Every member of your team is different…so, why are you using the same “canned” program to coach & develop them?
Employees care—deeply—about career growth and development opportunities. A recent Gallup poll reported that almost 90% of employees valued the opportunity to be coached and developed…but only 40% feel that they are consistently learning new tools and techniques at work.
Strong leaders know how important it is to develop their team members. They know it’s not just to improve employee engagement and retention, but also to benefit their firm or business’s bottom line. At the end of the day, effective leaders develop effective leaders. When team members are educated and empowered to step up and lead, it makes a real, measurable difference.
But you already knew that.
Did you know, though, that another thing strong leaders do is customize their team coaching and development approach based on the needs of each individual team member? In our 20+ years of experience training and developing law firm leaders and their teams, the firms that truly excel are those where each employee is coached based on their unique strengths and weaknesses. We do this in our Team Empowerment Academy. We assess each member of the team using the Kolbe employee assessment, and then determine the best way to assist each team member in developing new skills, all the way down to which skills they need to develop to become a more well-rounded employee, capable of making a big impact at their organization.
But strong leaders should be going above and beyond what we offer, taking the extra step in personalizing their approach so that it’s aligned with the characteristics of their various team members. And here are 5 ways they can do that.
1. Create a personality spreadsheet. Create a column for each employee, and make note of such information as: KOLBE, Strengthfinder 2.0, Enneagram, what you believe their full potential is; any feedback they give you about your management style; how he or she prefers to work; what their motivators are—money, time, public recognition, etc.; ways in which you believe you could advance his or her career; their goals; or any feedback you’d like to give them about their performance.
2. Actually USE your spreadsheet. Allot 15 minutes at the end of each week to reference and update your spreadsheet. If you have trouble remembering the interactions you’ve had with each team member over the course of the week, consider keeping track in a notebook.
3. Analyze your spreadsheet every month. As the leader of your firm or business, time goes by fast. And employees typically don’t speak up. Take time at the end of each month, over a cup of coffee, during your planning time to check in on where you are at with your people and performance. Invest in the dedicated time to assess your spreadsheet in order to determine which employees are steadily developing, which may need some additional direction or coaching, and what you can do to accelerate their performance.
4. Make time for informal “feedback sessions” with your team members. As you manage your spreadsheet and start to see patterns unfold, make sure you find the time for quick, informal, impromptu conversations with each employee. Show that you see what they’re doing and that you know what success looks like to them. These conversations will become a cornerstone of the way you work with each team member. Trust me, they mean a lot to your employees!
5. Use your spreadsheet during formal evaluations. If you’re making time to regularly touch base with your team members, then your “formal evaluations” will be less of a dreaded conversation where employees demand more money and you have to tell them why they’re not worth that much money and everyone walks away feeling misunderstood, underappreciated, and frustrated. Your spreadsheet can help guide your evaluation conversation by reminding you of the nuances that make your employees so great, as well as where they have room for improvement.
With Q1 nearing its close, now is the ideal time to evaluate your team, turn your people into profit, and intentionally invest the time to customize your firm’s approach to employee training and leadership development. And we can help with that—when you’re a member of our team, your time investment in all of this will feel much less overwhelming. Your people are your most important assets…and they can also be your most profitable assets, when properly coached and developed. Don’t let “but I don’t have time” stand in the way of developing your firm’s most important assets. Invest in your law firm. Create a firm where employee love to work, clients are delighted to hire you, and referrals send consistent business your way.
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