Friday, 3 May 2019

Developing others through Coaching

As discussed, on the job training and giving feedback are some of the ways to develop others as a leader in a professional setup. Another method of developing others is through Coaching.

what is coaching?

Coaching is helping others to improve performance either by acquiring new skills or a developing new set of behaviors to achieve the desired goal. As a coach, you need to be working with them on their journey till they get their destination.

This coaching requires more of your time and effort compared to other forms of helping. Coaching is more of handholding the person until he/ she learns new skill or behavior.

 For example, if one of your team members is taking up a new role and he /she requires to develop some business skills and you need to be available for guidance till he/she acquires the ability or developing a set of behaviors. Being with them as a guide either physically or emotionally is the essence of coaching.
To sum up, as a leader, you can help others to grow by teaching your knowledge, sharing your experience, giving feedback and handholding in the journey until they reach the destination.

 In today’s professional environment, people in every level need some sort of handholding in their journey of growth.

The action is that you need to ask yourselves whether you spend quality time to help others to develop in their profession irrespective of the size of people you are handling. This shift is required for you and your team's growth !!!!

Giving Feedback for Development

One of the powerful methods of developing others is qualitatively giving feedback.

What is meant by feedback to others?
Feedback is your opinion or comment about other's positive or limiting behavior in any task or performance.
Why is feedback important for development?
Each one has their strength and limitation which may not be known to self. When it is pointed out time as feedback, it may help others to reinforce the strength or help to give up the behavior in case of limitation by taking improvement action.

How to give feedback to others?
Before giving feedback, understand your intention as this sets your tone and quality of feedback, whether your purpose is to criticize or to help another person to improve his behavior.
One of the effective ways to give feedback is by adopting the following pattern in your communication. 

“ what you notice/observe as good or bad behavior ”  and  “ some reasonings to be good or bad” and " suggestions to improve."  

For example,

you observe some repeated mistakes by your team member while preparing a presentation, and you can point out like this
“I observed repeated formatting issue in your presentation and how this performance will irritate the audience on readability  and how you can improve  by so and so methods." 
or you would like to give positive feedback about your colleague’s presentation, and your feedback  can be like this
"I liked the way you simplified the complex problem into the simple picture, and this helps the audience to connect the concept quickly."
Giving feedback is the art of communication, and this can be improved in multiple ways when your intention of providing feedback to help or develop others.

Methods of Developing Others

As discussed last week, developing others is a prime responsibility of senior people both in professional and personal life.

Development of others is all about SPENDING YOUR QUALITY TIME with others when it is required by others on different occasions to help them to improve their professional competency and to grow in life.

How can you develop others?

There are multiple methods you can develop others. Development efforts can be imparted to others in the following ways.
1.Teaching or Guiding  about the work
2. Giving feedback

1.Teaching or Guiding about the work :
This method is more about transferring your knowledge, experiences, insights about the job when assigning work to your team, or when the team is undergoing challenges during execution.
It is all about teaching, handholding others by being with them before and during execution.
 For example, you may be the expert in “ Product costing, “ and if you are teaching or sharing relevant information, methods of calculating, typical failure modes, your experiences in different costing methods to your team member, then, that is teaching and guiding.
Sharing of knowledge to another requires passion, patience and good communication from your end.
As I observed  a few senior people expecting others to do the job by saying “ what “ and not spending time on “How.“Their thought process is not to get into micromanagement or not to spoil the thinking process of others. We need to understand the difference between guiding and minute level instruction or follow-up.    
 By consciously shifting your effort on imparting your knowledge to others, development starts.

Let us discuss some insights about feedback and coaching next week!

Have a great week till then! 

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Barriers to developing others

In continuation of last week discussion on some of the misconceptions/ barriers  in developing others, remaining are given below
 "I do not have time on development; I have my work."

Most of the managers expressed this as the barrier for developing others. The underlying cause for this expression is how we look at the position. Even after elevating from individual contributor to lead with responsibility for the team, we think of self-contribution only.
 If you start to look at your positional success as 50 % development of others, 50 % of the individual contribution, then your perspective will change about your responsibility towards developing others.
 "Development is HR functional activities."

