Investing time and energy on team development is one of those ‘I know I should, but ….’ topics for so many of the leaders we work with. But as Zig Zigler once said ‘the only thing worse than training someone and losing them, is not training them and keeping them’.
Building the capability of people and teams to achieve the organizations objectives is an important priority. Capabilities (put simply) are the things people know, the skills they have as well as their ability to effectively apply their knowledge and skills in particular circumstances. By recruiting new people into a team, leaders are able to acquire or supplement the talents needed. Just as important however is a leader’s commitment to leveraging potential by developing the capabilities of the people already on the team.
Beyond being a matter of influencing success, providing people with the chance to learn and grow is an important way of keeping them. Training, together with the opportunity to learn new things on the job are among the most commonly stated reasons people give for choosing to join, stay or leave an organization. An unquestionably important strategy for talent retention, leaders must play an active and hands on role in supporting members of their team to develop their capabilities and progress in their careers.
While all leaders should be held accountable for proactively growing their teams, just as important is the expectations we have of people to take ownership for their own development. It’s not only reasonable but also important to expect and inspire people to strive to continuously grow throughout their employment and indeed careers. Leaders must encourage people to appreciate the truth that we have never learnt everything and can always learn more.
The ten most important things a leader can teach someone to enable them to positively influence their own development, are to:
- Regularly engage in honest personal reflection
- Have the courage to be vulnerable and the willingness to change
- Look for mentors and teaches who can guide the way and provide valuable feedback
- Ask for help and guidance whenever needed
- Look for opportunities to learn through experience
- Balance belief in yourself with humility
- Understand and leverage what drives you to want to achieve and be respected
- Seek out and leverage opportunities to learn
- Check your ego if you think you have nothing more to learn
- Check your ego if you think you can’t learn from those who are junior in position or level of achievement