Leadership and Management

The One Missing Conversation Managers Fail to Have

If you’re a manager, you must surely have a ‘to-do’ list that you check every day, week, month, quarter, year, and so on to be successful.
One of the essential things that a manager does is giving regular feedback. While giving feedback is a valuable and necessary prerequisite of being a good manager the real power of developing teams can be with Career Conversations.
What are Career Conversations?
Career conversations are insightful discussions about an individual’s career aspirations. It probes into their history, including the unique personality and intrinsic motivations of the individual. It gazes into their desired future, big dreams, and how they visualize their career.
Why are Career Conversations crucial for managers and their teams?
There are many strong reasons to have career conversations with your team members.
Many a times our teams are not clear about their careers. Some of them might be fulfilling their parents’ dreams instead of their own, while others might be underestimating their capabilities with flawed thinking and self-defeating habits. There could be many more areas of not having clarity. As a manager, you can help people see their potential and aim realistically for their dreams.
The second reason is your team member may be looking out for the next growth opportunity in their roles or looking for an increase in their pay. If these conversations do not happen internally they will get attracted by someone doing these conversations from outside. This may lead to sudden exits. Having said that, you may jointly discuss if the their dreams are not aligning with the careers in the existing organization and let them go. However having the conversation on time will help in planning for the successor and reduce the time gap to fill in for that position.
The last but not least reason is that managers should help their team members grow. They look up to you to be their mentor and help them evolve into better professionals. Career conversations help meet that expectation which every employee has from their manager. They allow managers to invest in their team, make work engaging for them, and help them grow into a more productive, satisfied, and happier individual.
The Common Mistakes Managers Make with Career Conversations
Many managers make mistakes during career conversations. Let’s look at some of the most common mistakes they make.
Quiet during career conversations
Managers have to take the effort to initiate the conversations and not be quite during those conversations. There are chances that you may not have any immediate solutions to the career aspirations of your team members but having the conversation may lead to a solution in the same meeting or in subsequent meetings.
Appraisal Conversation is not Career Conversation
Some managers mistake giving feedback or having a performance conversation for career conversations. Giving feedback or doing a performance review is an exercise that looks into the individual’s immediate past for evaluation. A career conversation has a futuristic outlook for an individual by looking into past and setting an action plan for the future.
Linking Promotion with Career Conversation
Many managers think that if they have promoted an employee they have fulfilled the aspiration of their employee and there is no need to have career conversation. In fact career conversation after promotion is equally important as before promotion in order to ensure that the promotion is in alignment with the future that they are aspiring for.
Poor planning
Managers don’t spend enough time first planning the career for their teams and then having a insightful Career Conversations as they get so operationally busy. They have to do better planning of Career Conversations with a holistic light, analyzing their past, reevaluating the present, and planning for the future.
How To Conduct Better Career Conversations
As a leader, you can follow this 3-step process to better structure and plan your Career Conversations with an intentional approach.
1. Dig into the past
Have an open, safe, and inclusive conversation to understand the person’s history, values, and motivations. You’ll get a rough sketch of what they are made up of. You can prepare some structured questions but also anticipate some spontaneous questions as the conversation progresses. Understand why they are the way they are and the defining moments in their lives to date.
2. Look into their future
You will find two kinds of people. One, who knows what their perfect future looks like, and two, who are still unclear about what they want to achieve in the future. However, everyone has a dream inside them, and you can help those unclear about their future to make it more tangible. Take a glimpse into their desired future.
3. Take charge of the present
Only with a detailed understanding of the person’s past and future can a manager chart an action plan for the present along with the individual’s consensus. You can help the individual take control of the present by setting a thoughtful action plan with clear deadlines. What you plan for today will manifest into reality in the future. So, start building the foundation for your team member’s success today.
I am personally passionate about this important skill that each manager should put in the required effort to develop themselves and help their teams achieve their dreams. Looking forward to your thoughts and ideas on your best practices on Career Conversations.
At Crossover Leadership Journeys, we help leaders like you have better Career Conversations, from ideation to implementation. Write to us at pooja.a@crossoverleaders.com or call us at 09885902060 to allow us to help you ace Career Conversations, and transform the lives of people.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *