We just finished our annual Leadership Talent Reviews. If you’re not familiar with the idea, it’s a very straightforward concept. The process involves a systematic review of all leaders in an organization.
Leadership Talent Reviews are not a new idea. Most organizations do this in one form or another. If yours doesn’t, perhaps you should start. Here are a few of the many benefits we’ve experienced:
We calibrate on what’s expected of our leaders. We use the SERVE model as our baseline for conversation and comparison.
We calibrate on performance expectations. We talk about actual results – if there are performance issues, this is the forum for discussing them as a leadership team.
We also challenge each other. Sometimes, the leader doing the evaluation is biased. When you have to defend your rating of another leader, this brings a level of accountability and reality to the process.
We check our leadership pipeline. To accomplish this, we include a category for Emerging Leaders. These are women and men who don’t currently lead people – but could at some point in the future.
We talk about how to help individual leaders grow. This is one of the most valuable parts of the entire process. Anyone can be a commentator – far fewer excel at coaching leaders. If this is not the way you think naturally, after you’ve evaluated a leader, ask the question: How can we help this leader grow? Here are few tips…
- Test for readiness. If you’re trying to change behavior, be sure the leader in question wants to change. If he or she doesn’t want to improve, don’t waste your time.
- Attack critical gaps. When attempting to help a leader grow, I recommend starting with the big issues. What is it this leader must change if he or she wants to grow their leadership capacity? Start there.
- Be specific. Avoid broad-brush generalities. Be as pinpointed and as behavioral as possible. If you’re coaching a leader who talks too much, there may be self-awareness issues. However, the behavior you need to address is, “Don’t talk so much!”
- Provide recommendations. If you want to coach well, move beyond observations to recommendations. Think about a great sports coach – he doesn’t just share observations with an athlete, he offers recommendations for improvement.
- Provide resources. Some development activities are free. “Don’t talk so much” doesn’t cost anything. However, others may require a financial investment. Don’t be surprised when you have to pay for development.
- Provide encouragement. To grow is harder than many people realize. Often, it involves personal change. For me, that’s the hardest change of all. And, with change often comes pain. Look for opportunities to encourage leaders who are investing their best effort to improve.
- Provide accountability. For the leaders we’re attempting to help, you’ll want to decide the level of accountability needed on an individual basis. For me and you, our accountability will come in the next Leadership Talent Review.
Of all the activities leaders engage in, none has more lasting impact than developing the next generation of leaders. Whatever your process, be sure you’re investing enough time, energy and resources in your leaders to create a legacy you’ll be proud of.[GLS_Shield]