Some of us have a misconception that the HR function should take care of people development. In my opinion, HR function can only facilitate the environment for development, the immediate supervisors/ managers only can understand his teammates in a better way on the development aspects, and he must be the owner for development.
All other functions play a supporting role only.

“People are not picking up; they are not interested.”

 This expression is also related to the compassion and care a team leader display towards the team. Each people require different methodology of teaching or communication. When the lead does not equip enough to learn the different communication process and eventually lose the patience to develop others.

The point is how you are looking at your job and people makes a difference in your intention to develop others.
Sometimes, an organizational environment is also not conducive for spending time on the development of people.

However, it is a primary responsibility of managers/leaders to develop the team and through them to deliver the result for holistic growth.

The action point is to look at your perspectives about people, your position and development aspects! 

Leading through development -(Misconceptions in developing others)

As we discussed the importance of developing others for both personal and organizational success, some misconceptions and barriers that prevent some people from spending time on developing others. As an exception, some people are very passionate about genuinely developing others. If we bring clarity on the misconceptions and the barriers, that will change the way they look at the development process.

As I came across some of the phrases, people use regarding development, and I consider those statements as misconceptions and barriers. Unless we change those mindsets underlying those statements, externally, we may not spend quality time on development.

“People are educated and experienced enough to do the job; that is why they are hired.”
“ People development has to be done by HR functions.”
“ I do not have time for development; I have my work to do.”
“ People are not picking up; they are not interested.”

Let us discuss each of the statements

“People are educated and experienced enough to do the job; that is why they are hired.”
In today’s given complexity of work, changes in business assumptions, challenges on planning and execution, outgrowing technologies on both personal and business processes, not all the people are equipped to that environment even though qualified. People need guidance, perspectives, motivation, push from the immediate supervisors/managers to unlearn, learn, experiment, experience and deliver the results.

For example, most of the people are aware and qualified in modern problem-solving methodologies, tools, and techniques. Still, the organization suffers from the solutions approach or converging to solutions on implementation. This situation calls for experience, insights on using different methodologies, tools, and techniques. If the team is not helped by seniors to look at the insight of the data and guided to arrive solutions, then, the team is regarded as not equipped enough on problem-solving.

Hence, as an experienced or senior person, your time on development becomes essential even though the team is formally qualified and experienced in a different environment.

Let us discuss other misconceptions next week!

Friday, 29 March 2019

Leading through developing others (Why do we need to develop others?)

In an organizational environment, one of the primary responsibility of a leader is to develop his team members to the next level of competency. The necessity can be looked at both a leader and a team member's perspective.

From a leader's growth perspective:

Assume that you are not developing your team to your competency level, then you are forced to do the routine things you are doing and you will not have time to develop yourself for new learnings. Your growth stagnates there

When you are not preparing the teammates as the successor for your job, while management considers you for elevation or different growth opportunities, they think twice about existing positions as there is no right successor. Management may want to keep you in the same position until they find an alternative. You are losing new opportunities.

From the team members perspective :

 In today’s scenario of learning and opportunities, real talent will find its way for their growth. If you are not taking care of your people development and growth, eventually your smart team member finds his own way to grow either in your existing organization or in the new organization.

Generally, people regard you as a leader only when you help them out to bring out their potential.

You will grow only by helping others to grow.

Hence, in all dimensions, as a leader of your team, you should develop your team.

However, there are some misconceptions and barriers to developing others and let us discuss next week.

Have a great week ahead!

Leading through developing others

Having discussed the three phases of leadership development viz, Leading self, Leading others, Leading through  Result, the final and 4th phase of the leadership development process is “ Developing others.”

What is meant by developing others?  

In a professional setup, developing others means your intention to spend your time and energy to develop others in terms of professional competency enhancement.

The efforts could be on any or all of the following areas.

