Leaders- Don’t Be the Snag in Your Teams

 

Early in my career, I worked on a team where my manager was obviously clueless about an aspect of the work our team was responsible for. New to the professional world, I thought it was just me. I quickly realized that was not the case after hearing most of the seasoned team members express their frustrations during the meetings after the meeting. I remember feeling lost and thinking I would never advance in the company because my leader was not capable of leading us.  In hindsight, I realize that that leader could not give what they didn’t have. I also realized there’s more to a leader than the title. Leadership is a gift. When you can directly lead others, you are creating your legacy. Everyone you lead will think back to their experiences with you, good or bad, and draw from them. Therefore, a leader’s greatest asset is a continuous development plan. 

Many organizations have robust learning and development strategies as part of the talent management goal of recruiting, developing and retaining top talent. However, most learnings happen in the day to day interactions and experiences.  For those who are new to the professional environment, as well as more seasoned employees, having a leader who is self-aware and vested in their personal continuous development, regardless of title or tenure, is a win for everyone involved. Leaders who take time to invest in themselves set a standard for those around them.  It demonstrates a desire for continual growth as well as traits of authenticity and humbleness. These leaders serve as positive role models for their teams, especially those desiring to take on leadership roles in the future. Leaders who are equipped with a range of skills are aligned to quickly pivot in the face of change as well as increasing team productivity. An example of this is how leaders have responded to all the change we have and continue to encounter almost daily.  Those who did not bury their heads in the sand but made learning and understanding a priority demonstrated to their teams a commitment to personal success as well as the teams’ success.

Leaders who focus on a well-rounded development plan throughout their career are more emotionally connected, continue to drive performance over longer periods of time and decrease leadership gaps. There are three areas where leaders should focus their development- personal, professional and operational.

Personal Development Plan- Focuses on boosting emotional, physical and even spiritual health.  This can be achieved through reading, listening to podcasts, making lifestyle changes regarding diet and exercise and meditating. Even spending more time with those you care about can aid with this goal.  

Professional Development Plan- Aimed at reinforcing business acumen in areas of specific interest. This includes topics like time management, Emotional Intelligence and Empathy training, coaching and mentoring, or the art of creating engaging presentations.

Operational Development Plan- This plan aids with developing skills that help you advance in or stay abreast of industry trends in your line of work. Continuous focus on expanding your knowledge and skills in the area directly aligned with your organizational responsibilities can save the business time and money. It also allows leaders to remain competitive, while reducing gaps in leadership knowledge. 

Whether you are the CEO or middle level manager, do not be the snag in the team. Leading a team does not allow room for complacency or outdated methods.  Effective leaders set good examples by investing in their personal development, providing resources, following up on team members’ progress and displaying commitment to the process. Having a team where everyone is focused on continuous growth lends itself to innovation, out of the box thinking and cutting-edge business solutions.

 

Takiyah Cunningham, M.S. HRD

https://www.linkedin.com/in/takiyah-cunningham/

Topic: Precedence vs. Policy: which one is driving your organization?

 

Your company policy states that when an employee is on short term disability they will not be expected to work and in order to ensure that they focus on their personal health their work email will be disengaged until they return to work. After a bad performance review, employee X complains about how unfairly they are being treated, especially since they were forced to work while out on leave. From your investigation you discover a copy of an email trail that clearly reflects that the manager had been communicating with this employee while they were on leave. When you confront the manager their response is that “the work needed to get done and the employee was willing." Upon further investigation you discover that other managers have also been communicating with and having employees work while out on short term disability.

Can you rectify this situation and get your organization on track?

 

The answer to the question is YES you can! Several things need to happen quickly in order to restore organizational balance within your organization.

 

Education & Training

Educate the current manager on the long term effects of operating outside of company policy. While on leave, if the employee gets injured while performing work for the company, it may become a worker's compensation issue. It also could become a violation of FMLA as well as a possible workplace bullying issue (if the employee can produce enough evidence to prove they felt bullied into doing the work). Review the performance review with the manager and determine if some areas need to be revisited. A performance issue may truly exist and the manager may need help in properly addressing it outside of the review process.

 

Train all managers on the legal implications of violating company policies and setting precedence. Many managers are unaware that they can be personally sued for their actions and they may/may not be covered by the organization.

 

Follow up with the employee

Oftentimes once an issue is brought up or a complaint is filed, there is little to no follow-up with the employee. In order to restore harmony and build trust, communication is key. Depending on the circumstance, HR professionals may find themselves in the role of mediating or facilitating conversations with the affected parties. Ensure that all parties are given proper voice space, courtesy, and respect throughout the process. Managers need to feel that they can continue to lead their departments and employees need to feel that they are valued and respected. Both parties need to feel that they are being heard and treated fairly throughout the process.

 

Human Resource and Organizational Development professionals play a significant role in building and maintaining a work environment that is built on trust and respect. Through proper coaching, education and training of all staff it will become easier to build a cohesive team across the entire organization.

 

If you have any questions or need more information on this topic, please complete our Contact Form, or contact Tina Macon by telephone at 513-289-5073.

 

Tina R. Macon, President/Senior Consultant
AllMac & Associates

"Connecting People, Processes, and Productivity"

  

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