We have all been there. A boss who looks like a leader on the outside, but you can’t remember learning anything specific from them. You know, the boss that “was all up in our business,” yet didn’t add any value.
A few years ago I was young, had a little professional success, and really wanted to do better. Not sure my boss felt the same way, though.
My boss wanted to know every little thing I did. This boss made me bcc him on all my emails. Give him an exact schedule of my day (more than what was on the shared calendar), and wanted to be included on every phone call.
Except he never used the information. Not to reprimand, not share, not drive performance, and definitely not to coach. Still not sure what he did with that information.
There are three types of conversation that you need to have with each member of your team and any person you mentor. Each conversation is born from the leader genuinely caring for and respecting the people they lead
On the other hand, I had another leader who every day asked: “What questions did you forget to ask today?” Then we would discuss the scenarios. Then he would ask: “What do you think went well?” “Why?” “What are we going to do better tomorrow?” “How?”
By the end of the conversation, the same level of detail was shared, but I was coached. I was mentored and I grew. I felt empowered to perform.
I obviously performed much better in the second role. We all would. We all can.
The idea of unleashing talent is grounded in the belief that we all have untapped potential. A good leader is one who can help their team find and utilize that potential.
In order to help your team perform to the best of their abilities, it is important to mentor them properly. And true mentorships are built around productive conversations.
The team at FranklinCovey have unearthed the perfect formula for conversations that truly unleash potential. If you want be a better mentor or learn how to unleash the talent in your team, I would read their book, Talent Unleashed. I just finished an advanced copy and have already adjusted my mindset in how I will lead.
There are three types of conversation that you need to have with each member of your team and any person you mentor. Each conversation has a purpose. Each conversation is born from the leader genuinely caring for and respecting the people they lead.
These three conversations work only when the needed ingredients of engagement, trust, synergy, and empathy are the steady foundation.
The three types of mentoring conversations, outlined in Talent Unleashed, are:
Voice Conversations. Tell them they are valuable. Help them find their purpose. Show them how important they are. A leader helps those they lead find their own “voice”. They help them do the work they were meant to do.
The voice conversation helps the leader identify talents and makes sure the talents are being developed for the greatest contribution. We perform to the level of our belief. Leaders raise the bar of belief.
Performance Conversations. This conversation is about accountability. This is where you set, clarify and measure action-oriented objectives. In performance conversations, you change the relationships from that of employer and employee to one of partnership and shared accountability. With the responsibilities defined, the actions can be measured.
Clear-the-Path Conversations. In addition to helping develop talents and creating a culture of accountability, the job of a leader is remove obstacles that stand in the way of team member success.
This is where coaching, teaching correcting come into play. This is the type of conversation where the true obstacles are discussed (not excuses), and then the leader helps unleash the talent by removing those obstacles.
Find a mentor that helps you maximize your potential. Then you can be a better mentor yourself by having real and caring conversations to help others maximize their potential
Becoming a true mentor
As leaders build relationships and drive performance based on these conversations, they are doing more than just producing results. They are building other leaders. They are embracing the idea that a true leader is also a coach and mentor that helps every team member perform better.
Josh Weeks, the current president of my company, is a phenomenal leader. He understands personalities, conversations, and relationships. He works hard to unleash talent by making sure that what we are doing is productive to both the team and the individual.
In our weekly performance reviews, I get asked a series of thoughtful questions. The questions help me understand the value the company needs to see and the value I can bring to the team.
I will work to do the same with my team. Now I have a better framework in order to do that, thanks to the new book Talent Unleashed.
As a leader, we must help fulfill potential. Find a mentor that helps you maximize your potential. Then you can be a better mentor yourself by having real and caring conversations to help others maximize their potential.
You can help others and also drive performance. Choose to be helpful, and choose to unleash your talent and the talent of those you associate with.
About the Author
Mareo McCracken leads the partner-facing efforts of the Movemedical software platform at US company Movemedical, which connects medical device manufacturers, sales reps, surgeons, distributors, and care providers. This article first appeared on LinkedIn’s Influencer blog.