Developing careers. How to be a career crafting leader.

Job profiles are at the heart of any recruitment and people management process. In fact I absolutely agree that as an effective manager you will need to scope out what needs to be done and what kind of skills you think are required. It’s also key to placing any advert or forming a fair recruitment process.

Job profiles, if rigid, stifle recruitment, stop development and prevent people and organisations from evolving creatively as the business requirements change. In fact, if you base performance management frameworks around the job profile you are limiting your assessment of talent and suppressing potential.

Job crafting based on the whole person is the key to leading effectively.

Is it time to deviate from the job profile and start being a career crafting leader?


Abilities are those natural elements that make the person what they are. They may have the ability to communicate effectively, project their voice or think in a logical manner. They are natural abilities which we are essentially born with, which can be developed further. Use these unique natural abilities to your advantage. If you need a problem solver or number whizz for a task, ask the person with that natural ability. It will be an ability so natural to them that it will seem effortless and will boost confidence and give them a sense of worth. Recognise their abilities and they will feel seen and valued.

Often we don’t know what our natural abilities are so support your people in finding out, get curious, coach them.

Closely linked to abilities, skills are learned and developed. I have the ability to communicate, but I have developed a skill in public speaking. I practice it, get feedback and improve my skills.

Don’t settle for the skills you see being performed in the current role. Ask your team what they have delivered previously, what skills they employed or what they do outside of work. You may have a chair of a committee, a party planner or a sports coach on your team. The skills they develop can be developed further within their roles, and if it is a skill they enjoy developing, they will become motivated, engaged and enthused. Unlock these skills to innovate, create and inspire.

This is a section on the CV that many people pay little attention to, and so it continues as an employee. Big mistake. I know how engaged I am when I am interested in the topic, idea or vision. Tap into their interests. Are they interested in how processes work, or in planning, people, behaviour or commerce? If you find an individuals interests, then build that into their role, be creative. You have someone that is interested in team dynamics, then give them the next team meeting to arrange, or give the person interested in numbers a project in analysis or measuring.

Aligning interests with crafting careers is a basic that is so often neglected.

Personal Style

What is your teams behavioural preference? If you don’t know, find out. There are many models and techniques to support you in this and I recommend you use them. My personal favourites are DiSC and MBTI.

If you understand your teams personal style you can craft their careers and engage them so easily. Are they risk takers or require information, facts and evidence to make decisions? Are they direct and target focused or visionary and spontaneous? You may have an introverted feeling person clashing with and extroverted thinker, causing disharmony and chaos. Look at personal styles and engage with them according to their preference. This requires you as a leader to be flexible and adaptable, but worthwhile. Being treated as an individual is the first step in feeling competent, connected and engaged.

How often do you, as a leader, spend time finding out about the important people in your employees lives? What is motivating them to come to work each day? Who dominates their most important relationships?

Important relationships impact how we all feel about work at any time. New baby, new marriage, 10 kids at home, well that is going to change their attitude to work. Connect with that as a leader and craft their jobs accordingly. Being flexible and agile may give your employee the freedom to align work and home, actually giving more loyalty, openness and trust to the organisation. Hearing their concerns and flexing your style to their needs will strengthen relationships and will certainly lead to higher performing staff.

So you have an employee with the natural ability you need, they have the skills and are interested in your organisation, now here comes the important one. VALUES.

Values are the foundation of all of us. It subconsciously, or consciously if you know your values, impacts every decision we ever make. It is the crux of whether we feel fulfilled in our work or at angst or feeling compromised. So if you want to really support your staff in having fulfilled careers and a positive emotional relationship with your organisation then you had best start leading from a value centre.

Firstly, the leader needs to understand their values. So my basic advise is get a coach. Once you have that nailed then start to help unlock your employees values. Is their value autonomy, collaboration, respect, competition or stability? Do they get fulfilled when their job gives them recognition, rewards, and opportunities, or is their value travel, flexibility and variety. Work against their values and you are working against the core of who they are. Tap into it and you will see them firing on all cylinders, motivated, inspired, standing tall and positively beaming. Surely that’s the team we want to work with?

As a leader and a coach, goals are like the glue that holds it all together. Where is the company going, how are you going to get there and what needs to be done? Align that with your teams individual personal and professional goals and you have the solution.

So what if you find someone’s goals lie outside your team long term? Celebrate it. Engage them while you work with them but develop them to move beyond their current role. Craft their careers to include their goals or facilitate their journey to their dreams.

Bottom line is lead the whole person. Look at their past, present and future to really see them and their capabilities.

Be the inspiring leader we all desire to follow.