The profile of a 'Complete' Manager
The Complete Manager 7 of 14: Mentoring and 1-1s
We're continuing our examination of the profile of a 'complete' manager - one who daily achieves Predictable Success® for herself, her team, and the organization she works for.
Over the last few weeks we have been looking at the profile of a complete manager. We have seen that the foundation of a complete manager lies in their ability to be enhance their productivity. More specifically in the areas of; time management, priority management, crisis management and delegation.
A few weeks ago we started to look at the second group of key skills; Developing Others. Since then we have seen that the Complete Manager provides consistent, on-going performance assessment and ensures their team receives appropriate coaching.
(If you want to follow along the connections between the 14 characteristics, you can download a copy of the Complete Manager Brain Map - a pdf version of the graphic at top right).
You can track the series using this progress bar:
"When the best leader's work is done,
the people say, 'We did it ourselves'."
- Lao-Tzu, 604-531 BC
Chinese Philosopher and
Founder of Taoism, Tao Te Ching
Developing on-the-job skills without also developing as an individual leads to imbalance.
In fact, focussing solely on developing on-the-job skills without providing the opportunity for personal development is a recipe for losing your highest performers to your competitors.
You pay for the training and skills development of your best people, then watch as out of frustration they go to an environment where they can develop more as individuals.
Last time we saw that that the Complete Manager coaches his team members to help them improve those on-the-job skills necessary to succeed in their role. This week we will see that that he also places mentoring in the 'not optional' category.
Irrespective of whether or not your organization has a formal mentoring program, your key employees will expect that you provide them with mentoring when appropriate.
In The Complete Guide to Mentoring and Coaching, I list 14 primary functions of Mentoring programs.
Here is a look at the 4 functions that are likely to be most relevant to the Complete Manager.
1. To Improve Employee Retention
Many organizations start mentoring programs because of a less than satisfactory turnover rate. Part of the Complete Manager's responsibilities is to maintain healthy employee retention rates. An individual who is being well mentored may stay longer with the organization because:
- They have a stronger sense of personal and career development than before.
- Their assessment of the organization as an employer will be higher because of the existence of strong mentors.
- The motivational and role-modeling aspect of the mentoring relationship maintain a positive attitude in your team.
- They have a forum to discuss and resolve frustrations that might otherwise accumulate to cause them to leave the organization.
- They may fear losing a good mentoring relationship, which may not be available elsewhere.
Begin to meet with your team members individually. Let them know that you would like to meet with them regularly to discuss non-performance based issues such as their personal development. Spend the first few sessions getting to know their goals and then begin to work with them to develop a plan to reach those goals.
You should notice an increase in morale and productivity from your team members early on. If you continue to develop an on-going mentoring relationship with each of your team members you will have discovered a very useful tool in your employee retention toolkit.
2. To Encourage Personal Individual Growth
The complete manager will realize that most, if not all, of his team members will be looking to develop as an individual (both personally and within their chosen career) during the time they spend with the organization.
Further to this, the Complete Manager will understand that it is their responsibility to assist in their team members individual development activities as much as they can. Doing so will increase the job satisfaction, productivity and, in turn, the results of their team members.
As a Complete Manager you should work closely with each of your team members to map out their personal and career goals. Provide the support, advice and were possible, the resources, for your team members to achieve and surpass their goals.
3. To Help Low Performers Improve
Mentoring your lower performing team members is necessary to raise the standard of results produced by your team. It's no good having one or two high flyers if everyone else is being held back by the lower performers.
In this context the mentoring relationship should be used to help the low performer identify the 'blind spots' in their personal development and to devise an action plan to overcome those shortcomings.
Any mentoring will likely be closely combined with on-the-job coaching. This will help improve the team members day-to-day functional skills as part of a wider development plan.
Identify your lower performing employees and work with them to identify those blind spots. Create a plan for the next 4 - 6 months that will allow them to work on their 2 or 3 weakest areas. Check in with them on regular occasion to asses their progress. Reward progress and guide and coach where progress is not made.
4. To Accelerate the Development of High Performers
You may think it's best to get out of the way of our high performers and let them 'get on with the job.' As we saw in the section on performance assessment, however, the top performers need guided just as much as the low performers.
Your mentoring relationship with your high performers should be used to accelerate their personal and career development. It may be that they are seeking a higher position within the company or they may be looking to balance out other aspects of their busy life.
The Complete Manager will identify the development needs of their top performers and provide the appropriate guidance and resources to meet those needs.
Seek out your top performers and work with them to develop a detailed action plan that will see them develop personally. Check in with them at regular intervals to assess their progress.
Being All Things to All People
These are just 4 of the 14 primary functions of mentoring. The Complete Manager will be aware of each of these functions and will know which function is most applicable for each member of his team.
Knowing this will allow the Complete Manager to customize each of his mentoring relationships to best assist his team members. That's just the start however, the foundation on which to build mentoring activities. The real challenge for the Complete Manager is to provide each team member with a risk-free, judgment -free environment to develop as individuals and as contributors to the organization as a whole.
How are you doing?
Use the questions below to diagnose your personal mentoring skills.
Members: click here
to download a workbook containing these and other questions covering all 14 Complete Manager key skills
If two or more answers are in the 'Never' or 'Sometimes' columns, consider getting help. If three or more answers are in the 'Never' or 'Sometimes' columns, don't consider not getting help!
Next up: In the next article, we'll move into the third key skill for Developing Others; Empowerment.
Do You Want to Be a Complete Manager?
Do You Want Your Team to Be Complete Managers?
Then pre-register for our upcoming Complete Manager Program - a distance learning program based on all 14 'Complete Manager' characteristics.
There's no obligation whatsoever in pre-registering, and the Program is open to members and non-members alike (although members will receive a discount on the Program registration fee (which we haven't set yet). Just complete this simple form and hit 'Submit':
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