Develop Leaders to Develop People

Studer Education

Identify Who is Next

Who will be in their current position 5 years from now? Who will be promoted? Who will have moved on? Part of a great leader’s organizational strategy is to create a plan for succession and the development of new leaders. Identify one person this week that can be developed to succeed you.

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New Leader to the Organization?

Spend as much time as possible observing and learning.

  • Review all of your organization’s content possible such as training manuals, and reports
  • Set up meetings with employees at all levels of the organization
  • Seek to learn and understand as much as you can about practices, processes, the organization’s culture, and the employees personally
  • Discuss what’s working well, areas that could be improved, and personal and professional goals
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Do You Really Need to be Doing That?

It’s common for high performers to continue to volunteer for additional responsibilities, to the point where they may become burned out. To prevent this, it’s vital to pause and think, “Do I really need to be doing this? Is there someone else on my team that would like this opportunity? or Is there a way to automate this task?” Consider whether you are delegating responsibilities as you continue to take on new ones.

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Build Advocates

Not everyone has a leader that is willing to advocate on their behalf when it comes to a new position, promotion, or career change. It’s beneficial to develop relationships with other leaders and individuals in your industry, or with more experience than you, to advocate on your behalf. Identify at least 1 person you would like to develop a relationship with.

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Fulfill a New Passion

Identify an area within your organization about which you are passionate. Have a conversation with your leader about ways to incorporate this passion into your work.

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Use High Performers to Guide

Low solid performers are committed to the organization, but can also be easily influenced by negative, low performers. To best support a low solid performer, partner them with positive, high performers for skill development opportunities.

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Encourage Solid Performers

Solid performers want to build relationships with their leaders, have opportunities for professional development, and hear feedback that inspires improvement. Identify the solid performers on your team, and help them grow by identifying one skill or area for improvement at a time. Ask engaging questions to gain reflective insight and possible solutions from the employee. Ask how you can support their growth and professional development.

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4 Steps to Re-Recruit High Performers

  1. Thank them for their contributions.
  2. Ensure that the employee is informed of the direction of the organization.
  3. Review the characteristics that make the individual valuable to the organization, be specific.
  4. Ask what can be done to ensure you do not lose the employee as a member of the team; reiterate that person’s importance to the organization’s mission.

Listen carefully and follow through with any requests for support.

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Daily Gratitude

Take 30 seconds out of each day to record one thing you are grateful for. You can use a gratitude journal, a word document, or even a voice or video recorder on your phone.

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Use Key Words During Results Rollout

While seeking feedback on your lowest scored survey items, using Key Words like those in the example below can be useful:

“I want to tell you I am disappointed that our results did not improve in this area. I’m committed to working with our team to create a great work environment and need your input to know the best actions to take to support our team. Help me understand, what did you specifically mean when you scored item__ a ___? What things can I or we do to improve this area?”

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Turn Aspiring Leaders into Mentors

To encourage the development of aspiring leaders, offer them the opportunity to mentor the organization’s newest employees. Not only will your aspiring leaders learn how to coach others, but the organization will see a variety of benefits from reduced turnover to increased morale.

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Communicate by Listening

Individuals want to be heard and able to share their ideas. Leaders who are able to develop good relationships with their employees are likely good listeners. To become a better listener, be attentive, ask open-ended questions, ask probing questions, request clarification, paraphrase, be compassionate and empathetic, and summarize back the information you heard to ensure its accuracy and let the communicator know they are heard.

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Clarify Decision Making

Be open with all employees in the organization about the decision-making process. The more information an individual has about why and how a decision was made, the less anxious and uncertain they may feel. During conversations with your teams this week, make it a point to be transparent and start by explaining the why.

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Use Probing Questions

Rather than risk alienating a team member with constructive criticism, try probing questions to initiate improvement. Start with: “Have you experienced any barriers to achieving results recently? How did you work through that?” Then, probe: “Can you think of a time you’ve experienced a similar barrier? What did you do?” Offer suggestions by explaining what has worked for you in a similar situation. Close by asking: “What actions could you take to grow and develop your skills? How can I help you?”

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Meet with Leaders First

Ask the leadership team to participate in a Leadership Forum prior to the organization-wide employee forum. Explain what the employee forum will look like and gather feedback to ensure it’s successful. Include the information needed for leaders to continue to reinforce the message with their teams over the next 90 days.

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Get Aspiring Leaders Involved

While supporting the development of an aspiring leader, involve them with real-life situations that present an opportunity for decision making or problem-solving. New leaders can also develop skills in these areas by conducting role-play scenarios and reviewing case studies.

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Support Succession Planning

Consider what a leadership development program would look like for your organization. Picture a process for developing aspiring leaders and supporting growth in areas such as communication, performance conversations, talent management, and continuous improvement. This may include leadership development retreats, learning tools, or a partnership with a mentor.

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Stop and Celebrate

Some projects take years to complete, others are never complete due to consistent advances in technology. Take time to stop and reflect on the projects that you lead. Have you celebrated the small wins along the way? Have you taken time to recognize and appreciate all of the work that has gone into the project? Leaders who reflect on the team’s progress, recognize it and celebrate it, keep the team motivated for the long run.

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Accurately Distinguish Your Emotions

One way to increase emotional intelligence is to get really specific about what emotion you’re experiencing. Instead of using ‘happy’ consider if you’re really ‘ecstatic’ or ‘blissful’ or ‘cheerful’. Are you ‘angry’ or are you ‘irritated’ or maybe ‘resentful’? The more accurately you categorize your emotions the better you will become at regulating them.

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Sleep On It

Writing and sending an emotionally charged message can be a costly error. When tempted to respond to a situation or person in such instances, it is best to wait 24 hours, review the message, and decide whether it is still appropriate to send.

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Identify Who is Next

Who will be in their current position 5 years from now? Who will be promoted? Who will have moved on? Part of a great leader’s organizational strategy is to create a plan for succession and the development of new leaders. Identify one person this week that can be developed to succeed you.

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Procrastination Makes Conflict Worse

A hard conversation is going to be hard now and harder later. Today, schedule the difficult conversation you’ve been putting off.

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The Joy of Reward

Recognize your high performers by giving them more responsibility or an opportunity to work in an area they are most passionate about.

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Learn to Be Exceptional

Exceptional leaders are continuous learners. Choose a topic you’d like to learn more about and schedule time this week to do so.

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Invest in Your Team

Seek out opportunities for your staff to grow their skills within their talents or interests.

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Improve Yourself First

Identify one thing you will learn this week, and set aside the time needed in your schedule. Improve yourself before you attempt to improve those you lead.

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Concentrate on Your Strengths

Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths and let leaders, mentors and others help you with your weaknesses.

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Inspire Your Team

Today, tell a team member you believe in them and their potential to achieve.

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Develop Yourself to Develop Others

Choose a skill you need to develop further as a leader and set aside 30 minutes each day to practice. We can only take someone as far as we’ve taken ourselves.

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Get Your Game Face On

A leader must consistently display their game face. Regardless of the situation, no negative emotion or expression can show. Leaders communicate with body language. If your stomach is churning, your expression stays calm.

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Leading Change

Do one thing today outside of your comfort zone. “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw

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Authenticity Creates Followers

Make pausing a practice in your communication. By taking time to consider what we are communicating, we become more authentic and those we lead are more likely to trust us.

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Take Time to Reflect

When was the last time you reflected when things went wrong? Learn from your mistakes by taking time to reflect on the cause. This week, at the end of each day, reflect and identify your mistakes and where you can improve. Before you plan next year’s strategic actions, reflect on what results weren’t reached in the past year and what can be done differently.

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