Rojo Grande (2010) said, in his article The Greatest Athlete Who Never Was, “whenever a destiny goes unclaimed, or a champion falls short of the podium, or greatness does not materialize, we all lose” (para. 20). What does these mean in organizations? When one employee, no matter how low on the rank or how unimportant their tasks are, performs below their potential, we all lose. This is easy to see and measure in sales reps. But it is equally important in administrative or shared services roles. People performing below their potential hurts the organization regardless of the role they play.
To combat this, leaders in the organization must prioritize people development. Developing the team must be a part of the value system of the executive team. First, let’s discuss the importance of values from the executive team. In recent scholarly research, Fu, Tsui, Liu, and Li (2010) stated that “many organizational scholars have recognized the importance of executive leaders’ values” (p. 251). The values of top leadership remain the most influential force affecting the company’s value system and organizational culture (Hambrick & Mason, 1984). These values can dictate the future and success of the organization and “are the heart of an organization’s culture and represent the philosophical views, priorities, and sense of purpose of the organization” (Ferguson & Millman, 2008, p. 441). The values, as Collins and Porras (1994) state area the“… core ideology—core values and sense of purpose beyond just making money—that guides and inspires people throughout the organization and remains relatively stable for long periods of time” (p. 48). Whether the values are stated or not, what is perceived as values from the executive team will influence the organizational culture. To be a constantly adapting and thriving organization, people development must be a part of the executive team’s value system.
Once it is part of the value system of the executive team, it must be part of the operational process. Schedule development sessions with your team on a regular basis. Work with them. Meet with them. Observe how they manage their time or how they meet with members of their team. Learn their needs, opportunities, and strengths. Teach and coach them every moment that you can. Create a teaching moment out of every interaction. Never fail to teach. Teaching is the pathway to great leadership. Every skill needs regular nourishment to thrive at its peak potential. Sales skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, and time management skills are a few examples of what needs regular attention.
The most effective leaders create regular 15-20 minutes meetings where they meet, teach, and coach members of their team. These meetings usually occur weekly, but sometimes occur 2-3 times a month. Look at your calendar. Can you find 15-20 minutes to teach, develop, and coach members of your team? Make the time. Prioritize it. Live it. Development must be a part of your value system if you want to have a high performing team.
Collins, J. C., & Porras, J. I. (1994). Built to last: Successful habits of visionary companies. New York: Harper Business.
Ferguson, J., & Milliman, J. (2008). Creating effective core organizational values: A spiritual leadership approach. International Journal of Public Administration, 31(4), 439-459. doi:10.1080/01900690701590835
Fu, P., Tsui, A., Liu, J., & Li, L. (2010). Pursuit of whose happiness? executive leaders’ transformational behaviors and personal values. Administrative Science Quarterly, 55(2), 222-254. Retrieved from EBSCOhost
Grande, R. (September 13, 2010). The bleacher report. Retrieved from http://www.bleacherreport.com/articles/459037-the-greatest-athlete-who-never-was
Hambrick, D.C., & Mason, P.A. (1984). Upper echelons: The organizations as a reflection of its top managers. Academy Management Review, (9), 193-206. Retrieved from EBSCOhost