Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go
It only happens every few years. I’m talking about leadership books that come out that I like so much that I read it with a highlighter. I use them in staff development and lend them out to others who want to improve themselves and/or their staff.
Now – I’ve had the great privilege of reading Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want, by Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni, and can now add it to my list.
Help Them Grow is the type of book that makes you think, “Hmm, why haven’t I been doing that?” It’s a straightforward roadmap on how to help your staff develop without you having to take control of the reins. Let your employees grab hold of those reins and become responsible for their own growth. Wow . . . what a concept, right? Can you see your time being freed up already?
Kaye and Giulioni say that “your role is more about prompting, guiding, reflecting, exploring ideas, activating enthusiasm, and driving action”. This book shows you ways to incorporate these career conversations in your everyday work life.
Notice that last sentence that says “everyday”. Leaders don’t have time to hold extended annual appraisals that package up everything from the entire previous year – and shouldn’t. You’re already having everyday conversations with your employees (hopefully), so just change the tone a bit. You don’t need a bunch of checklists and forms. Conversations and asking questions are the keys to development.
Kaye and Giulioni bring some interesting tools for your leadership tool box, such as the three TYPES of conversations – hindsight, foresight, and insight.
Hindsight conversations explore backward and inward. They help people see “who they are, where they’ve been, what they love, and where they excel”. This, to me, is one of the most important types of conversations. Here, they can see just what it was that advanced them to this point.
Foresight conversations keep people looking forward and outward. The picture is always changing and people have to keep sight of that. This, to me, is one of the most important types of conversations. You just can’t lose sight of what is to be, or should be.
Insight conversations are for things that come about from the union of hindsight and foresight. How do their strengths fit into the organization and what opportunities are there? This, to me, is one of the most important types of . . . alright, they’re all important. Insight shows what experiences and opportunities the person should be gaining.
Conversations with employees are, hands down, one of the most important things a leader should be doing to grow their employees and future leaders. But what are the biggest reasons we hear for not doing it? “I don’t have time.” “It takes too long.” But fact of the matter is most leaders just don’t know how to ask questions and converse, in a meaningful way, with their employees. Well you have no excuse now. Following the roadmap and resources that Kaye and Giulioni lay out for you, takes care of those issues. If you think this book is going to be full of tech talk and theories, guess again. You can sit down with it and start planning your success right from the beginning.
This book gives you actionable steps to “focusing on what the employee needs to experience, know, learn, and be able to do”. Too often, leaders think they have to have all the answers (and they avoid the topic if they don’t), when what they actually need most are the questions, permitting the employee to be a first hand participant in their own successful development.
Leaders cannot afford to keep conversations on the back burner. Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go just makes too much sense to leave it on the shelf.
This great article is one in a huge series which tackles the 6 Biggest Challenges Leaders face according to theCentre For Creative Leaderships Report published 2013 Don’t Miss Out! Sign up here to be notified of our subsequent issues and posts