Every time I sit down to think of new, creative ways of how to develop my team, I am always reminded of one technique that has proven very effective every time I used it. It’s surprisingly simple and doesn’t require too much out-of-the box thinking.
And it’s very powerful for developing every team you will lead.
Here is how it works:
No one likes to sit in a rut. While a few of your people may be “just happy to contribute”, most of them want to advance their career prospects, learn more skills and feel like they are growing professionally. Some are looking for eventual promotions, but most are interested in genuine self development.
Without it, their work will get stale and their motivations will decrease. The joy they once had in being a part of the team will wash away. It’s just a natural human tendency.
As a result, most of them will simply seek better personal growth options somewhere else.
So, here is how you avoid that:
As the leader in your organization, ensure that you create a system of ongoing education within your team. Provide simple but reliable ways to train your followers.
How do you do that?
There are several creative ways you can use here. First of all, you can instruct your team personally, by running courses for them or providing one-on-one coaching. This works well and is cost effective, but demands a sizable time investment on your part, so you may not always have the luxury to do that.
Therefore, be sure to keep your eyes open for external sources of team development. Whatever field you are in, there are probably many opportunities outside your immediate organization that you can use.
Here are some examples of creative development options for your followers:
- create in-house courses by bringing in different instructors
- invite guest speakers
- cross-train your people by having them assist each other with unrelated tasks
- make books and instructional publications available
- ask your Subject Matter Experts to give presentations or workshops on the skills they have mastered
- check if your organization already has training programs in place and use them
- create professional development events where your team members make presentations on something they are good at
- seek courses and workshops outside your organization and send your people to take them
- create research projects on relevant topics and look for volunteers to lead them
- introduce online resources, like authority sites, mastermind classes, or subscription services
- create internal competitions with small, fun rewards
- ask your people if they have ideas on what they want to learn and where
Now, here comes is the important part:
Because as a leader you already have a lot on your plate and you won’t be able to devote your full time to this project, assign someone from your team to lead it. Make ongoing professional development something that they will be responsible for.
This will free up your time for other leadership duties, while ensuring that personnel development is being handled.
Here are your action steps for bringing growth to your team:
- Select a motivated person to be in charge of professional development.
Empower them to research best ways to promote professional growth among your team. Have them consult with the team to solicit opinions and suggestions. Make this part of their job, giving them this leadership responsibility and the time to do it. This is a long term position.
- Prepare some ideas yourself.
Come up with your own ways to promote growth. Research, or study other organizations. Talk to other leaders and teams and get ideas from them as well. Use online searches for more inspiration.
- Make an action plan.
Once your professional development person has some concrete ideas, sit down with them and have them present them to you. Throw your own ideas into the mix and pick the best and most realistic ones. Plan for long term.
- Put the ideas into action!
Put your professional development person in charge of seeing them through.
Not only are you now bringing professional growth and value to your team, but you are also developing someone into a leadership position.
Most importantly, however, you are ensuring that your people feel challenged and see prospects for themselves on your team. You keep their motivation and inspiration alive.
And you avoid an environment with unhappy staff and poor performance, while bringing growth and development to your team.
So, next time you stop and wonder “how to develop my team?”, don’t discount the power of creative education. While clever ideas outside the box are fine, this proven and tested method of bringing value to your followers should be the first thing you do.
How to develop my team: bonus idea!
And while you wait for the positive results to pile up, make sure to read How to Be a Leader. There are many other ways of inspiring and motivating your followers, while building trust and respect, and we explain them in detail in the book.
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