Welcome to Part 3 of this three-part blog series on How to be a Great Manager. In this series I’m talking about and sharing ways you can elevate your ability to lead and manage people.
In case you missed either of the prior blogs in the series you can check them out here:
- How to be a Great Manager Part 1: Define Expectations & Empower
- How to be a Great Manager Part 2: Providing Timely & Actionable Feedback
This last blog focuses on the final theme from my research – Recognizing and Knowing How to Activate the Potential of Your People.
Recognizing the potential of your people is all about becoming aware of who each person is and what they might be capable of achieving.
To do this you’ll want to understand:
- Each person’s career goals, desires and motivations
- Each person’s current strengths and skills
- The strengths and skills each person wishes to develop
I’m sure there’s many approaches you can take to get this understanding. The approaches I’ve found to be most successful include:
- Talking to the person – go to lunch, go to coffee – really take an interest in understanding the person, ask them their biggest strengths, accomplishments and what they want to be doing
- Reading their past performance reviews
- Reading their LinkedIn Profile – it’s amazing what you can learn from the endorsements and recommendation section of someone’s LinkedIn profile
- Talking to their peers and other people they work with – this will help give you a well-rounded perspective
After doing the above, you should have a good sense for what each person might be capable of achieving. The next step is to determine how to activate that potential – meaning bring it to life so the person can learn and grow.
To do this, you’ll want to be thinking about the intersection of the person’s goals, strengths and future desires and the business’s goals and objectives.
For example, when I was leading an Insights and Analytics team I had a person who:
- Was motivated by seeing the end results of his work and learning new things
- Had a strong desire to take on more advanced analytic type projects that would have an impact not only on our business but also on our customers’ business
- Was great at analyzing and forecasting sales data, presenting to customers and internal stakeholders and always staying focused on the end goal
And as a function, we needed to deliver a very rigorous analysis to our Marketing and Sales partners that would help them:
- Determine and optimize the ROI of our marketing and sales dollars
- Determine how to optimize the pricing of our products in market
Despite the fact this individual did not have experience in leading a project of this magnitude, I assigned him to be the Project Lead because based on what we needed to deliver to the organization and his skills, strengths and desires I believed it would be a good challenge for him and I knew with some help from me and our analytics partner he would be able to deliver the project successfully – and he did!
Hopefully you can see from this example it was about understanding the person, their strengths and what motivated them and looking at what we as a team needed to accomplish for the business and determining how to best bring these things together.
Figuring out how to activate someone’s potential in today’s dynamic and ambiguous business environment is challenging and you might not fully succeed each time BUT don’t let it deter you – learn from each experience and adjust it for the next time.
And remember, I’m available for 1:1 coaching if you want some help figuring out how to activate your team’s potential – email (email@example.com) or call (847.776.9000) me anytime. You can also schedule time for us to talk right on my calendar using this link.