At a key midpoint in my career I was in a job that was not stimulating and wondering what was next. My manager at the time gave me space to say that and actively helped me get into classes and get a coach to help me find some answers. He stated at the time that his goal was “what was best for me, even if it meant leaving the organization.” I ended up going through a 12 month journey (as I continued to contribute in my current role) that resulted in me moving to another role within the organization that was a perfect fit for my talents and passions. I stayed five more years in that organization and did some great work. Ironically I stayed there longer than my manager did. He was a people-centered leader.
How committed are you to the development of your people? A people-centered leader is committed to aligning the unique abilities of their people with the work that has to get done for the organization. Committed to a point where the person realizes their ideal role might be outside of their current organization. Committed to moving beyond that point until the right match is found.
Yes, there are lots of reasons to draw boundaries around our support, but know that every boundary sends a clear message that “I am a people-centered leader, but . . . . “. At the heart of the OBN leader is great intent, but actions that raise doubt in others. (OBN is Ought But Not leader – a term from my book – People-Centered Performance)
What if you asked people at their annual performance review to share their career plans? I guarantee that if you ask 5 people and they are honest – at least one has a role they are targeting that would take them outside your organization. This will be the ultimate test of your capacity as a people-centered leader, and testing our capacity is the only way to build it.
Here is the other challenging (or liberating) part of this solution – you don’t have to ask anyone else’s permission or blame a company policy for getting in your way.
Listen . . . Lead. Repeat often!
Extra: If you ask people for their career plans you will get some blank stares. Here is a whitepaper that outlines my 5 Steps for managing your career and development. This will get them started.