Do you care about your employees? Or, do you wish your boss cared about you? One of the bigger struggles I see both leaders and ordinary team members make is trying to identify the type of relationship that meets the needs and expectations of both. I think it is important for both sides to understand their role, and what the results should be, so here’s a simple outline that should help you Make Work Better, and make the leader-team relationship rock. So, how do leaders stand as an advocate for their team members? By being one (or all) of these:
1. The Coach
The coach gives day-to-day feedback. The coach is generally someone who has close contact with the person they are coaching, and this contact allows the coach to observe behavior and attitude. The coach identifies and helps resolve problems that negatively affect performance (these problems can ones the team member is aware of, or one where the team member needed an intervention of sorts).The coach also highlights and rewards success. Finally, the coach leads the team in using training programs and career development options to create opportunity and overall success for the team.
2. The Sponsor
The sponsor is a little more distant than a coach, but still actively involved. The sponsor helps promote or “advertise” a team member, using whatever influence the sponsor has to make sure that the team member is in a position for success. Think of an influential leader who always highlights the best in others. Also, the sponsor takes a role in guiding a team member’s career like a doctor-parent wanting their kid to go to medical school, only without the family drama. Sponsors do an amazing job of helping people who make decisions see the ability of the team member they may not otherwise have noticed.
3. The Mentor
The mentor assumes a major responsibility: they become personally accountable for the success of their team member. Every struggle, accomplishment, and task is shared equally among the mentor and the team member, with the anticipation that the team member will grow significantly greater than they could have on their own. Mentors often make themselves available on and off “the job,” and frequently let their team member in on personal experiences that have significant impact on both the mentor and their protégé. In addition, the mentor often requests and values the input from their protégé. The continual, developmental communication between the mentor and protégé grow both sides involved, with the protégé learning valuable insight that is carried on from one generation of leader to the next.
How do you define the relationship between a leader and their team?