Leadership and Coaching in Nepal – Deborah Koehler (part 2)

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Sales Meeting

I received the brief today from the HR director of an international company with headquarters in Europe. All but one of its 9 Nepali subsidiary board of members are international. This company has brought to Nepal international standards with fully thought-out values, mission, strategy, and a strong belief in training. Its staff have been trained in many business-relevant methodologies.

Using performance feedback, the company has learned that there is much pride among the Nepali staff to be employed by so professional a company. They have good pay, good working conditions, and the respect that comes from working for a company that is a leader in the national market. However, many staff members are frustrated with their immediate superiors. They feel demotivated, unseen. They do all the work, but their bosses get all the perks, all the international trips, all the recognition. After 1 year, many excited new hires have turned into cynical workers. The mid-managers have been given this feedback and would like to have training on how to build a better team, delegate more effectively, and provide suitable motivation.

I learned that having international staff at the Executive level is very costly. Within 5 years, the European headquarters would like to replace all international managers in Nepal with dynamic local staff, and they want HR to provide leadership training to identify and develop them – especially those with the ability to become future members of the executive board in Nepal.

The training I am to provide is to focus on the 4 types of leadership: Thought, Results, People, and Personal. HR’s request is that I plant the seeds of awareness with middle managers. The idea is that if they themselves are motivated to take a higher position in the company, then they will be more open to developing their own staff in turn.

Like many mid-level managers, they worry if they delegate a task to a subordinate who performs it badly, they will themselves look bad.
But if they delegate and develop their subordinate and the subordinate performs well, he will look better and will take their job. These concerns paralyze communication, remove the incentive to provide useful and specific feedback, and disincline mid-managers from working to strengthen the skills of their subordinate. Experiencing this, subordinates become cynical and demotivated, and growth – both personal and economic – stalls.

The company’s performance evaluations confirm that employee satisfaction has decreased over the last 3 years. Something is not working, and the HR department wants to address it sooner rather than later. Mid-level managers have also seen this information and know that, going forward, their bonuses will be linked to their effectiveness in developing their subordinates. That, of course, is a good part of the reason why they would like training on how to do this.

I am expected to design a 1-day training program for groups of 24 or so 30-35 year old mid-level managers. The goal is to “implant the possibility” that they, if they develop their own people better, they will be better rewarded today and stand a much improved chance of leading the company in the future. I am not to provide them with entertainment. I am to help them understand, really understand, that the best way to grow themselves is to develop their subordinates.

In creating this 1-day training design, I must call on what I know about young, married, educated, mid-level managers who are buying their first homes, dealing with their first babies, and getting used to the sense of responsibility they now have to provide for their families. These are the people I must help to see that the pride they feel in working for an international company is not a stopping point, but a launching pad for their development into leaders as they learn to develop others.

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