|Image [cc] ISCTE|
Now, I know what you're saying...in this new law firm reality, managers have to be more focused on more immediate needs like keeping expenses down and coming up with that next great and innovative idea. True. However, I would argue that if managers can take the time to develop solid relationships with their staff and have what the authors of a recent article called Managers: Your Development Power Players call development or career conversations, many staff members may be empowered to step up and contribute at a much higher level.
Although building the trust with employees takes time, it is the basis for having these kinds of conversations that will, ultimately, engage and retain the best talent. The authors of the article break down the reasons this is important into the following four areas:
- A manager's job is easier when their staff members are performing at their peak.
- Talented employees are engaged when they know their contributions are valued.
- Job satisfaction increases when employees see a future for themselves in the organization.
- Talented people want to work with other talented people.
I don't mean to put all of the pressure on managers here, since although they can provide the information and resources employees need to become really engaged and empowered, this is a two way street and the employee has the responsibility to do their homework on their end and want to stretch themselves and develop. I think the closing line of the article sums it up perfectly by saying "...[i]f talent is the ultimate competitive edge, then preparing managers to build development dialogues needs to be a fundamental part of the overall learning strategy."
Take the time to build the trust, start having career conversations, and truly embrace your role as an employee development partner.