1.Imparting the knowledge or sharing your experience with your team or next generation
2.Facilitate for skill development or applying the knowledge by your teammate
3.Giving your feedback or coach others to inculcate the right behaviors for growth
4.Being available for mentoring or guiding others by offering your perspectives

Since as a leader, you have grown up in a career ladder through your competency, now it is your turn to lift others to your level of competency. That is the development of others.
As I have observed in most of the organization, people are inclined enough in developing themselves, delivering results as part of leadership development, but not giving equal importance on developing others except a few people who have a genuine interest on others. This scenario is not by intentional, but due to lack of awareness and misconceptions of development.

In some organizations, there are systems and processes of developing others as a necessary process, and there is a governance mechanism to ensure people are spending time on developing others. However, developing others must come within as part of giving to others, and it is a moral responsibility of everyone who has grown up on the professional ladder.

Let us discuss the following aspects  of developing others in the coming week
  1. Why do we need to develop others?
  2. Misconceptions in developing others
  3. Methods of developing others
  4. Insights on giving feedback
  5. When is coaching required?
  6. Need for being a mentor to others
Have a great week till then!

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Leading through Result ( Focus on the process)

As discussed, one of the development steps in leadership development is delivering consistent results. The dilemma most of us have is whether to chase the result or the process. To get clarity, we need to understand the law of nature.

"For any effect/result, there must be a cause/process ;
When there is a change in process, accordingly there will be a change in result".

For example, if you want to make the best presentation to your client( Result), many factors contribute to the result. Your presentation content, your body language, your voice quality, the environment in which you present, your client’s interest and so on. When all the process is good, the result also will be good. You may not have control over the result, but you can influence or ensure the process in all factors as much as possible.

When you focus on the process and drive the process, the result may be in your favor
Highly effective leaders, always focus on minute things and ensure the factors are always in their favor and eventually they achieve the result they want.

You might have seen some people exist successfully many years in their chosen field like media, sports, business amidst all the competition and turbulence times. You can see a typical pattern in their thought process, that is, continuously develop themselves as a process. When they are changing themselves as a process, the result is also sustainable.

    To sum up, if you want a great result, your process also needs to be different and robust. You can not influence the result, but you can influence the process. More your process is consistent the result also will be consistent and higher level.

Leadership is all about delivering result through the process, not through ad-hoc, shortcut, one-time success !.

Leading through Result- (Managing Expectation)

One of the areas, a leader, need to sensitize is on understanding or managing the expectation clearly from others in a professional environment. When the expectation on the result is not clearly understood and clarified, it leads to disconnect and frustration on both giver and receiver.

In one of my client operations, the business head asked his accountant to help him with P&L analysis of the previous year. The accountant worked through the accountancy software and prepared P&L statement data. With a sigh of relief as he delivered the work on time, he explained the business head the hardship he had undergone to make the report. However, the business head was not happy with the output.

What the business head expected from his teammate was that statement with analysis on what needs to be done to improve the P&L as he thought that information was already available in the software system. His expectation was to get “sensitivity analysis”, whereas the accountant felt that taking summary from the system itself was a significant task and he delivered the result on time.

Here is the issue is lack of expectation management.

We may suggest that communication needs to be improved on both ends. In reality, there is an emerging trend in the professional transaction is to give more value added than stated expectation given the technology, information available in the professional environment. The transaction could be between peers, customer and supplier, employee and employer.

Discounting the fact of communication improvement, the question an individual must ask himself is whether he is making an effort to offer an extra bit of value addition. That will be the starting for leadership development towards making an impact on others!!

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Leading through Result ( Developing your Thought leadership)

One of the ways to make an impact in your professional environment is by developing thought leadership.

What is meant by thought leadership?

Thought leadership is that you develop expertise in your core functional area or any subject and people in your network always seek your opinion or ideas or your perspectives when they face any problems in the technical domain or subject.
That is, Thought leader is one who is “sought after expert”  in a given field or functional domain.

For example,
If people in your network or your organization perceive you as an expert in creative problem solver for any business challenges, they will approach you when they face any business struggles. By making yourself as an expert in any given functional domain, you are making an impact on others, or you are delivering results as a leader in a professional environment.

You might have come across some people as an expert in Tooling, Design, Coaching, Negotiation, Investment, analyst, problem solver and so on. 

