Sohan's Blog

Things I'm Learning

How Am I Developing the People I Support as a People Leader?

After being a people leader at work for the past six years, I’m now going through a phase of introspection. Essentially, I’m trying to understand my own philosophy about people leadership so that I can clearly communicate it to the people that I support.

My most important realization is, people leadership is all about developing people. What I mean by this is, for everyone I’m supporting, I must carefully build a plan that provides them with the opportunities to stay motivated so that they can thrive. With this goal, once I wrote down my understanding of what motivates each of the people I support, it was quite eye opening to see the differences among people. Going through this process, I also realized how unprepared I was in terms of providing them with a clear career path to achieve their best.

If you’re interested, I’ve shared a template of the people development document here.

Name: ___
Current role: ___
Motivation: ___
Upcoming opportunity in the next three months:___
Upcoming opportunity in the next year:___

I consider this to be a living document as people often develop new interests and the opportunities at work change with time. But keeping a clear log of each individual’s career is a great way to establish and manage expectations. You can build this with the the individuals directly and update it when you meet for one-on-one feedbacks. As a lead, when you collaboratively build this, you empower them and build a trusting relationship as you both see how the motivations align with the work.

From the past 13 years of my time in the industry, working for 5 different companies, personally I’ve always felt a little under-informed about how my leaders planned a career development for me. Through my introspection of being a people leader, I realized I didn’t honestly appreciate the need for such clarity among the people I supported. So, I wanted to change it. And found the written document to be a simple yet surprisingly powerful tool to fill this void.

Now, if you’re a people leader, I’d recommend doing this exercise with your people. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

If you aren’t a people leader, you can write it down for yourself and ask your leader to collaborate on it. This way, when you have a one-on-one, you both will have the same reference document to focus on.