Now is a key moment, when many leaders are facing the biggest leadership challenge of their careers. Many middle managers and team leaders won’t have experienced the challenges of leading through the most recent economic crises or workplace transformations of the late 20th century. This year, business has not been usual and it’s demanded an extraordinary response.
Many leaders will have been flexing seldom exercised leadership muscles. This will have been the experience of line supervisors, team leaders, and managers all the way up to the top. Difficult messages will have been communicated. New working practices implemented in record time, and anxious minds settled (as far as possible). If managers haven’t felt that extra stretch, then one might have to wonder where they’ve been. These challenges will have motivated leaders to take action and step up to the challenge to become fit and ready to lead with confidence.
From experience leading development programmes from senior executives to seasoned middle managers and operational shop floor supervisors, catching people at that point when they are becoming aware of the positive impact that they can have on their teams is perfect. At this point, their curiosity for how far they can take this incredible effect to improve engagement and team morale is piqued. They are on high alert to learn more to maximise that potential. My challenge to managers has always been to catch people at doing something good in order to motivate them to keep improving. That’s a far more motivational starting point than a remedial feedback conversation. It’s the challenge I lay down now to everyone involved in developing leaders and engaging team members in organisations. That’s most of us.
Top tips for this are: be observant of what has gone well for your managers. Name it, recognise it and reward it. Then rather than suggesting someone is the finished article in this management competency, promote the idea that they can use this to an even greater advantage. Highlight that they have shown potential to deliver even more excellent results.
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Claire Gearon, Head of Programmes at The TCM Group