From HR and Marketing through to Sales and Accounting, the role of a function manager is an extremely challenging one and, whilst those managers can be highly skilled and experienced, research suggests that they often feel under-prepared and/or overwhelmed in regard to addressing their team’s capability development needs.
Here’s a few simple strategies for helping them identify and address their team members’ capability needs and, as a result, decrease workplace stress, anxiety and dis-engagement and increase positivity, performance and productivity :
- Get them to take a look to the future. Taking the company’s key talent, structural design and culture into account, what capabilities are needed now and in the future? Assist your function heads to evaluate their team’s strengths and gaps and work with them on a plan to address the gaps.
- Create focus with a ‘less is more’ approach. Leaders often have so much on their plate they can’t see the wood for the trees. Get them to figure out two or three things that will have a big impact on their team and get them to focus on those things.
- Develop ‘in the moment’ coaching/mentoring. Managers and staff often get bogged down with periodical (and often ineffective) performance reviews, so encourage them to provide an approach of offering super-simple, regular, bite-sized, on-the-spot feedback/advice instead (or as well).
- Review the reward systems. Do the function managers’ reward systems line up with their (and the organisation’s) desired culture and strategy? It’s common to find that short-term individual results are rewarded over larger strategic priorities. If this is the case, help the function head align their reward systems to both short and long-term results.
- Get them a buddy. Leverage the knowledge and experience of your senior leaders by pairing them with your function leads for coaching and mentoring.
- Establish feedback methods. The more senior a leader is, the less they are likely to get honest feedback. Help them to develop systems for gaining, providing and responding to feedback.
- Get the SLT involved. Ok, admittedly, this is not always ‘super-simple’ to do, but if you can get C-Suite to work with you to develop an overall leadership plan that aligns to the organisational strategy you’ll find that it makes a HUGE difference.
Of course, don’t forget that, as a Learning and Development Manager, you’re a function lead too, so don’t fall into that age-old trap of ‘the Cobbler’s son being poorly shod’. Be sure to also address your own development needs because, aside from anything else, others will look to you as a role model!
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About the Author:
I’m a self-confessed Learning & Development tragic. In my work-life, I’m a an Industry Engagement Manager for the University of Queensland’s Business School, meaning I work with clients to design, develop and implement ‘end-to-end’ blended capability development solutions.
If you’re interested in having a chat about how UQ Executive Education can help transform your organisation via our tailored executive development solutions, our public short courses, our Graduate Certificate in Executive Leadership, or the full MBA, please feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m also a keynote speaker on topics including (but not limited to) ‘Creating the workplace culture you want to work in’, ‘The future of organisation learning’, ‘Simple strategies for maximising transfer of learning to behaviour’, and ‘Speaking C-Suitese, not L&Dese, to win L&D budget approval’. If you’d like to engage me to speak at one of your events, feel free to contact me on the email address above.