have to be tried before one can completely fix a problem but the key is to keep trying.
What I have often seen is that most managers (if not all) dread when the time comes to giving performance evaluations to their employees.
This begs the question why?
- Evaluating an employee’s performance should not be such a fearful process.
- After all aren’t managers are also supposed to be coaches for their direct reports?
- Isn’t annual review the time for employee growth and development?
- Shouldn’t performance evaluation be the time where managers can be proud of their coaching skills?
Well, there is only one explanation of why this happens. These managers don’t give direct feedback to the employees all-year-round and wait for the yearly performance evaluation cycle. Some companies conduct mid-year evaluations. Even if companies don’t mandate a mid-year performance evaluation, managers should make it a habit to give feedback to their employees throughout the course of the working year.
Be Wise, No Surprise
Another important aspect of the review process is that any feedback should not come as a surprise to the employee at the performance evaluation time. If the feedback is a surprise, it would certainly make the process difficult and dreadful.
Coaching employees is one of the most rewarding skills for a manager and they should make it work to everyone’s advantage.
I would urge all managers to not let any annoying habit fester in an employee. Help them identify the root cause and work with them to correct it. It is quite possible that they may not be fully aware of the issue and simply need an empathetic guidance.
So how are you doing at identifying your personal and professional needs for growth? And better yet, how well are you doing this same thing for the people that you lead? What can you start doing TODAY to provide the helpful feedback your people need to help them learn, grow, and develop better performance? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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