What Support Can You Provide?Sep 13, 2023
If we really are tuned into what our team members are looking for from us as their leaders, we need to be intentional about providing them with the support they’ll need to accomplish their goals. Some of those goals tie right back to daily, weekly, or monthly productivity but those goals could just as easily be measured by where they want their careers to go. In either case, the support we provide them (or lack thereof) is often the difference between success and failure!
An article from Forbes.com called 10 Ways Managers Can Support Employee Career Growth shared this emphasizing the importance a leader plays in their team members’ success, and how their individual success can impact the entire company:
Suppose managers neglect to have important conversations with their employees about their career goals. In that case, they could risk having their most talented workers feel like they aren’t appreciated, hurting morale and productivity. Showing employees that they have the support of both the company and the manager in their career advancement can lead to better retention and company growth overall.
In a Harvard Business Review article called Making Sure Your Employees Succeed, the author quoted Linda Hill, professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, as saying that “A manager’s job is to provide ‘supportive autonomy’ that’s appropriate to the person’s level of capability.” The article went on to emphasize that “the key is to be hands-on while giving your people the room they need to succeed on their own.”
In an article from the Society for Human Resource Management called 6 Ways Managers Can Help Employees Achieve Their Performance Goals, the author points to the importance of ongoing communication with employees rather than just the traditional review process once or twice each year, quoting DJ Casto as saying that “People typically shut down once they hear what their rating is, especially if they didn’t get the highest rating.”
Each of those articles had direct ties to formal performance evaluations and long term career development, both of which are critical in how we support our team members - as we discussed when we looked at how poor promotions and unclear expectations each kill profitability. For our purposes here, I want you to consider it from a deeper perspective… I want you to consider how much it means to each individual we lead when they know we’ve got their back in every aspect of their role; how we’re there for them when they make a mistake, how we notice when something’s bothering them, and how we’re willing to help them growth in whatever direction they want their career to take.
If we can provide this kind of support, we’ll be well on our way to proving that our intentions are pure and unpersuaded, and that will earn a level of trust that can’t be found through annual reviews alone. But as Myles Kennedy said, “a promise is never enough!”
I realize all this seems like a lot… And it is! Something I’ve heard far too many business owners, executives, and managers comment on is how needy their people can be, often referring to them as high maintenance when they need more guidance or direction than was provided in the proverbial memo… Before we risk taking that same approach, I believe it will serve us well to think about what kind of support we’ve each received from a great leader at some point in our own career - so that’s where we’ll pick up next time!