Most people require ongoing development and training in order for them to reach their full potential and deliver exceptional results.
Getting the most from your customer service team members or other employees doesn’t always just happen naturally. As a manager or leader in any organization, part of your effectiveness will be determined by your ability to helping employees unlock the full potential of their talents and abilities.
Here is a quick digest of how to develop your own leadership and career development form. The development form, is best utilized if it is kept as a 1-2 page document. The shorter the better since the key is to identify the core items and list the things that will be done.
There is no need for rating scales as they are wasteful and inaccurate at giving solid, specific feedback on the various aspects discussed in the development form.
Section 1: Address Current Position / List Responsibilities & Areas of Focus
It’s always useful to have individuals list out their current responsibilities in order to help them retain in the minds the area of focus that they should have as part of their assignment. The great management training book, “First, Break All of the Rules”, has a set of 12 questions for the development of great, engaged, successful employees.
The first question is: Do I know what is expected of me at work? I try to always remind individuals I work with to understand the scope and responsibility of their current postion within the team. It’s fundamental to having team members who excel in their performance and it’s also a key aspect in a professional development plan. You can’t succeed if you don’t know what you need to be doing; nor can you if you don’t know what you want to do.
Section 2: List Performance Strengths & Recent, Major Accomplishments
I think it’s human nature to focus on the negative in the way we do things. In self-reflection we tend to focus on the bad, and too often management is more reacting to negative things that go on and not enough encouragement of the good that takes place.
In order for there to be any fuel to prolonged development plan, it’s necessary that the individual be reminded of what they’re doing well, what they’ve succeeded in, and major tasks, accomplishments, and contributions that have been made.
This is also useful to help determine which team members, overall, are contributing more to the team and to the assignment projects and tasks of the organization. This can be utilized in compensation reviews as performance raises and bonuses are evaluated.
Section 3: List Areas in Need of Development / Areas of Recent Struggles
The development area is best worked out by both the individual team member as well as the manager. The team members generally knows areas in which they feel inadequate or in which they are lacking. They also are the ones who can best tell which aspects of their assignment feel the most uncomfortable or with which they struggle the most (or what slows them down most of the time).
The manager should also have an unbiased outlook as the review of work that has taken place is done and can objectively give feedback on the work done by the individual. This sometimes will coincide with the comments from the employee, however, at times, a manager may point out an area in need of focus that the employee may not notice.
Section 4: Define Development Plans, Projects, Assignments, Trainings
In this section the individual can list how they would like to address the areas in need of development focus or areas in which they may be struggling. The manager also can list specific tasks, assignments or trainings for the individual to complete. The effective manager is one who thoroughly understands the various aspects of the duties and responsibilities of individual employees.
Even though the manager may, at times, not be an expert in some of the duties individual employees have to perform, being an effective manager means being well-versed enough to understand some of the basics and be able to expertly evaluate available resources and efficiently work with employees to connect those with need with the resources available to help them overcome the deficiency.
These four areas of the development form are a basic setup for a development plan for individuals within effective organizations. The specific areas may and should be modified to ensure that the necessary areas of need for developing individuals within the organization are being met. Additional areas can also be added on a case-by-case basis, with the reminder that for this form to be effective it, individuals should be able to fill it out relatively quickly as to not consume a long period of time or turn it into a major project to be completed.