You can become an expert in your functional area with systematic effort.
How to develop thought leadership in your functional domain?
  1. First, you need to identify your core area or your strength
  2. Polish your knowledge and skill in your core area
  3. Continuously add value to others in your core area, especially in a meeting forum or during the crisis in a professional environment
  4. Over some time, people will identify and associate you with your expertise
Developing thought leadership will pay you in the long run, and the development effort is a continuous effort. You need to invest in you!!!

Monday, 25 February 2019

Leading through Result - Impacting others

Having discussed making an impact at self-level on leading, let us examine, how you can make an impact on others in a day to day life.

The others could be your friends, colleagues, boss, and subordinates in a professional setup. The first impact you can make others is that making yourself approachable when others are reaching out. Approachable means, how you are friendly enough and how you care them through listening. It should not be perceived that you need to be available for others all the time and do serve for other’s need. Even if you are not available to others, how politely you are refusing is also a way to make an impact on others positively.

Similarly, when others are approaching you for a solution to problems, how you are guiding with your thoughts or perspective or directing to right sources makes an impact on others.

The point is how you are conducting yourself through eventually make an impact on them about you. Once you make an impact on others through your positive gesture and thought process, any higher level challenges in the organizations can be resolved with your leadership capability.

To sum up, when you are going up the career ladder, you need to make an impact on others through your ease of approach and friendly. This is something experts refer to as soft skills. Once you impact on soft aspects, you can lead in any hard, technical, business challenges!

Leading through Result -Impacting Self

The first logical step in delivering a result or making an impact as one of the leadership development processes is to create an impact at self-level through our actions.

Making an impact at self-level:

To gain more influence on others or any decisions you take on a professional ground. First, you need to make an impact at your level.

For example, if you are suffering from some unwanted habits, you need to work on yourself to give up the practice. When you achieve through your willpower, you are making an impact at your level, and this impact will reinforce your leadership capability.

Similarly, if you are the person of coming late for any event, first correct yourself and make an impact on yourself. This impact at your level will bring you more confidence to you when you insist discipline on others.

If you afraid of taking a decision even with given data points, make yourself to break the inner fear and experiment to take a decision and face the consequence. By breaking your limitations, you are making an impact at self. 

Likewise, each one of us has many inhibitions, reservations, doubts, inferiority complex, procrastination and when you work on it and overcome those pulling factors, you are making an impact at yourself. Any positive impact being created by you at self-level will give you tremendous power to lead others.

Identify the limitations which are pulling you down, take action and see the result or make self impact!
Let us discuss the ways by which you can make an impact on others in a day to day life in next week!

Leading Through Result

Having discussed some insights on personal leadership and leading others, the next step in the leadership development process is “ delivering results.”

Not only in a professional environment, in any transactions, like in customer-seller, employer-employee, sports, politics, what is being watched out for is Impact or result being delivered consistently.

You could be a person with good value systems, self-organized and good at building an interpersonal relationship with others, yet if you lack delivering impact or result, your growth and leadership development stalled.

You might have observed some people with excellent qualification and attitude, but struggles to go up through career ladder due to lack of delivering expected results or impact in their given role.

When we say result or impact, it could be tangible or intangible. However, people are looking for consistent result or impact from you as a leader in a given role or context.

Some of the areas need to be discussed on making an impact as a leaders

1.Making an impact at self-level and others
2.Thought leadership 
3.Managing expectation on Impact or Result
Let us discuss those areas in next week.

Have a great week till then!

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Leading others-Earning Respect

The fifth factor in strengthening the quality of relationship with others in a professional environment is “earning respect”.

As we come across many personalities in a professional life like customers, colleagues, friends, subordinates, and bosses and do the transaction with them, only with a few people, we have respect and admire them. The respect comes from any one or all of the factors
  • The way they treat or respect others
  • They way they approach the problems
  • They way they teach or guide others
  • Their technical/ functional / leadership capabilities and so on.
Because of the above factors, we have high respect for them, in turn, a good relationship is getting formed. When the quality relationship exists, we are easily influenced by them, and they easily get the things done through us. The foundation for all is they earned our respect through their consistent, positive behavior and actions.

