Leadership in its most basic form involves a person guiding and directing others so that a task or objective is met. Whether leaders oversee five people or fifty people, they need the ability to guide their employees in the right direction and develop them where improvement is needed. Great leaders are sincere and provide fair and constructive feedback to their team so that growth and success can occur within their organization.
Coaching and developing others is a continuous effort focusing on the broader, more long-term growth of individuals. A leader who encourages and inspires their team to grow to their potential understands the importance of promoting a culture of development.
Assessments measure several innate traits that can have an impact on how effectively a leader can coach and develop others. Research and experience have shown that four key personality characteristics, or scales, have a link to this competency:
- Need for Recognition – How much positive feedback and attention do the leaders at your company need, and how does this play into their coaching and developing approach? Leaders with a low need for recognition are able to perform without relying on praise and positive feedback to drive the quality of their work. Often when this is the case, those leaders are less likely to give credit and recognition to their team since they don’t see it as a personal need. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the leader with a high need for recognition readily gives praise and support when needed and rewards the team’s accomplishments. However, this comes with the leader’s personal need for recognition, which may result in a sense of competitiveness and selfishness if they are not put in the spotlight, rather than striving for growth among the entire team.At their worst, leaders who fall very high on Need for Recognition compared to others may want the spotlight themselves, and may occasionally fail to share credit with their team. Leaders you want the most fall in the mid to high range on this scale. Within this range a leader is predicted to be rewarding enough to their team to drive improvement, but not so reliant on receiving recognition that they fall short on their own duties of coaching and developing their team.
- Positive About People – Are the leaders in your organization generally trusting of people, or do they have a tendency to be critical of others?When employees fall on the low end of this scale it means they are skeptical and cautious to trust others. A skeptical leader provides close supervision and insists upon quality performance. While these could be good qualities, they are more often than not paired with the leader being difficult to please and potentially micromanaging their team. They may even concentrate primarily on their team’s negative attributes or assume that the team member will fail. In the high range, leaders are providing a positive and trusting environment and develop their team by viewing mistakes as opportunities to learn. As long as these leaders are careful that their trust isn’t taken advantage of, they can easily win over their team and build relationships through solid communication.For this scale, the best leaders fall in the mid to high range. They’ll support their team and promote positivity and an overall culture of development. Instead of being too skeptical or so trusting they’re taken advantage of, great leaders show a balance between the two ends of the spectrum.
- Insight – If your leaders show little to no interest in their team’s actions and motives, how can they successfully create an environment for coaching and developing? Trick question – they can’t! When leaders fall on the low end of this scale they tend to overlook people issues when making decisions, and probably have a hard time understanding their team’s developmental needs. These leaders see analyzing other’s motives as a waste of time which has a devastating impact on how they coach.Leaders who have high insight have the capability of interpreting their team’s feelings which makes coaching and developing much easier since there is a next-level understanding of each individual on the team. These leaders spend more time staying in tune with the team’s motives, helping facilitate a more supportive type of growth.
- Need to be Liked – How accommodating your leaders are to their team depends heavily on whether they have the need to be accepted by others. Although leaders with a low need to be liked may be willing to disagree and take an unpopular stance for the good of the company, the potential liabilities may outweigh the potential positives on the low range of this scale. Leaders have a strong desire to win and are usually motivated by personal goals. They are often too quick to argue and their competitiveness may prevent working relationships with co-workers. (If that doesn’t sound like a terrible environment for coaching and developing others, then I don’t know what does.) Leaders who do the best coaching fall on the higher end of this spectrum. These are people who are approachable and likable. They are seen as cooperative and helpful, showing concern for others’ growth and performance, and giving of themselves to benefit others. Because they show interest in the entire team and not only in themselves, leaders with a higher need to be liked generally aim toward coaching and developing.
Because these four scales deal with people-to-people outlooks and interactions, they help to decipher how good or bad a person will be at constructively giving fair and objective feedback, as well as continuously promoting success and progress within their team.
The ability to coach and develop a team is one of the most important assets a leader can have. Rewarding and helpful, positive and approachable, these best leaders are great at digging into developmental needs. They find constructive ways to promote growth and coach their team in a fair and motivational manner.
The Competency Spotlight series focuses on the personality traits measured by OutMatch assessments, and how these traits impact performance. No one measure can say with 100% accuracy how an employee will behave, but considering these competencies can help you identify candidates that are ‘prewired’ to be successful in a particular job type.