One of the great things about being a manager, not just a sales manager which I always write about in this forum, but any manager, is the opportunity to mentor, challenge, educate, lead and most importantly inspire the members of your team to do things they did not think they could do, and help them achieve a level of accomplishment they did not realize they could.
As a manager or leader, you should always be evaluating the members of your team to find their talents both hidden and overt. Watch them and study them to see what they are good at, what inspires them and what makes their hearts sing.
And once you discover those special passions in each of them, start helping them to find a way to use those passions to enhance your department, your company and of course themselves as well.
One member might be a great writer, and another fantastic at social media. You might have a team member who is great with numbers, another might be a great organizer and yet another might be a great speaker…a great communicator.
One thing you can be sure of, and I can guarantee this, is that each and every member of your team is good at something, each of them has a special talent. And yes, if you have done your hiring properly as every great leader should, each one of them is in some way smarter than you are!
So, step one is to find their particular gifts and talents. The best way to do this is to talk to each of them. Remember your job and your responsibility as a leader is to bring out the best in your people. To encourage them to take their skills and talents to the next level. Learn everything you can about the people in your charge. You are in the position of being the steward of their talents and hence their career. They will of course pass on to the next step on their career path, but it is up to you to make sure that you make a significant impact on their career and their lives while they are under your wing. So, spend time with each of them, quality time to find out not only what they do in your own department but what they do on their own time. Probably the most important facet of a discussion to get to know them better is to find out what they like to do when they are not at work.
And now, armed with that knowledge, start to delegate. If a person is good at writing and creating, delegate him to writing and creating your sales literature, to working on your web site, to working on your marketing.
If another has a large social media presence, ask her to handle your company’s social media.
If another is very organized, ask her to develop a project tracking system for your department.
If another is great at strategy, ask him to work on your company’s strategic marketing plan.
This will not only encourage your team members to do what they are good at, one of the most valuable by-products is that it will allow you to do other things, kind of a “twofer” if you will. And in the end, it is the absolute right way to manage and lead people.
Once you have set up these assignments, stick to them. Trust your team members to do it on their own with full responsibility. Sure, you can coach, guide, encourage and inspire them along the way but let them take the lead, and let them stumble as well. Making mistakes is a valuable part of the learning process. Especially when one is taking on something they have not done before.
And always be watching and evaluating as they take on these new assignments you have given them. Check their progress to make sure you were correct in assigning them tasks that do make their heart sing.
Once in a while someone given the opportunity to do something they thought they would like to do, realizes that in the end it wasn’t for them… that’s okay, that discovery is also valuable.
Now with the people who do start to thrive with the assignments you have given them, the ones who not only succeed but are honestly discovering their true calling, start encouraging them to go to the next level. Actually help them to find their next level…elevate them to that next level.
Sponsor them to positions of leadership in either your jurisdiction or in other parts of the company. You have already helped them to become proficient enough to be valuable to the company and now sponsor them and recommend for higher positions in the company.
If you do this, if you seriously commit yourself to delegating and elevating your team members, you will not only improve your own department, and your company but you will also make a very powerful impact on your people’s careers and lives, and that is what being a great leader is all about. It’s only common sense.