Clear the Fog of Career Growth…2

People-development converts payroll costs to asset-investment

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Post 2: Frank set his breakfast on the table next to Alvin and got out paper to take notes. He had asked Alvin to give him some pointers on how to facilitate a career-planning conversation with his employee.  He wanted to take advantage of the few minutes before their leadership meeting started.

“Frank, it’s not really a tough conversation to lead. It mostly involves getting her to ask herself questions she needs to answer for herself. I typed up these four questions for you. You might start with just a couple in this first conversation. You might even already have suspicions about some of the answers, but don’t assume she will have the same answers as you have. And you might have to rephrase them so they don’t overwhelm her if she isn’t thinking about these topics right now.”  He put the page on the table:

What do they want to do?

What do they believe they can do?

How do others see them? How do they want others to see them?

What do others expect of them? What will others expect of them if they get where they want?

“Thanks, these are great! I know she is thinking about a few of these. But I can seed these into the conversation and even have her take some of these away and think about them for the next time we talk.” Frank started to visualize how he could use questions like these to discover what his employee needed to learn to do her current job better.

“So as leaders, we are not going to travel this road with our employees, we are just guiding as they decide where to go on their journey.” Alvin wanted to make sure Frank saw his role as more of a facilitator than a coach. “We are in a good place to help them understand what others will expect of them along the way, and sometimes we can help them see the perspectives that are critical for them to create for their personal brands. But really the path they take is up to them.
“We can be most effective when we help them identify ways to develop skills they will need in the future and now. If you are sure your employee wants to be a business leader, you may want to ask yourself what kind of peer-leader she is now.”

“That is exactly what I was thinking!” Frank said excitedly. “She has a couple of habits that I’ve seen push people away instead of encourage them to accept her help. They don’t interfere with her current job, but her work could be more effective if she adjusted these habits.
“Instead of addressing this behavior if it ever does mess up her work, I could share my observation now as feedback that she may want to be aware of and adjust while she prepares NOW for a future leadership position. Is that the idea?”

“Yes!” Alvin grinned, “It’s much easier to give feedback when it is optional for the person to use it. And you’ve already brought it to her in a non-threatening way, so she knows your motive and that you want to help her. You can build on it later by giving her situations where it could be critical in future positions or by giving her feedback when you see it again and adding suggestions for optional responses.”

“This is so much more productive than what I had in mind when I was told to have a career-planning conversation! It’s like a mini-coaching without having to worry about moving the metrics!” Frank whispered as the leader of their off-site meeting announced it was about time to start.

Alvin nodded, “Let me know how it goes.”

Reality: Ensure you know why facilitating career-development conversations with employees can help your business. Ensuring you also make the conversation beneficial for the employee increases the impact to both their job satisfaction and their contribution to your business. This is not as difficult as we often make it.

FOLLOW US & don’t miss the next PEPPERBOX blog:  See how Frank’s career-planning conversation go! What if your employee doesn’t really want a “career”?

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