4 P’s of People Development

If you are a manager who is interested in knowing how to help facilitate growth in your people, then the 4 P’s of People Development is for you.

Taking a business from ordinary to extraordinary means understanding and embracing the difference between management and leadership. Management is largely about doing things right, such as ensuring all business systems and processes are in order. Leadership, on the other hand, is more about inspiring people to want to be the best versions of themselves so they can be actively engaged in the creative processes that help the business transcend far above performance expectations. In other words, where management might be about tasks, systems and processes, leadership is more about people.

Good managers have an excellent grasp of the tasks, systems and processes within the organization, as where great managers have an excellent grasp of perfectly blending being task oriented as well as being people oriented.

Interestingly, a 2011 study conducted by PDI Ninth House showed that even though leaders unanimously agree on the critical necessity of people development, as leaders climb the corporate ladder, their people development focus and skills tend to decline. What this shows is that many of our C-suite executives today likely spend more time being task, process, and systems oriented, their area of comfort, than being people development oriented.

In my work coaching senior level executives over the years, I’ve had many conversations about the necessary balance between being both task and people oriented. One consensus is that tasks, systems, and processes are quantifiable, and thus can be easily managed in spreadsheets and share-holder reports. On the other hand, people behaviour is more difficult to quantify, thus often taking a backseat in business management. For that reason, it’s likely that a company may prefer hiring managers who are biased toward being task, process, and systems oriented rather than being people oriented.

Even so, many of my senior managers do express a desire to be more people oriented, knowing all to well how valuable people development is, but simply don’t have the skill-set to be equally people oriented as they are task, process, and systems oriented, nor are their companies prepared yet to invest heavily in an area (their people) that cannot be justified using traditional ROI models.

As a result of this, many companies adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to developing their talent by simply offering a laundry list of trainings, often leaving employees to carving out their own development path. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review shared 7 Ways to Improve Employee Development Programs with driving manager support as the first point showing how critical the role of the manager is in driving the development of their people. However, Dr. Edie Goldberg from Goldberg and Associates says that managers today still have not fully realized the critical role they play in the development of their people simply because they, themselves, or so inundated with day to day tasks.

Leaving people to their own resources when carving out their development may work for some people who are independent learning, but not for others. An independent learner might interpret the freedom as autonomy, as where someone else who might need more direction may interpret that space as abandonment.

For every manager, being involved in their people’s learning and development is essential in retaining, building, and inspiring staff and should therefore not only be the purview of learning and development professionals. The effectiveness of a learning and development department is only as successful as the support from the manager.

Luckily, supporting staff in their development does not have to be too time consuming. With a little planning and a small investment in time and energy managers can build a strong development system within their departments that will not only support the effectiveness of the Learning and Development departments, but will also drive engagement and productivity to unprecedented heights.

To better help my executives manage the learning and development of their people, with or without the presence of a learning and development manager, I have developed the 4 P’s of People Development.

The 4 P’s of People Development is a 4-stage model that a manager can use for themselves, but also for each of their staff members to help guide them through their development from the day they start to the day they leave.

I would like to share this model with you today with the hope it may help you support the development of your people.

A serious challenge that many business managers struggle with is how to develop such a strong team.

The 4-Stage Strategy

The 4 P’s of People Development is a 4-stage strategy that will help you mould your team members into the self-reliant leaders you need them to be to ensure they are able to inspire greatness in each other and other staff members for years to come. The way to do this, is to develop different leadership and management styles for each level of the 4-stage model so it appeals to each one of your staff members as they develop. This is often referred to as “Situational-Leadership”,

Stage 1: Procedure-Based Management:

High Programming – No Autonomy

Starting at the bottom of this development ladder is “Procedure-Based Management”. Procedure-Based Management is suitable for employees with no experience or employees with experience by who might be new on your team.

Research shows that at this level, employees tend to be quite happy being told what to do and how to do it until they become comfortable with the procedures. A Stage 1 employees are 100% supervised, all of the time, until they demonstrate sufficient levels of mastery, after which greater levels of autonomy can be given.

With regards to people development, at this level, employees will more likely appreciate undergo mandatory training and learning as well as on-the-job guidance from a mentor.

