Discover some of the unique needs of experienced managers and how you can help them to continue to develop throughout their management career.
- Do you have very experienced managers who keep signaling they've got this when in fact, they're the people who are flagged in employee engagement surveys as needing improvement? Relax. It's not uncommon for leaders to have a higher opinion of themselves than their people do. I see this a lot in my practice. When experienced leaders resist their managers request to have me coach them I share my story about actress Jane Fonda. I tell them about an event that I attended in which Fonda was a guest speaker.
She told us the story of how she had just hired an acting coach for the first time. Fonda was about 78 years old at the time and from what I could tell seemed to be doing very well in her craft. She told us she thought she could do better. Can't we all? The first step in supporting very experienced leaders is to get them to see that no matter where one is in their career you can improve your leadership skills. If you need to, borrow my Jane Fonda story.
I suggest holding up the mirror so that experienced leaders or any leaders for that matter can see exactly what others see. Here's what I do for my clients that I have found to be very effective. I give my clients a self-assessment tool from my book The Magnetic Leader and suggest that they complete this assessment. I then have them ask their people to rate them anonymously on these same factors. This tool gives us a starting point in which to build.
For example, one of the questions on the assessment is "I'm fully present when people are speaking to me." A leader might rate themselves a four on this factor which means they feel this is the case all of the time. Whereas the average rating by their team members may be a one, which equates to rarely. It's pretty clear that work needs to be done here as there's a huge disconnect in what the manager believes and what his employees perceive. You also need to make sure the development opportunities being offered are appropriate for those with extensive leadership experience.
It's not uncommon for instructors to teach to the bottom of the class. Which is fine if you happen to be one of the less experienced people in the room. When this happens, those with more experience immediately check out and vow to avoid future attempts at development. That's why I recommend designing separate learning opportunities based on the experience level of those who will be in attendance. I found that it's really challenging to get senior leaders to attend courses as these people are pretty busy.
That's why many organizations choose to go the coaching route for their experienced leaders as this allows managers more flexibility in terms of scheduling. Plus, an experienced leader is more likely to be open to working on some of their weaknesses in a more private setting. In the end, you've got to demonstrate to experienced leaders that your offerings are worth their time, and how they will personally benefit from improving their leadership style. Once you do this, you'll be much more successful in creating a learning organization that is there to support all, regardless of one's experience or level in the organization.
- What makes a manager effective?
- What managers seek from their employers
- Coaching versus mentoring
- Determining whether to use internal or external resources
- Helping managers take control of their learning
- Creating a management training strategy
- Measuring the effectiveness of your program
- Avoiding common management development mistakes