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Developing High Performing Individuals

Promoting up is a crucial transition, for HR and the individual. 

Developing high performing individuals.  

As a Human Resource expert, it is often presumed that you can wave that proverbial magic wand which empowers your staff to perform in the exact manner that they need to, to cope with the business’ changing demands and the individual’s challenges.  

One of the greatest strains on the Human Resource department is the transition that is made from developing high performing individuals and technical expert into an efficient and competent manager. 

The Competencies of a Technical Manager

The first step to create a solution in the technical to management transition is the acceptance that this is a transition. In so saying, any form of change takes time and encompasses emotions (both positive and negative).  

Developing High Performing Individuals

Here are 4 solutions we have found to guide the process of encouraging a manager to focus on working with and growing others in the most effective way. This needs to be achieved while still ensuring their work is scientifically accurate, yet no longer their most vital KPI:

1.     Defining the Competencies Required

Effective management comprises exhaustive competencies.

The B.E.A.K.S.© model is a great framework to use to assist you in defining what is needed and what should be prioritised. B.E.A.K.S. was conceptualised by Dr Elana Siew in her book Competence Refined[i]

where she speaks about analysing the needs in each of these areas:

  • Behaviour
  • Experience
  • Abilities
  • Knowledge, and
  • Skills

To read more about these 5 areas click here.


2.         Management Skills

The effective manager uses many skills. We focus on at least 15 management skills which enable managers to work through most managerial situations. These include skills such as:

  1. Team building,
  2. Coaching,
  3. Using creativity in the workplace,
  4. Problem solving,
  5. Decision making,
  6. Delegating,
  7. Development planning,
  8. Diagnosing performance related problems individuals, teams, and the organisation, and
  9. Managing conflict and Change management.

Each skill takes time and interest to nurture. The company culture would be considered to align with the manager’s role. This determines which managerial skills would be most effective in making this technician a manager.   

Developing High Performing Individuals

3.         Human Skills

Personality and skills will always play a role in a manager’s traits and style. The human skills to focus on include critical components of people leadership such as:

  1. Active listening,
  2. Building effective relationships with peers, subordinates, and bosses,
  3. Communication skills,
  4. Disciplinary procedures,
  5. Giving and receiving constructive feedback,
  6. Technical competence building in individuals and teams, and
  7. Trust building

It is through the human skills that a manager cultivates the best performance and the highest level of job satisfaction in their team. It is also the human skills which often present as the most difficult areas for a technician who has not needed to depend on these skills to perform optimally in the past.

4.         Context in which this occurs

Each business interacts in different sets of circumstances. Similar businesses in the same industry have different challenges. The business environment for each business and business unit must be considered when applying the various human and management skill set. The manager therefore needs to not only be adept at using these various leadership and management skills, but so too in assessing and summing up the environment in which her or his team and organisation is operating.

Contextual skills are the most often omitted skills in developing technical experts into managerial roles. Competence on how to manage and lead in the context of their specific business are crucial development conversations.

(See here for Part 2: The Leadership Role)