Step back from the hectic pace of your business and imagine losing a key member of your leadership team. That's a tough reality, one that can disrupt your strategies and goals. Quality training and development you provide to your leaders can reduce the chances they will leave for other opportunities. You need to invest in your leaders through management development training to maximize their skills and opportunities, and provide a solid team that leads your small business with the best skills and ideas possible.

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Managers Aren't Robots

Try this: Examine your own management skills. Do you take the time to meet with your leaders one-on-one to learn about their concerns and goals? Do you know about their personal lives, what drives them, what excites them? You need clear channels of communication with the people you depend on the most to keep your company moving forward. If not, don't expect your work culture to thrive. Business is all about relationships, so renew your commitment to getting to know your leaders even more. You want-and need-a team environment, not an authoritarian one. After all, managers aren't robots.

Human Resource Management Tips

Rewarding excellence is one of the best approaches motivating your employees, no matter how large or small your business. An equity incentive plan document helps you clearly state such policies.

Here are some tips from Harvard Business Review for getting your leaders to buy into the company's goals:

  • Connect their goals to your company or organization's objectives.
  • Let them know that you view them as partners who have a valued stake in the success of your company, and that meeting their goals is a part of the bigger picture.
  • Once you know about your managers' personal interests, try to make these a part of their professional goals, too.

An employee agreement can give you and workers legal clarity, so both partiers know what's expected. In this agreement, you can describe in detail issues such as the rights and obligations of your business and your employee, plus benefits, confidentiality obligations, employee compensation and job duties.

What Not to Do In Your Employee Development

  • Do not let your leaders-or any employees-set their goals alone. You need to clearly guide them into goals that benefit the company and are in sync with your objectives.
  • Your high-performing managers don't need a hands-on approach when it comes to supervising them, but they do need input and feedback if they're going to meet their goals.
  • They may fail-everyone does now and then. Use these occasions as teachable moments that can help them improve their performance and get back on track. Remember, you're investing in lives, not widgets.

Set Goals, Use Employee Agreements

You want goals to be challenging yet attainable. One approach is to have leaders write down their goals that contribute to the organization's mission. Discuss them with your leaders and set targets to meet the goals that you agree upon, and then develop a plan for success. Don't make the goals too challenging; that can lead to resentment. An employee agreement can bring clarity to the goals of the job for you and the worker.

'Achieving goals is often about making trade-offs when things don't go as planned. [Employees] need to understand the bigger picture to make those tradeoffs when things go wrong,' says Linda Hill, a professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School.

Ways to Revitalize Through Training, Development

Your team has just completed a major project-on time, on target, and above and beyond what even you thought was possible. Or, on the flip side, your team fell short of the targeted goals. These experiences can drain your leaders of needed energy, creativity and inspiration.

What to do? Your next training and development efforts should involve revitalization and even reward, such as the equity incentive mentioned earlier.

'Volatility is here to stay,' Pat Lynch, president of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc., in Long Beach, Calif., tells Monster.com article. '[Leaders] need to learn to manage it; otherwise they will be waiting for something that never will return.'

Recalibrate Your Team

Here are a few elements of training and development that can recalibrate your team:

  • Turning criticism into constructive feedback is one way to rekindle positive attitudes.
  • Examine what went wrong, and discuss your findings with managers as well as staff.
  • Set realistic goals for the next project that are both challenging but not overreaching.
  • Consider holding a retreat. A retreat, preferably at a location away from the worksite, is an excellent way to reduce stress, generate some new creativity and momentum, and kick-start leaders for the future demands of the job.

Your leaders are a critical part of your success. Bad ones can destroy so many aspects of your company, from workplace culture to brand reputation that you can't afford NOT to take care of your leadership.

Remember:

  • Keep communication consistent and transparent.
  • Set attainable goals and establish targets along the way.
  • Establish resources that help managers stay on track and develop.
  • Look for ways to get outside the day-to-day grind and recalibrate.

If you take such steps, your investment in people will come back many times over.

Get started Start Your Equity Incentive Plan Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Equity Incentive Plan Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.