Employees depend on their supervisors to create a better work culture, motivate them, and coach them throughout their roles. As such, being an effective manager requires more than just managing tasks — it requires leadership.

Professional development and goal-setting play a significant role in developing a manager’s goals. Managers already spend a great deal of time helping employees and teams meet their objectives. However, it can be easy for managers to lose sight of their own goals. About 87% of companies say they don’t do an excellent job developing leaders throughout their organization. Let’s take a step back and think about what excellent goal setting is and how you can put those plans into action for your managers.

Employees lean on their managers a lot, for many reasons. Discover how @CaliperCorp says implementing a #ProfessionalDevelopment plan can transform good managers into great leaders: Click To Tweet

What is a Professional Development Goal?

The success of the company is dependent upon the success of its employees. That’s why you must encourage your employees, especially your managers, to grow within their role. So, what exactly are professional development goals?

Professional development goals are aimed to help individuals focus on improving and increasing their capabilities and competencies through continuous learning and training initiatives throughout the workplace. If you aren’t sure where to start, begin by exploring these sources to elevate professional development:

  • Formal training seminars
  • Online webinars
  • Videos
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Job sharing

During monthly or quarterly performance reviews, sit down with your managers to determine what they need to improve, what skills they want to acquire or grow, and what these goals will do to help improve their overall performance. Each professional development goal can be job-specific, such as cross-training with another department, or more general, like leadership participation throughout the organization, or demonstrating a larger skillset throughout their role. When setting goals for your leaders, make sure they are clear, measurable, and realistic. Focusing on these aspects will assist your managers in achieving these goals and having the ability to put them into play within their team. When your managers complete specific goals, the performance of your entire workforce will elevate through enhanced communication, productivity, and retention.

So what key goals can turn your good managers into great leaders? Take a look:

Cross-Functional Learning

Great leaders possess a holistic view of the company, which means it’s essential that managers learn all the relevant business functions in order to gain a well-rounded perspective of the entire company. Having this view helps them maximize their goals and mentor their employees better.  By developing yourself cross-functionally, you can identify professional relationships and how to improve upon them. To fully grasp the concept of cross-functional learning, start by:

Interacting with each department in your company’s hierarchy to learn their goals and results.
Learning each department, individual, and team’s needs. Grasp the different roles within each function and recognize the impact they have on the company.
Instituting an understanding of what each functional area of the business should be doing and how they can work together.

Learning to take a step back from day-to-day managing and understanding the broader side of things shows managers how to:

  • Talk to and respect others
  • Possess a general understanding of everyone’s roles, responsibilities, and the expectations employees should be setting for themselves
  • Show how your expertise brings value to the organization
How can #GoalSetting can turn your good managers into great leaders? Find out in @CaliperCorp’s latest blog: Click To Tweet

Communication

Managing a team can be challenging. Obstacles ranging from managing teams that are remote, internal, or both can cause significant miscommunication issues throughout the entire team. A much-overlooked skill among managers is possessing the communication skills to set expectations, share feedback, listen intently, demonstrate empathy, and inspire action or change. According to an Interact/Harris Poll, communicating well is the one critical skill that 91% of 1,000 employees said their leaders lack. If managers lack the skills to communicate effectively, then they are creating a roadblock for their teams to become engaged and productive. Ensuring communication is established and thoroughly understood across the board, whether in the office or remote, is crucial to being a great leader.

Setting a goal to evaluate your current communication techniques and figuring out ways to fill those missing gaps can help your team be more successful. Plus, you can help your managers be more effective leaders.

Developing clear channels for communication and building a team that embraces open feedback plays a large part in being successful. After all, you want to promote regular communication and establish the workplace as an environment for public discussion.

When setting this goal, ask your employees for their feedback and gain their perspective on how communication can improve throughout the whole team. Allowing your team to discuss their opinions, challenges, or room for improvement will demonstrate that you’re actually listening to them. If you aren’t sure how to get the ball rolling, begin by creating a staff survey. Not only do surveys allow your staff to come to you with concerns, but it encourages a culture for feedback. Start by asking questions such as:

  • How can I help you to feel more satisfied with your role?
  • Do you feel like the management team is transparent? If not, why?
  • Do you feel valued at work?
  • Are you receiving the proper resources and training to succeed throughout your role?

By using the given information, managers will obtain a key trait of leadership to help them be open to other’s ideas, encourage feedback from staff, use feedback to improve initiatives, and create an overall better communication process for all.

Coaching

With better communication comes better coaching. If a manager wants to become a leader, he or she must develop the ability to coach others. If managers aren’t skilled at coaching their staff, it’ll be difficult for them to achieve long-term, impactful results for themselves, their teams, and the organization. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, 93% of managers feel they lacked the training and skills needed to properly coach their direct reports.

Ultimately, coaching requires skill and time. Set up managers with their own coach so they can gain first-hand experience about the benefits of coaching. They will also gain a valuable mentor on how to coach others. Part of being a great leader is providing each member with insights and tips to help them improve their performance. Given that your employee’s experience is partly shaped by their relationship with their manager, it’s crucial managers are given the tools to render their management style to be more helpful with each individual’s needs. To achieve this, on-demand skills and training such as active listening, questioning, building rapport, delivering constructive feedback, and a delegation will aid managers to be honest and transparent as well as engage employees and improve workforce performance.

If you want your team to run like a well-oiled machine, motivation and coaching is a master skill every great leader can acquire. As your managers learn to coach employees through their challenges and identify their strengths, this builds an environment and culture for employees to grow within their career and learn new skills.

Productivity

Everybody loves to be efficient and productive, but managers can quickly get stuck in their day-to-day routine and forget to look for gaps in their process. To have a great leader on your side, you’ll need them to keep up with the latest tech, systems, and procedures to ensure their team is getting the best of the best in order to produce quality work and ramp up productivity, as well as reduce the amount of time spent on unnecessary tasks.

By incorporating management training into your professional development program, you can prepare your leaders for continuous change and improvements so they are able to stay ahead of the evolving business world. With this approach to leadership, you are going to see increased employee retention and overall team productivity growth. Your leaders will evolve and your team will learn from them.

Every organization is different; your leaders all require their own unique professional development action plan to achieve overall team and organizational success. Make sure you are collaborating with your team members to identify key objectives or missed opportunities and setting goals based upon those objectives. Remember, set goals that are manageable, reasonable, and impactful, not just for your manager but for their team as well.

Interested in how you can help turn your good managers into great leaders? Get the insight and data you need from them to create an impactful professional development program. Work with Caliper to see how the Caliper Essentials for Coaching can turn your managers into great leaders!

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