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Developing Effective Managers and Potential Leaders (Part 2)

Empowering your drycleaning staff to be their most effective

CHICAGO — For companies who want to retain their employees, which is becoming more difficult to do in a challenging labor market, they must allow their team members to feel like they are learning, progressing and growing.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently held a webinar on the topic of methods companies can use to build up leadership skills in their employees. The discussion, “Two Paths: Developing Effective Managers and Potential Leaders,” was conducted by Sharlyn Lauby, president of ITM Group, a training and human resources consulting firm that focuses on helping companies retain and engage talent, and the author of the HR Bartender newsletter.

In Part 1 of this series, we defined the differences between management and leadership, and why they’re both important, along with the seven types of power that come with leadership. Today, we’ll explore how companies can build leadership training into the employee experience. 

Everyone Is (or Can Be) a Leader

“I saw an article recently on LinkedIn learning website saying that organizations with strong leadership programs outperform their competition by over nine times,” Lauby says. “And employees that are a part of a leadership development program are seven times more likely to stay. So, when an organization does make that investment in leadership training, there are benefits to both the bottom line as well as employee retention.”

Lauby believes in thinking about leadership training in the context of the entire employee experience. 

“If you don’t currently offer a new hire buddy program, this could be a great opportunity to start developing connection power as part of the onboarding process,” she says. “New hire buddy programs give new hires the ability to meet people. Often, the responsibility of a buddy is to introduce the new hire to different people around the organization and start to create connections. So, think about it in your onboarding programs. Are there opportunities to develop more connection power?”

While taking the employee’s aptitudes, interest and desires into account, companies should also think about what they need from the employee to build for the future. 

“From a knowledge, skills and ability standpoint, think about that expert power that you want to develop within the organization,” she says. “Skills-based hiring and skills-based training is an opportunity to develop that expert power.”

“When we’re thinking about developing skills within the organization, a couple of other areas come to mind,” Lauby says. “With problem-solving, a lot of times employees might identify something — let’s put them in a position where they can do a little problem solving, and maybe even suggest back to the organization some solutions. Organizations have things that they’re trying to solve all the time. Some of them are little, and some of them are big, but problem-solving is an opportunity to create informational power.”

Conflict management is also a valuable area for training.

“We are going to run into situations all the time where we disagree with someone,” Lauby says. “That doesn’t mean that we don’t respect each other and that we can’t work through that disagreement. But conflict management training can be a great opportunity to develop that referent power.”

Learning Throughout the Employee Experience

While starting to build leadership skills can happen in the onboarding process, effective companies can develop their team members’ skills at any point during their employment, and Lauby believes they should.

“We can have learning take place in one-on-one meetings between managers and employees,” she says, “we can enhance her on-the-job training programs, and we can also look at things like coaching and mentoring.”

Coaching and mentoring programs are especially helpful in building leadership skills, Lauby says, because they offer employees an opportunity to work through some challenges on their own. 

“I like to think of coaching from the standpoint of coaches helping employees get to their own conclusions,” she says, “and mentoring programs can be really great if you’re trying to offer some guidance or some suggestions to someone.”

These programs are particularly useful, Lauby says, in the cases of internal transfers or internal promotions.

“You have someone who was working as part of the team, and now all of a sudden they’re leading the team,” she says. “A mentoring relationship can be a great place to have that conversation— to be in a position where they can work through that transition with someone.”

Come back Tuesday for the conclusion of this series, where we’ll examine the role of training in the development of your staff. For Part 1 of this series, click HERE.

Developing Effective Managers and Potential Leaders

(Image licensed by Ingram Image)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].