Developing Your Team

August 19, 2015 at 10:29 pm Leave a comment


When managing a team, you take responsibility to ensure that they are growing in their role. But when you are juggling email, meetings, deliverables, and everything else – how do you find time? And do you really have to spend time with people who are getting the job done – or just the ones who are struggling in their role?

Everyone deserves a development plan and it doesn’t have to take hours & hours of work. This is a 3 step process that helps you engage with your team member to develop the plan together.

Meeting #1: Introduce the topic

Explain the value of a development plan & how it’s intended to help the team member extend into areas that will make them even more successful in their role.  Make it clear that this is not about a performance problem – this is about growth.

Meeting #2: Make a list

Each of you should bring a list of 5-6 things the team member is good at, and 5-6 areas that they need to work on.  Benefit of both of you making a list – you can explore where you overlap (same page – hooray), and where you are not (issue….).  Come out of this meeting with 2-3 areas for growth.

You may find that you & the team member are completely off-base with what behaviors or skills are required to be successful in their role.  If this is the case, or you suspect that it is, you may need to insert a step where you review a list of skills/behaviors for their existing role and at least 1 level up so they can see what’s required to grow.

Meeting #3: Activities

Each of you should come to the table with 3-5 activities that the team member can undertake related to each of the areas of growth. They should be specific so progress can be measured. Decide in this meeting how many of the areas the team member will focus on over the next 6 months.  Sustainable change cannot be measured over just a few weeks. As the team member progresses on their plan, they should add more activities to their list as appropriate.

During 1:1s each week, you & the team member should explore how they are progressing on their activities.  There will be good weeks & rough ones but progress should be made with steady progress, and without a significant amount of additional time invested.

A couple of tips:

  1. There are great tools to track your teams’ activities.  My team currently uses 15Five.com. They have enhanced the platform to include goals tracking as well as a great way to track weekly status reporting.
  2. Daily stand-ups are an easy way to stay on track daily with activities.  15 minutes should be all that you need to go around your team to hear about their goals for the day. If you have a strong focus on development, you can ask them to make a daily “grow” commitment that focuses on something they will undertake to support their development goal.
  3. I will forever be a believer in “See One. Do One. Teach One.” which requires that your team member engage in a learning activities (webinar, class, lecture, etc), apply what they learned in a real-world exercise, and then share what they learned with their team. This requires a bit more time but I’ve always seen it result in a deeper level of learning for the team member.

One-size does not fit all – so you may need to tailor your approach to fit the person. Let me know what you have found is effective in growing the skills of a team member.

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Entry filed under: Employee Development, Management. Tags: , .

Position filled – Now the real work begins

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