Stage 1 employees often lack the experience, skills, or confidence to “figure things out” and too much autonomy could be perceived as a sign of abandonment. Instead, having a conversation with them about how they prefer to be managed through this first stage will help you develop a relationship of trust with this person. From there, they will need a lot of guidance being lead in the right direction of their development. The time and energy this takes is a very worthy investment as it create that foundation of trust necessary for their long-term growth and productivity.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for Stage 1 Employees to progress to Stage 2 (Productivity-Based) should be based on HOW they perform, and report, their daily duties. This level focuses on work quality not quantity.

Stage 2: Production-Based Management:

Moderate Programming – Minimal Autonomy

Moving up one level, a Stage 2 employee has mastered their daily functions and has now earned a minimal amount of autonomy. With this level employee, the leadership style shifts from a more authoritative, “do as I suggest”, to a more subtle, coaching approach: “show me what you can do”

This approach is more participative. For example, instead of just issuing instructions, you also explain the reasons behind the instructions and support them while they are performing these tasks.

To use this style successfully, communicate the reasons why your team must follow your instructions. For instance, explain rules, so that members of your team understand the reasons behind them. When they understand why certain rules or procedures are in place, they’re more likely to follow them. This in turn helps set very healthy boundaries so staff members will inherently know what behaviors are acceptable and which are not.

As your team is working, practice a leadership style called: Coaching Leadership by being present and accessible, so that you’re available to answer questions and provide them with advice and feedback when needed. This visibility and support will help you keep your staff on track and show them that you’re there when they need you.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for Stage 2 Employees to progress to Stage 3 (Performance) should not be based on how they perform their duties, but on WHAT they are doing on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. This stage focuses on quality work at a desired quantity.

Stage 3: Performance-Based Management:

Minimal Programming – Moderate Autonomy

Now that your team has proven to you that they can perform the quality work at the desired quantity, your business will already be performing at an acceptable level. A Stage-3 employee has mastered the previous levels and is showing a great deal of mastery in how he/she performs.

Once this level has been reached, leadership initiatives must be put into place to drive business performance levels beyond acceptable levels and transcend into exceptional levels. At this level, the focus of the Stage-3 employee must shift from their own personal performance and productivity and must move into a direction of team, or departmental, performance

A Stage-3 employee will be the perfect candidate to begin to function as a mentor, or role-model for future employees so he/she can begin to learn how to lead, manage, coach, and inspire future staff members, which will enable you to develop a steady talent development stream in the future.

The leadership style to achieve this is known as the “Democratic Leadership” style, where a moderate amount of autonomy is given to enable the team to develop initiatives, under consultation of the manager, to drive revenue and performance. Management activities such as, brain-storming and team-building are the types of initiatives that may be employed at this level. Rather than using language such as “This is how I want you to do it” (level 1), or “Show me what you’re doing” (level 2), the language is more around “what do you think you should do and what can I (the manager) do to help you achieve it”.

As your team is working on new initiatives that they are developing, practice democratic leadership by being involved in the project from a supportive, cheerleader aspect and begin to give more autonomy as they progress. Gradually, begin to wean them off of your presence by gradually removing yourself from the work-floor. At this level, your absence will likely be seen as a sign of trust from you and too much presence could be interpreted as a sign of mistrust.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for Stage-3 employees to progress to Stage-4 (Permission) should be based on team performance and not on personal productivity anymore.

Stage 4: Permission-Based Management:

No Programming – High Autonomy

The pinnacle of growth for every employee is Stage-4. At this level, your employee has become a true master of running your business and is fully engaged in all revenue building and creative activities.

This is your model employee that others look up to and is a perfect example of an excellent people leader, as well as manager. At this level, your Stage-4 employee is not only able to fully run your business without you being present, but is able to build and manage multiple teams as your General Manager and knows everything there is to know to build a successful empire on your behalf.

The leadership style required for a Stage-4 Maturity employee is known as consensus (permission), or Laissez-Faire where all autonomy is given to the employee. A Stage-4 employee with complete autonomy will tell you how he/she is running your business and will gladly take full responsibility for your company or business unit’s performance.

Key Performance Indicators at this level are slightly different. The Stage-4 employee will gladly develop his or her own KPI’s for the business for your staff, and for him/herself leaving you with plenty of opportunity to work on the vision of your business rather than constantly be engulfed within the processes that make up your business.

As a manager, if you ensure you can provide each of your people, no matter their job function, with the opportunities to grow and develop according to this model, you will begin to see a return of investment in employee retention, engagement, innovation, productivity, and yes, in your company’s bottom line.

 

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