A key success factor in agile data management is self-managing teams. As a leader of self-managing teams, you need to develop a unique set of skills, moving from command and control to communication and enablement.
This is the second installment of my series entitled “Five Tips for Leading Agile Data Management Development Teams.” Here I discuss Tip No 3: Provide coaching and advice as needed.
Everyone needs coaching
A leader of self-managing teams should provide coaching at both the team level and the individual team member level. Coaching involves a number of activities: giving feedback to the team, working one on one with team members, and demonstrating positive behaviors for others to model.
Why is coaching so important?
At the team level, coaching should be focused on helping the team members improve their ability to manage themselves and their work. The goal should be to help the group to accomplish its responsibility by bringing out the best qualities and contributions of each member. This may initially include team facilitation and attendance at stand-ups and retrospectives. It takes time for teams to jell, especially with self-managing teams where communication and interaction are so important. You can do this without being a heavy-handed leader. Facilitation, coaching and guidance are key.
At the individual level, coaching is just as important. Everyone needs coaching, even highly successful C-level executives. They recognize that the right coaching can help them reach their full potential. If you have the right “A players,” and if you lead with guidelines and not details, your individual team members will look to you for coaching and advice.
That’s the ideal situation: Where team members come to appreciate that you will be there when they need you. Individual one-on-one meetings can be stimulating conversations for both you and the team member, discussing both tactical day-to-day accomplishments and challenges as well as longer-term career plans and personal development opportunities.
65 percent of millennials indicate that personal development is the most important factor on the job, according to a UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School study (Throckmorton, 2015). This personal development includes being able to explore new skills and technologies and not just improve on the skills they already have. “A” players have a desire for continuous improvement and learning, so providing opportunities to encourage personal development will help you motivate and retain your team members.
Coaching benefits individuals and the organization
By focusing on coaching, you can find opportunities to blend the needs of the organization with the needs of the team members. By taking an active interest in each individual and building positive relationships, you can facilitate a continual process to build and strengthen each team member’s skill sets and overall value to the team and to the organization.
There are benefits to this approach to you, as a leader. If you think of all of the new ideas and technologies that are currently available for data management, and that continue to surface, you have probably already realized that you can’t stay on top of everything. Enabling your team to research and keep abreast of continuing developments will enable you, as a leader, to provide them with a stimulating environment, and it will also provide you with an understanding of opportunities as team members share their learnings with you and the rest of the group.
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