We are in the 2016 home stretch. Now is a fantastic time to rally your team together and celebrate this year’s successes. As a leader, when you think about this year’s accomplishments, you probably go straight to the major business outcomes, from excellent talent acquisition to product launches to client retention. Those all should definitely be celebrated. And here I am encouraging you to go deeper on the individual level with your team members. Understand what they like celebrating and give them the attention they deserve.
Here are three exercises to explore. Choose one or do all. Perhaps let each of your team members choose their own activity. The main point is to focus, learn, and celebrate.
- Reflect in a month-to-month format. Have your team member list their major accomplishments in each month of 2016. Encourage them to look back on calendars, emails, and notes. Oftentimes we are moving so fast that we do not take time to acknowledge a new skill acquired or a big win. Give them some time to do this activity on their own. Then, in your next one-on-one, review their month-by-month. It is great to focus on successes and the “highs”. Ask why those stand out. This is a great way to learn about each of your team members in a new way. And at the end of the conversation ask: This time next year, what would you like a few of your successes to be in 2017?
- Create a strategy with each team member. At Fierce, every employee after six months fills out a growth plan. In this growth plan, we focus on four core areas: alignment with company values, current role growth, career growth, and professional development plans. Focus on those four areas with each of your team members. In each of these sections, dig deeper by asking why. Learning your team member’s why is critical for building a strong connection to everything that you do with them. Help the team member map out goals and next steps for those four areas.
- Do the 3+1 Focus. This is a very simple exercise to create focus. At the beginning of each quarter, I ask each team member to bring 3 development areas that they want to focus on in the next three months. This is a great way to keep it simple and check in on these throughout the quarter. I also ask them to bring 1 development area for me to focus on to best support them. The goal is to answer the questions: As your leader, what is the one area that I can focus on that would make all of the difference to you this quarter? In other words, what can I shift to make me the best possible leader for you? It is critical in this exercise to listen very intently, and then you MUST act. That is why I suggest only one area, because it will accumulate with the number of direct reports you have.
So, which activity are you going to try? Do you have other suggestions?