From the Ask Tom mailbag –
Following up on our discussion at the workshop last week, I am curious. As a manager, how do I determine which team members have the potential to grow and which will hit the wall. I want to focus my time on team members with the greatest potential.
You have to use your judgement. Observe and make a decision. That is what managers do. But what do you observe?
For fun, in the workshop, you may remember I asked how many of the group had taken a course in psychology in high school or college? Most raised their hand. Then I asked who had degrees in psychology? Most of the hands disappeared. When I asked who was certified by the state to practice psychotherapy, one person said he was certified, but not to practice psychotherapy.
Here is the problem. When managers question whether a person has potential, they fall into a trap. The trap is the approach, because most would play amateur psychologist.
Then I asked the group, who could spot positive behavior, in the field, on the plant floor? Most raised their hands again. And who could spot negative behavior? All hands went up. How long did it take to tell the difference?
Don’t play amateur psychologist with this stuff. Play to your strength as a manager. Managers are experts at the work. If you want to know if someone has potential, give them a project to do. Then, watch, observe. Use your managerial judgment.
But that is so subjective, I hear. Yes, it is subjective. It is also highly accurate.