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Developing Staff

Developing Staff

Author: James Howard

This lesson is an overview of the best practices for developing direct reports.

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Video Transcription

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Hello and welcome to this tutorial on developing staff. Now, as always with these tutorials, please feel free to fast forward, pause, or rewind as many times as you need to get the most out of the time that you're going to spend here. Now, let me ask you a couple of questions right off the bat. What do you think it takes to be successful? And how many of us really get there by ourselves?

This is a man named Babe Ruth. Now, Babe Ruth was a baseball player in the 1920s and '30s. And he was the home run king. Yankee Stadium is often referred to as the house that the Babe built, and it's because of this man right here. Now, Babe Ruth wasn't born hitting the baseball and getting home runs. He had some help along the way.

One of the people that helped him along the way was a man named Martin Boutilier. He was also known as Brother Matthias. And he was a priest at the reform school that Babe was attending when he was a youngster and quite a handful, apparently. For Brother Matthias coached him and focused his life so that he could become this successful person that he turned out to be later in life.

So my question to you, really, is as a manager, what is it that you can do in order to bring your people along and help them be the best that they can be? Well, what we're going to be talking about in this lesson is going to be developing those direct reports-- those people that you have reporting directly to you. We're also going to be taking a look at some best practices that managers can take. Now, there are no key terms for this lesson. So let's go ahead and get started with developing direct reports.

Now, managers play an absolutely critical role in developing their staff. During my time in the military, one of my big-- well, actually one of my biggest-- challenge, and one of my biggest jobs, was to make sure that people who reported directly to me could replace me, they could do my job. And that required me to develop them in such a way that they would be better at what they did. I did the same thing as a field training officer on an ambulance, where I would take brand new paramedics and make sure that they could adequately and successfully do their jobs to the best of their ability and that at one time they could take my place.

Now, some best practices that we want to look for when we're developing staff are things like, well, providing challenging goals and tasks. A good manager is going to make sure their direct reports have goals that are not only just things that had to do with the business, but they're also challenging and rewarding, as well.

We also want to make sure that we hold development discussions with them often. We want to make sure that they understand where they are and where they need to be, and also some pointers and tips on how they can get there-- some things that they can work on to help them along that development path.

Next, a manager, a good manager, is going to be conscious and mindful of that direct report's career goals. The last thing you want to do is get in the way of someone developing. You want to find out where they want to be. What's their five year plan, if you will? And you want to make sure that you're doing everything you can to get them there. That's going to make them a better employee. It's also going to make them work harder and it's going to be better for your relationship with the direct report, also.

Some other best practices we want to look at are we want to make sure we're constructing compelling development plans. We also want to make sure that we and our direct reports are following through on these development plans. It doesn't do any good to have a development plan if you're not acting on it and using it to actually get better.

We want to make sure we're getting our direct reports to accept developmental moves. Like I said before, we don't want to keep them in one space. Even if they're the best employee we've ever had, we want to make sure that their goals are getting taken care of. So if a move comes up that allows them to further that career goal, we want to make sure that we can help to push them along to make sure they're getting the most out of their career and not stagnating in one spot.

Lastly, we want to make sure that we're developing our people skills. Not just our people skills, but we want to make sure we're looking at direct reports also, and making sure that those folks are developing their people skills, too. Part of being a manager, and bringing these direct reports along, and developing our staff, is making sure that they can one day take our place if we need them to. So we want to make sure that we're giving them the best opportunity we can. And developing these people skills-- because managers deal with people-- is going to help them quite a bit along the way.

And it's all about making sure that that direct report gets a good shot, and a good turn, up the career ladder. So what have we talked about today? Will, we looked at developing direct reports and how a manager plays an absolutely critical role in that task. And we also took a look at some best management practices that managers can take.

I want to thank you, as always, for spending some time with me today. And you folks have a good day.