An administrative assistant hated her new boss—a woman who was her age but made a lot more money than she did. The assistant’s husband suggested she learn from her new boss instead of hating her. With his coaching and her boss’s ability to manage with laser-like effectiveness, the assistant was given a project that she excelled at. The boss (and her husband) congratulated her on a job well done. With this newfound confidence, she enrolled in college courses, was promoted within her company and eventually became the manager of the department. All it took was creating the right career path instead of relying on the normal trial and error used by many bosses to develop good employees into great ones.
Too often, good employees become dissatisfied with their jobs and blame their bosses for their unhappiness. The truth is, employees fall victim to media messages about how to be happy and successful, with catch phrases like “be your own boss,” “work for yourself,” “become a millionaire overnight” and “get the promotion you deserve.” While these sound good, they don’t work when employees’ career paths don’t align with them or when employees are not willing to acquire the required skills.
How to Develop Good Employees into Great Ones
First, clarify the path to inspire great employees
- Use a qualified assessment to assess job and career fitness. Putting a good employee into the wrong job is a very expensive mistake. You cannot coach and train people to be something they are not. Instead, develop career paths where employees have the opportunities for job satisfaction. For example, without having a defined career path, putting a good employee who wants to move from marketing into sales can be a disaster if they do not have the assertiveness required.
- Define job requirements. Take the time to clarify the job responsibilities and the type of person who will excel at them. Set up a 180-day success plan and outline the skill sets that need to be developed. Use qualified assessment products to clarify the competencies needed for the position. This will help your employees know exactly what is expected of them. The assessment tools will provide great insight into coaching, mentoring and inspiring your employees to keep them focused, and they’ll help you guide them through inevitable challenges.
- Create realistic expectations. One major pitfall is that today’s employees have been told they can do anything they want. Make sure to engage in reality-based conversations with those wanting positions that don’t fit them. Instead, provide other opportunities for them to grow. Be open to creating new positions that meet the company’s needs and are a good job fit for the employees!
Second, provide opportunities for growth … NOW
- Understand what inspires them. To understand anyone, you must first talk with them. Have conversations over a period of time that clarify what they want to do and why. For example, if they wish to become a manager, provide them leadership opportunities on department projects or cross-company programs. Encourage them to participate on trade boards and committees. Share the importance of these activities and how it will develop more effective leadership skills.
- Learning is key. Provide training for both technical and “soft” skills. Have employees shadow higher level managers, meet with customers, and/or be part of a temporary task force to solve a problem. Also, make sure they are aware of their successes and boost their confidence by completing the five exercises in the book It’s Time to Brag! Business Edition.
- Mastery requires practice. Today, attention spans are shorter than ever. It’s typical for someone who doesn’t see an immediate payoff from their effort to give up. To help good employees develop great habits and interpersonal skills, acknowledge their efforts and successes, no matter how small. Be patient. Coach them through boredom or arrogance (this usually occurs when they believe they shouldn’t have to do the task). Remember, understanding the technical aspects of a job does not mean they have mastered how to use the information in a variety of situations. Practice allows them to do so.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2017
Need to create a 180-Day Success Plan? Contact Jeannette for a free confidential conversation.
Jeannette Seibly is laser sharp at identifying the leverage points that will take a business and its team to the next level of performance and success. She has been a business advisor and executive coach for over 24 years; along the way, she’s guided the creation of three millionaires and million-dollar results for employers across the United States. Also, she is a PXT SelectTM Certified Professional and Authorized Partner. Check out her website, or contact Jeannette for a free confidential conversation.