Similarly, when you want to influence others and get the things done, you need to earn respect through your decisive, consistent action which positively impacts them.

Earning respect is a long term process and calls for consistent effort from your end. Once you gain respect from others, your capability to get the things done or leading others also enhances!

Leading Others -Improving Communications 2

In continuation of last week discussion about improving communication in the workplace, there is always challenge in dealing with others on two scenarios
  1. When you express yourself  to others
  2. When you are getting instruction from others
When you express yourself to others – you need to apply purposeful communication practices as we discussed last week.

When you receive information from others also, there is a chance for misinterpretation that leads to a problem. Communication experts are suggesting that when the person is giving instruction, he supposed to ask the recipient to repeat what he said and get confirmed. However, in my opinion, it is the choice of the giver, and we cannot expect or influence others. What is possible at your level is that you can rephrase the statement to the giver and get confirmed about your interpretation quality.

For example, when your colleague is asking for some details about the something, say sales data, you can check with him by rephrasing his statement like sales details of the x year and prompt when he wants, the format he wants and so on. Checking back by rephrasing and prompting may likely prevent communication problem at a later stage. Also, this practice will enhance your alertness and proactiveness in the workplace.

Even though ensuring effective communication is two-way responsibility, your extra effort to explain to others in detail and your proactiveness in confirming with others is always under your control, and it will likely improve your communications skill and in turn, your capability to lead others!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Leading others (Improving Communication)

The Fourth factor in strengthening the quality of relationship in a workplace is improving your communication skill.

Improving communication is not about language proficiency, it is all about the clarity of thought and quality of your expression to others to get things done.

Most of the problems in the workplace are due to lack of proper communication between you and others on a two-way basis.
Dealing with communication challenges between you and others:

     In the workplace, most of us are struggling to meet the expectation of others or others are not up to our expectation. One of the reasons could be due to our inability to express our requirement very clearly to others. Expressing our requirements is the art of communication and developing this skill is a lifelong effort as we need to deal with different people, with a different situation, and also we are at a different level of maturity.

      One technique that you can use in a professional environment to get the things done is practicing purposeful communication. It is all about communicating with others by explaining your purpose of the requirement rather than merely saying what do you want.

For example, when you ask for any details from your team, you can go one step further by explaining why you need the details, when exactly you need, how this details would be useful. When you use this technique, there is a high probability that you are getting things done, and your relationship with others also improves.

By nature, the human mind looks for reasoning, when you satisfy it, listening improves and in turn commitment also improves. Also when you take a stretch to explain the requirement with details, you are conveying your respect to others, and you will get it in reciprocation.

Just experiment when you are communicating with others to get things done!

Let us discuss some more communication improvement techniques next week!

Leading others(Enhancing your tolerance)

The third factor in strengthening the quality of relationship in a workplace is enhancing your tolerance.
Tolerance is an attitude towards others whose behavior, opinion, expressions are entirely different from you.

Regarding people, first, you need to admit the fact that people are emerging from different experiences, qualification, aspirations and sometimes that may not be matching with your expectation. When you do not accept the diverse values, opinions, expression of others, internally you lose your cool and externally you behave rudely. Hence the first step in enhancing tolerance is to accept diversity and reality. 

When you accept the reality, then try to understand others by their background and from their perspective. Accordingly, you can modify your response.

For example, you expect your team member to take decisions independently to finish the work at a faster rate. However, in reality, your team member awaits your approval for every small decision, and you may get irritated. When you try to understand your team member's background, you might have realized that he/ she had grown in a conditioned environment and low self-esteem made them get permission from you for every decision. When you understand the background or their perspective, you would be in a position to empower them to take decisions on their own or allow them to experiment to boost confidence level.

Here the key is your acceptance of other's diversity, behavior, understanding background and helping to improve makes a difference in your leadership skill on others.

The point is the world is a mix of diverse population and what you can do through your response will enhance your leadership than reacting to all diverse situation only spoil you and your relationship with others.

However, it does not mean that we are advocating mediocre performance in the workplace. The context needs to be understood in a right perspective!