Anyone can be a manager. To get a job as one, you don’t have to have a degree or experience in management and you don’t even have to have a particular interest in developing people. That’s why there are so many managers out there struggling, and so many people above and below them who are frustrated.
When I coach managers into developing as true people leaders, it is tied to this wise perspective:
“All (of us) are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Two years ago, I was a member of the executive team of a global nonprofit’s marketing division. As part of my professional development for the year, I sought certification as an executive coach in neurolinguistics. I believed it would help me guide my 15-person team during a time when demands from our growing global programs were dramatically increasing, and many team members were brand new to the organization. I was spending about 40% of my time at work on advising or “people managing” team members. Since HR resources are often stretched thin inside workplaces, I believed that I, as a manager, was in the best position to mentor my team members to career growth.
After completing the first level of the coaching certification, I realized that what team members needed was not my advice, but to each be empowered on their own to problem solve, set achievable outcomes, communicate with clarity, and to model other’s examples of excellence to speed up their own results. I now see that people already have what they need to achieve their goals; some just need a guide to help them learn what’s holding them back and encourage them to be persistent through the process of change.
Through the coaching training, I also gained skills that have moved me forward as an effective communicator faster than 10 years of experience ever could. I’m now teaching that to others whether it’s how to have rapport with anyone, facilitate productive dialogues, give feedback in a way that motivates others, get rid of limiting beliefs that slow people down, or how to set goals that they’re guaranteed to achieve (with commitment and a confident mindset, of course!). All of these skills help people develop their own leadership, and most importantly, to be a model for the future leaders who surround them.
Every workplaces’ success depends on the performance of its people. There’s no substitute for human performance, so the key is to figure out what more should we be doing to change our focus from one of people management to people development. Everyone, and the organization, wins when we do that.