Tip #765: Take a Power Pause

“Human beings perform best and are most productive when they alternate between periods of intense focus and intermittent renewal.” Tony Schwartz

Jamie Millard and Gus Murby gave a great presentation at Training 2019 titled: Disrupt the Talent Development Mindset of Your Managers.

They talked about what managers need to do to develop their employees, by using delegation in a thoughtful manner. They identified three areas of focus: Head, Heart and Hands.

Head has to do with making a can-do mind shift that involves embracing employee development as a high priority and critical to short- and long-term success.

Heart has to do with unleashing the can-do spirit in their employees so they are doing work that is important to them.

Hands concerns assigning work in ways that ensure employees are continually developing.

Millard and Murby posit that managers need to develop a “Can-Do” leader mindset, where they recognize that they not only must do work themselves, but also must delegate and develop their employees at the same time.

Millard and Murby feel that, when managers want their employees to be engaged in learning, they unleash their Can-Do Spirit. This is comprised of three things: commitment (taking ownership and accountability); competence (the desire to enhance talents and skills); and courage (being willing to stretch and take risks).

If and when managers delegate, they frequently seek out the same employees. Rather than falling into this trap, managers should take a Power Pause to consider employee VITALS when deciding what tasks to delegate and to whom:

Values:            Personal standards, principles and beliefs that are important

Interests:         Work-related subject areas that grab and hold their attention

Talents:           Natural abilities and aptitudes that can be leveraged and developed

Ambitions:      Career, personal and financial goals and aspirations

Longings:         Strong psychological need they hope to fulfill in the workplace

Style:               Characteristic ways of thinking, feeling, behaving and interacting

During the Power Pause, the manager should think about: (1) the Task (what tasks must be performed? Who can do these tasks?); (2) People (How engaged are employees? What are their VITALS?); and (3) Learning (What are the learning gaps? Which VITALS would be motivational?)

This prepares the manager to delegate in a way that has a simultaneous impact on the task, the people and the learning.

Management courses often focus on the mechanics of delegation and encourage it as an important time-saver for managers. They may give lip service to the idea of using delegation to develop staff, but it is rarely the primary consideration.

What I like about Millard and Murby’s thesis is that employee engagement and learning are just as important as the task that needs to be performed. This indeed requires a mind shift on the part of managers, who may be loath to delegate at all- for a variety of reasons.

What do you think?

May your learning be sweet.


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