I’ve said on multiple occasions that a manager’s job is to hire and train their replacement. Not only does that allow managers time to step away from their devices and take a vacation, but it allows them time to develop themselves.
The key to hiring and training your replacement is delegation. It’s knowing what to delegate and when.
Managers need to create a connection between learning, goals, performance, and the business. And they need to communicate that connection to employees. Here’s how the four are linked:
- LEARNING – My guess is that most businesses do not operate the same way they did a decade ago. Technology has changed payment processing. There are new products and services. Because business has changed, it only makes sense that employees need to learn new processes. Managers should support employee efforts to regularly learn new knowledge and skills.
- GOALS – I believe the process of learning something new is a form of goal. When I make the statement, “I’m signed up for a MOOC on gamification.”, in effect, I’m saying I want to learn something. Once I take the course, I might leave with a list of to-dos such as read Kevin Werbach’s book “For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business”. Managers should help employees continue their learning experience by encouraging goal-setting.
- PERFORMANCE – If employees are successfully doing #1 and #2, higher levels of performance should follow. I’m using the words “if” and “should” for a reason. Many times, companies say they support employee learning, but…they really don’t. And many times, employees say they’ve set goals after learning, but…they really didn’t. This is one of those moments where there’s a difference in saying the words and actually living them.
- BUSINESS – Higher levels of employee performance do have a direct impact on the bottom-line. High performing employees work smarter, which increases productivity and quality. Customers definitely see the benefits of a high performing workforce. The company is rewarded with customer loyalty, increased market share, and finally, better sales revenue. Managers should look for opportunities to recognize and reward employees for their efforts.
As part of their job to “hire and train their replacement”, managers should create this connection. They won’t be able to delegate if employees don’t know what to do. Employees need to understand why it’s in their best interest to learn something new (i.e. What’s the WIIFM?). Managers should be comfortable giving employees control, power, and authority over the tasks they are responsible for.
I was listening to a presentation the other day where the speaker said, “There’s a difference between staying in the same job for ten years and being challenged for ten years.” It’s so true. An employee can be in the same job for years and be challenged – Every. Single. Day. That’s the role a manager plays in the organization. They create that level of challenge by connecting learning, goals, performance, and the business.
Organizations should ask themselves if managers understand their role. More importantly, organization should ask themselves if they’re giving managers the training and tools to do this.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the Massachusetts Women’s Conference in Boston, MA14