Developing people is one of the most important aspects of being a good manager or a good team leader. Anyone who manages, teaches, or trains people should see developing them as an investment. Too many leaders recognize the importance of spending money on capital items or time on projects, but they fail to acknowledge the importance of working on their greatest resource: people.
In order to start developing people, a team leader first needs to recognize how the people they want to develop act. To do that, they should spend some time observing their team members. Ideally, they should observe their team members without interfering with their regular work and without breathing down their necks. Leaders should also avoid letting rumours or stereotypes affect the quality of their observations.
Developing People As An Investment
In addition to observations, leaders should also talk to each team member individually. When developing people, the information that a leader can learn by talking to them can be extremely helpful. One of the best ways to get insight about an individual team member is to have an informal chat with them. Another advantage of an informal chat is that it can encourage the team member to trust the team leader, and that can make the development efforts more likely to be successful.
While chatting with team members, the team leader should find out how the team member feels about their job. They should find out which tasks the team member finds challenging, which they find interesting, and which they find overly time consuming. The leader should also try to find out what the individual’s strengths and weaknesses are.
Another part of developing people is finding out their own goals for improvement and anything that they find threatening to those goals.
Why Developing People Is An Investment
After gathering information through personal conversations and observations, team leaders will be able to start to draw a few conclusions about the best ways of developing people. Those conclusions should help the team leader to create a few projects that will help the team member to develop. These projects will vary based on the team members’ individual personality. At this point, the leader should also have a good handle on how the team member will respond to their development coaching.
Part of developing people is helping them to achieve new things and meet new challenges. Thus, part of the development plan should be to help the team member do tasks that are outside of their comfort zones. Other exercises should be developed to help the team member alter their bad habits. Developing these exercises can be difficult, but luckily, there are many specialists and courses that can enable a team leader find the right direction for their team.
Personal or professional development, unlike training for a new position, is an on-going process and often happens over a relatively long time span. One of the most important parts of developing people is encouraging them to want to develop themselves. As part of that awareness, the team member should keep track of his or her own progress. With a logbook, the person undergoing the development training can track his or her own successes and progress.
How Developing People Generates Results
The leader or a mentor should carefully track the team member’s progress. They should help steer the team member into new areas of development. They should also offer constructive feedback on certain aspects of the team member’s progress. Providing useful feedback in a helpful and constructive manner is an essential part of developing people.
Developing people is a part of the business and team growth strategy, and leaders should consider who they want to develop and why they want to develop them before they start people on development programmes. Leaders should identify whether or not development training will help to retain their employees, and they should also note if developing their employees will help to improve their performance.
Some leaders opt to give their employees development training as a reward. This can encourage positive behaviour prior to the inception of the development work itself. It also posits the task of developing people in a positive light, and thus, it makes the development training more attractive for each individual.
When money is tight, it can be tempting to forgo development training in lieu of other investments. However, developing team members should be seen as an essential investment and not as a frivolous cost. By carefully selecting which people to develop, a leader can make the development process more strategic. This sort of strategic investment can be used for multiple purposes like employee retention or rewards. Regardless of why you decide to invest in people, you will value the time you put onto it and enjoy the benefits of developing people.