Sunday, March 1, 2009

Good leaders develop and motivate their Specialist staff

As good leaders in our respective businesses, its important for us to retain great staff. We all know that money only talks so much especially for the specialists. for the specialists they will tell us time and time again that they are held to a job because of other reasons. It maybe the environment, how much they feel valued, technical opportunities within their area and so on.

Because of these varied reasons behind keeping the best staff, we need to come up with a balanced plan identifying and offering some opportunities for our people to grow and feel better about working in our team.

If the guys are specialists in some field, help them to stay at the cutting edge of their discipline. Find some seminars or an extension course. Talk it over with them and get their feel on what it would offer to them. Show you are prepared to commit either with time away from normal work to attend and even pay for the tuition. You may be very surprised how much these type of worker appreciate being the "Keeper" of the technology.

When discussing how this special worker can assist the overall team help focus on the teams critical needs rather than than those topics of their special interest. If you can show them a problem or need in the business that they can solve and explain how much this will aid the whole team, many people will respond very positively to being seen as the person who can solve problems for the common good.

Often specialists are very tunnel visioned to their particular are, gradually expose them to other functions within the team environment, guide them to see how their part of the work is part of the "Big Picture". Many people respond to being a part of the whole thing and feel more connected to the company goal rather than their island of special talents.

We seek out the specialist for our businesses to get those difficult tasks done, and we choose them for their aptitude to get these tasks done. Consider how they will stagnate if they continue in their area and never get any updates on new techniques styles and such. Help them to develop internal and external networks within their fields of expertise, this way they will bring new and improved ideas back to your business and better develop that area. Also many workers feel an added sense of being connected to the group of specialists and they are representing your business. So take an active role and spend some time to see how the networks are developing and what ideas they are generating.

Often our specialists often talk in jargon and rarely consider our customers view help them to acquire interpersonal and influencing skills, give them opportunities to talk to customers, then give them some feedback. Many specialists are afraid of public speaking so you may need to find them a course to go on to establish some basic rules and skills. Then give them some more opportunities to talk with your customers. Customer with problems love to speak to technical people who can explain the issues and solutions to customer problems.

Ask them to coach others, lots of technical specialists love to pass on their knowledge to others so develop some opportunities for them to coach another member of staff or perhaps give a talk on how their particular area contributes to the business.

Assign them some leadership roles to gain experience in working with small teams. This needs to be done very gently as many people find this very daunting. Perhaps start with them sitting in some teams gradually move their role from member delivering specialist perspective, through to a secretary type role to eventually you are at the point where they are in a position and confident enough to lead the team.

If we develop a pathway of drawing our specialists more into our general business, we'll see our people grow and our team will benefit by having a more rounded view and some new creative ideas flowing. If we develop an open and candid dialogue as we expose our specialists to these new avenues I'm sure you will find more of your team members will feel more connected to the group as a whole.

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