Join Lisa Gates for an in-depth discussion in this video Designing stretch opportunities, part of Coaching and Developing Employees.
Research into human motivation tells us that we're less motivated by money and reward than we are by our ability to direct our own lives. To learn and create new things and to do better by ourselves and our world. What that research means to me is that people want to know that they have value, and that they matter. These are people who want to learn and put that learning to the test they want to stretch. So let's talk about what stretch opportunities might look like in your organization.
What about formal education? In your company getting an advanced degree like an MBA might be an employee benefit. This is as much of an enticement to a high achiever, as it is to somebody just starting out in their career. So when you first start coaching your employees, be sure to ask what their educational goals are, and see if you can find ways to meet them. Informal education opportunities include workshops, conferences, and say, Community College courses and online resources like webinars and e-learning courses.
They allow your employees to work at their own pace and time without the limits of geography. Next, networking and mentoring gives you the opportunity to share the load of management. What you're doing here is facilitating connections between your employees, and leaders inside and outside your organization. When your employee's ready to find a mentor, ask them to answer these questions. Who's path do I want to follow? Who might be able to connect me to that person? While mentoring is fabulous, I recommend putting a little skin in the game by sponsoring your high achievers. Now, sponsoring isn't about money here.
It's about being an active advocate and putting your reputation behind somebody, making introductions and creating new connections to help your people advance in their careers. Depending on your company you may also be able to implement job rotations and shadowing, either inside or outside your department. Here's a twist on job rotations that might work for you. Early in my career, I was working in a large public relations firm and we were short on staff in our department. We were pretty frustrated and overworked, you know the story. So, my boss sat us down and asked each of us how do we fix this? What do you want to do? What do you want to do? We all looked at the objectives of our department and tossed out our job descriptions.
We then chose duties that fit our individual talents and allowed us to grow. We were far more collaborative and we all walked away with new skills and strengths in the process. So, what did this mean for the business? We exceeded targets and inspired other managers to adopt this idea. There are other ways to grow your people right where they are, like stretch projects. Stretch projects are challenge assignments and the idea here is to take your people outside their comfort zone. Outside the normal expected everyday work routine.
With any of the learning choices your employees want to tackle, here are some tips to remember. Identify early what your people want to learn, and make sure those objectives also align with your department or company objectives. Ask them to investigate what internal and external resources are available. Make sure your employees create a timeline for accomplishing their goals. And do everything you can to protect that timeline from getting swallowed up by emergencies.
Next, ask your people how they want to debrief their learning, and how they want to put it into practice. A final thought here. A great way to lock in what you've learned is to teach others. You very likely have somebody on your team who'd be great at coaching. So why not share what you're getting out of this course with them. Not only is this great for productivity, but now, you have a leader in the making.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Finding time to coach
- Establishing a relationship with your employees
- Asking powerful questions
- Becoming an active listener
- Maintaining accountability
- Using questionnaires and self-assessments
- Aligning professional goals with company objectives<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.