Partner? What?

Sharing a piece of the pieMarshall Goldsmith, PhD writes in “Partners, not Employees“, published in a recent Talent Management’s issue (related reflection at his blog):

Gone are the days when leaders could be — indeed, were expected to be — aloof and unapproachable, handing out orders from on high like some sort of demigod. Because of revolutionary transformations in the business world, though, the traditional relationships between employees and employers have changed.

Leaders today must see their direct reports as partners, not underlings. Successful leaders will work hard to build meaningful relationships with the people who work under them. Ideally, these bonds will be open, honest, respectful and multidirectional.

Managers of knowledge workers (that is, people who know more about what they do than those above them) must be good partners.

I am very much in like with Dr. Goldsmith’s view- time to change this relationship.

We should all be thinking about developing our newest members to be our strongest future partners. This is a foundational view of professional relationships, playing outmore vividly in this world of the highly mobile knowledge worker.

Today’s direct report or peer is tomorrow’s boss or consulting client.

I think the idea of partnering – mentoring, growing – our newest staff members would be clearer if we had a direct tie to their improved performance – think compensation. When I think about the classic partnership models that require development of new staff – accounting practices, legal firms – the incentive is clear: skilled associated bring in higher fees.

The corporate insider view might be “greater opportunity” in lieu of higher compensation (we’ll hope, but not hold our breathe, shall we?). The rub is that making your case for stretch opportunities or additional training isn’t always as easy when your manager’s compensation isn’t tied to your improved performance.

Goldsmith points to the feedback process, for employees and managers alike:

…feedback is key to understanding who we really are. People need to possess the capacity to change — that’s a fact of survival. But if they don’t get feedback, they won’t know when, why and how they should adapt to shifting circumstances.

Once you’ve received feedback, you should proceed to “feed forward.” This is a four-step process, which breaks down as follows:

1. Pick a behavior you need to change.
2. Discuss this objective with anyone who knows you well.
3. Ask the person for two suggestions to help you change.
4. Listen attentively to the suggestions.

Get some feedback. Reflect. Inquire. Act. Repeat.

Are you ready to make some intentional, personal changes? What are you doing to position yourself as an ideal partner?

This entry was posted in Agility, Branding, Career, Develop, Feedback, Kumquat. Bookmark the permalink.

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